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how to pick a yoga mat

Mar 28th, 2013 jessica Practice

Picking a yoga mat can be a tough decision!  We know, we've been there.  There is a lot to think about: thickness, support, how long it will last, grippy, slippy, length, width... and things just got weird, no?  Yes, picking a yoga mat is like picking a mate.  It will hopefully be with you for a while, support you, comfort you, absorb your sweat and tears.  As always, we're here to help!

Here are some helpful tips and tricks from our very own Brianna Welke (and a few from us too!):

Your yoga mat is one of the only equipment purchases you’ll need to make when entering your practice.  Compared to other sports and activities, it’s a pretty minimal one! I am asked a lot what my opinion is on mats and which is the best.  Well here it is: my top 4 favorites...

Jade Yoga
Great for: Taking your down dog deeper, non-slip
Price: $70-$120
One Down Dog loves: the Fusion mat - super thick and comfy  (coming to the studio soon!)

I started practicing on a mat that I’d bought at TJ Max for $5 and there’s nothing wrong with that! Then, on day I had a wellness dividend from the corporate job I was working and had to spend another $70 in order to reach my reimbursement amount so I bought a Jade mat and was shocked at what a difference it made! Jade is made from pure and natural rubber so it’s really grippy (no matter how sweaty you get) and squishier than the average mat which is great for your knees. This allows you to really press in with your hands and create more traction and leverage. It is also eco-friendly...bonus! Beware that you will need to follow very specific mat cleaning instructions, very light cleaning is recommended and never leave it in the sun.

Great for: a mat that will last a lifetime...guaranteed!
Price: $50-120
One Down Dog loves: the pro-lite - light weight, strong support (available in studio/online now!)

I am using a Manduka mat for the very first time and I have to admit, I get what all the hype is about. They make a high quality mat that lasts forever. Included in your purchase is one free “mat cleaning” and a lifetime guarantee on their pro series. They are firm, durable, and come in great colors as well as different lengths. Last year I was healing from a wrist injury, I learned that having an extra firm mat like this was essential for the healing process. If you practice a form of yoga that makes you sweat, this mat will turn into a slip and slide...but don't worry Manduka makes super absorbent awesome towels to put on top of your mat to reduce this.  Check out the eQua towel available for purchase in the studio or online.

Great for: feeling good
Price: $64
One Down Dog loves: the look how pretty you are mat - available in studio/online now!

Yoga is all about feeling good.  A great yoga mat can do more than support, grip and can also tell you how pretty you are, if it's an Affirmat.  With sayings like: wonderFULLY made, look how pretty you are and I am healthy, I am wealthy, I am love how could you not smile?  We love that these mats are made 100% in LA, they are non-slip, and eco-friendly.

Great for: Sweaty practices
Price: $48-$68 at

I love my “the mat” by lululemon and use it for my home practice. It’s about 2 inches wider than any other mat so I feel like I have a bit more space. On one side there is a rubbery, grippy texture (great for slow flow) and on the other side is a more refined surface that is equally smooth and sticky enough that you won’t slip, it also mysteriously absorbs sweat and moisture (perfect for hot yoga). I practice on both sides depending on what I’m doing. They make a variety of different kinds of mats but “the mat” is my favorite, it’s heavy which makes it great for home practice or to a studio with a short walk and a good mat strap. I remember the first time I got out of my car to practice with this mat, I knocked the outside of my rear view mirror off. It’s a serious mat!

Yoga Mat Tips:

+ Is your new mat slippery? Providing your mat is not porous rubber (like jade) use a solution with water and a bit of vinegar (or tea tree oil) and wipe off the sticky film that is on almost every new yoga mat

+ Are you extra tall? Almost every mat company makes a version in extra long

+If you’re using a mat from a yoga studio or gym, consider getting your own. Although they clean those mats, it’s just better to sweat on your own stuff, right?

+Curious what to do with your old mat? Repurpose it!

For more from the lovely Brianna Welke check her out on facebook and read her blog!

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