Which yoga mat is right for you? My experience
You want to start with yoga or already practice regularly, but the right yoga mat is still missing!
I can help there, I also tried several until I found the right one.
Look for these things the next time you buy a yoga mat:
How much value do you place on sustainability and regional production? In the yoga philosophy Ahimsa (= non-violence, treatment of living beings and the earth) plays an important role, so think beforehand whether you want to implement this in your yoga mat. Meanwhile, there are more and more manufacturers who work with natural materials and produce in Europe under fair conditions.
Natural materials and harmful substances There are different natural materials like natural rubber, hemp, jute, cork or bamboo, but sometimes they are mixed with PVC. Harmful substances and certain dyes can cause allergies and there may be plasticizers. Therefore, always look for the ÖKO Tex Standard 100 seal if it is important to you to avoid harmful substances. In addition, natural materials are environmentally and health friendly, they are durable and can be easily recycled. On the other hand, PVC or vinyl are usually more harmful to health, but there is also an ecological alternative like PER or TPE.
What kind of yoga do I practice? It also depends on what kind of yoga you need the mat for. If you practice a lot of gentle yoga, then your mat needs to be non-slip and rather soft. Especially cork mats are very soft and have a smooth surface, then choose a thicker thickness. What else you can take is a mat made of virgin wool, it is very self-cleaning but hard to carry and is not non-slip. If you practice a lot of hatha yoga, vinyasa yoga or hot yoga and like to be confident in your flow, the surface and underside should be very non-slip. Also, make sure the mat is not too thick so you can feel good contact with the floor in the postures. If you can try the mat, make sure it doesn't pull apart when you're dogwalking, because then you won't be able to hold the positions properly. Jute mats are a bit rougher by nature, but are often mixed with PVC or TPE. Cork and natural rubber are softer and the softest mats are PVC or TPE. The cotton mats are not as strong in cushioning, but they have a good grip that improves again when it gets a little damp. The same goes for the cork, it becomes even more slip resistant when you get a little sweaty, plus it absorbs the sweat so there is no risk of slipping. The cork is also very easy to clean, as it cleans itself. However, with all mats, the cleaner the better the grip. If you have sensitive joints, you should choose a thicker mat with 6-8mm to protect them. Otherwise 3-4mm is enough, for travel mats thinner ones with 0,5-1mm are better, because they are lighter and more flexible. Most of the time a mat with 60cm width and 180cm length is enough, if you are taller than 180cm then I recommend the XL mats with 80cm width.
Cleaning the mat Most mats made of PVC can be washed at 30 degrees in the washing machine, but without detergent or fabric softener. The mats made of natural materials, on the other hand, should be rinsed only with cold water and a little vinegar, so that they do not lose their grip. You can simply hang the mat made of virgin wool in the fresh air and shake it out a little. Use a yoga mat spray, you can easily make it yourself. Take a spray bottle with water, 4-5 drops of tea tree oil (disinfected), 3-4 drops of essential oil and 2 tablespoons of vinegar. Spray it on the mat after yoga class, let it act for a short time and then wipe it off, it should be dry before rolling up.
The price The price is of course also decisive for which mat you choose, the mats made of PVC usually start at 20 euros. With the natural materials it is then 40-60 euros and if it is more steamed, then you are depending on the material at 60-80 euros. But if you choose a durable material, then you have the mat also longer than a cheap one.
Let's continue with my favorite:
I have tried as good as all materials and have now arrived at my favorite. The cork mat, it is very soft and comfortable, if you sweat then the grip is always better but the mat also dries very quickly again. It is not so that then the sweat remains on the mat and cork cleans itself, that is, you only have to spray it now and then times with cold water and wipe something. So it stays non-slip and clean for a long time.
A disadvantage is if you have very dry hands, then I like to come down at the beginning of the dog and slip something. But still I prefer an ecological, sustainable yoga mat made of cork.
My Yoga mat is from Lotuscraft, the top layer is made of cork and the underside of TPE, so free of plasticizers, PVC and latex.
Yoga mat from Lotuscraft: buy here