Yoga mat is a must for every yogi. Choosing the right mat is important especially for beginners, because a bad purchase can quickly discourage exercise. Check what parameters the ideal mat should meet to make your yoga training comfortable and safe.
It is worth to buy your own yoga mat , because the use of those in yoga centers or fitness clubs is a fairly hygienic solution. Besides, we can adjust the mat to your needs - depending on our dimensions and preferences, choose its length, width, thickness or material from which it is to be made.
What Yoga Mat: Thickness
Yoga specialists exchange six basic criteria that should be followed when choosing the right mat. The decisive factor is thickness.
A heavier mat (over 3.5 mm) means:
- Greater comfort of exercise. It is especially recommended for thin people with sensitive ankles and knees. Too thin mat, when exercising requiring ground pressure, can cause abrasions and bruising.
- Better cushioning - this factor should be taken into account especially when practicing dynamic exercises (e.g astanga yoga).
- Good insulation from the ground - during the exercises, especially long-lasting relaxation positions, we are warmer.
- Slower wear - a thick mat is stronger and lasts longer.
- Greater weight, and hence - more difficult transport.
- Higher price - thick mats are usually more expensive than thin ones.
In turn, a thin mat (less than 3.5 mm):
- It may be less comfortable in lying exercises, but it is great for practicing standing positions, because greater contact of feet with the ground helps to maintain stability.
- It is more convenient to transport and store, because it is light and takes up little space. This parameter should be taken into account especially by people who plan to commute to yoga classes, for example by public transport.
- It is usually cheaper than thicker mats.
- Shows lower cushioning and thermal insulation than the substrate.
- Consumes faster.
What Else To Consider When Choosing A Yoga Mat?
The next important criteria to be considered are:
- Length - standard length of yoga mat is 183 and 185 cm, but you can also buy those measuring 200 and 220 cm.For the best comfort exercises, it's best if the mat is several inches longer than our height.
- Width - usually 60 cm, less often 66, 72 and 80 cm wide mats can be obtained. Like length, you need to adjust the width to our dimensions.
- Material - the most durable mats are made of abrasion resistant PVC material. With moderate practice (no more than 2-3 times a week), this mat will serve us for years. For people who like natural materials, rubber mats are available that have good anti-slip properties and absorb sweat easily. However, they are quite heavy. In addition, you can meet mats made of rubber and latex - good for resistance to damage.
- Anti - slip indicator - the mat should provide us with a good grip, which guarantees less risk of injuries during exercise. Newly purchased mats are often slippery and "oily", but do not worry - just wash them thoroughly with a wet cloth to obtain non-slip properties.
- Surface - it can be smooth or rough. Rough mats are characterized by greater adhesion, but are more difficult to clean. With plain mats, the best anti-slip properties are those made of rubber.
- Price - the cost of buying a reputable yoga mat starts from 60 zlotys. Below this amount one should not expect high quality and durability of the device. During recreational exercises in the number of 2-3 trainings per week, the mat in the price of about 100 PLN will be sufficient.
Experienced yogis emphasize that the mat is the most important instrument during yoga exercises and the success of our practice will depend on its quality. It is worth investing in good equipment, and if in doubt, ask for advice from a professional instructor.
Blankets And Towels (Towel Mats) For Yoga
For advanced people in training, useful accessories can be a blanket or a yoga towel. Blankets are made of wool and work well during long periods in asanas, especially the more difficult ones such as a candle. The soft material makes the knees, elbows and spine not exposed to painful bruises. The blanket is also useful for covering during meditation, when the body stays still for a long time and a feeling of cold may appear.
Towels (or towel mats) for yoga are sewn with cotton and are great for practicing dynamic asanas. The natural material quickly absorbs sweat, thanks to no risk of slipping. The towel can be placed directly on the floor or on a mat made of PVC or rubber.
When buying a towel mat, care should be taken that the underside is covered with small anti-slip dots, preferably silicone - this will prevent the towel from moving across the floor.
Covers And Bags For Yoga Mats
Wearing a mat for classes can be uncomfortable, especially if you are traveling by public transport. The practical solution is to buy a yoga mat cover . Accessories of this type are sewn from waterproof materials and have several types of handles, so that the mat can be worn both on the back and in the hands. A good case should have adjustable straps and additional pockets in which a water bottle, towel, clothing, etc. will fit. The most convenient ones are those opened with a long slider - the mats do not have to be folded tightly and the insertion is easier.
There are also backpacks and mat bags in stores. As a rule, they cost more, but are more functional - they have additional laptop compartments, an mp3 player, pockets for training accessories, such as pads or yoga shafts. They also have more storage space for personal belongings and a nicer design. They are recommended for people who are on the run throughout the day and are looking for a multifunctional bag that will fit all the items they need.
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Maintenance And Cleaning Of Yoga Mats
During use yoga mat collects various types of dirt such as dust or sweat, so it requires regular cleaning. Even before the first use, you should wipe the mat with a damp cloth - this is very important, because in this way the mat takes on its non-slip properties, and additionally we wash away impurities created in the production process.
Then clean the mat regularly depending on your needs, preferably by hand - then there is no risk of damaging it. For this purpose, hot water is provided with a little detergent, optionally with the addition of a few drops of essential oil. Do not rub the mats firmly, but lightly rub with a cotton cloth and let it dry naturally.
Rubber mats require more advanced care, which is why they are recommended for cleaning with special sprays available in stores with yoga accessories. Alternatively, instead of a ready liquid you can use a solution of water and apple vinegar in a 1: 1 ratio.
In general, it is not recommended to wash the yoga mats in the washing machine due to the possibility of damage. However, some soft mats made of PVC material are suitable for cleaning in this way. Then, we use mild detergents for washing and set the temperature to 30 degrees. We do not spin the mats.
Yoga is in harmony with the body - with a yoga mat, individual exercises are more beneficial. Our team of experts has reviewed various tests on the Internet and created a list of top quality yoga mats that relate to issues such as dimensions, weight, material and much more.
In addition to the type of yoga exercises, you should also consider possible transports . Of course, this is especially true if, for example, you would like to go directly from work to yoga. Here you should pay attention to a low weight and good transport properties.
Some manufacturers provide yoga mats with fastening bands , or you can set an extra yoga bag use. In both cases, the mats are rolled up to give a handy format. In addition, there are also foldable yoga mats.
In our Yoga Mat Test 2019 we examined different mats with regard to the mentioned criteria and additionally considered the use of pollutants . This is especially important for sensitive people. Certifications, such as those awarded by Oeko-Tex , give the all-clear.
The following table provides an overview of the ten comparative test winners. Below you will find our detailed product report, in which we explain our approach and our evaluation in more detail and supplement additional facts.
Yoga mats are made of different materials. These include various plastics and rubber, cotton and wool as well as cork. Some substances may contain pollutants that can trigger allergies. Here it is advisable to pay attention to a seal of quality.
Yoga mats should have a thickness between 2 and 15 millimeters for optimal performance of the exercises . For demanding yoga forms such as Ashtanga Yoga and Power Yoga, the thickness should be low and the hardness high. Other forms of yoga can be performed well with softer mats.
What is a yoga mat?
As yoga mats documents are called, which are specially made in view of the requirements of the Yoga directions. Their task is to optimally support the yoga student in performing his exercises and at the same time to protect his health.
Essential for achieving these goals are the dimensions of the yoga mats and in particular the material properties . The mats must be suitable for providing the yoga students with a firm and secure footing. To ensure this is permanently ensured, good yoga mats have a high dimensional stability . This is understood as the ability of the material to return to its original state after a longer lasting deformation of the surface.
In addition, the optimum thickness and high slip resistance ensure stability. For reasons of hygiene, the possibility of easy cleaning also distinguishes good yoga mat.
For the physical and sometimes strenuous forms of yoga such as hatha yoga , Ashtanga yoga and power yoga mats with a small thickness, a relatively high density and a non-slip surface are needed. On the one hand, with these prerequisites they allow a firm and at the same time comfortable stand and on the other hand a safe change between different figures. Since these yoga forms can be very sweaty, the mats must be easy to clean.
For calmer forms such as Kundalini yoga , you can also use slightly thicker yoga mats. However, care should also be taken here that the body is supported by the yoga mat in its natural position and does not sink into it. The purpose of the yoga mat is to lessen the pressure on the body parts resting on it while staying in a certain position for a longer period of time and thus to increase comfort. Incidentally, you can also use these yoga mats for Pilates exercises.
In our yoga mat test , we thoroughly tested various mats for the most important properties, and identified the ten yoga mats as comparative test winners. These have achieved the highest scores with the criteria set and are perfect for carrying out the respective yoga form.
How does a yoga mat work?
The function of a yoga mat is to protect the yoga student from pressure pain and injuries while performing his or her exercises, and to facilitate the performance of each exercise. They are similar in many respects to the very similar gymnastics mats. Both have similar dimensions and protect the athlete from the influences of the ground - ie cold and dirt. The key difference is the same material in the thickness of the mats. Why this is so, we have in our yoga mat test in experience.
Since yoga exercises are performed while standing, sitting, squatting and lying down, a yoga mat must provide sufficient space for the performer. It must also be considered that the yoga student may not be able to hold an exercise and overturn.
The yoga mat absorbs most of these falls and thus also serves to protect against injuries. As a guideline it is therefore recommended that the length of the yoga mat should be 10 to 20 centimeters above the body length. This can be implemented well in most cases with the standard dimensions of 60 centimeters wide and 180 centimeters long. For taller people, there are still yoga mats with a length of up to 200 centimeters.
In addition to the space, the yoga mats bring a certain thickness . This is between 2 and 15 millimeters and represents a clear demarcation feature over the gymnastics mats. Their thickness is between 15 and 25 millimeters. The consequence of the lower thicknesses of the yoga mats is greater hardness for identical material. This prevents, especially in the physical exercises too deep sinking of the body, as it would be an unstable state connected.
At the same time, the mat acts on the pressure of the body on the floor and prevents the back pressure and the associated pain. In the quieter forms of yoga, where a resting position is maintained over a longer period, this can also be achieved by softer mats.
However , too high a thickness here prevents the yoga positions to develop their optimum effect .
Advantages and applications
The big advantage of practicing yoga is that you can have it performed spontaneously almost anytime , anywhere : at home in front of the TV, at the sports club course or on the grass in the park. But also in the lunch break in the office, on business trips in the hotel or on vacation at the beach, the exercises can be performed easily. You just need some space and your yoga mat .
In the development of yoga mats this flexibility is of course scheduled. The mats are manufactured with a view to the lowest possible weight , easy handling and a small footprint . In most cases, the yoga mats are transported as a role , but there are also foldable versions.
When practicing the exercises, a yoga mat provides protection against the influences of the environment. These include, above all, in public premises or outdoors pollution, moisture or cold. In addition, a slipping of the yoga mat is prevented by a corresponding coating on the underside. Furthermore, the mat compensates for any unevenness and dampens the influence on hard surfaces.
The yoga mats , on the other hand, increase comfort by allowing you, on the one hand, to stand firmly and, on the other hand, to lay down pressure-free. This allows you to concentrate completely on the individual movements or the achievement of a meditative state.
The use of a yoga mat is useful for every type of yoga . Differences exist only in the claim to the thickness of the yoga mat. The stronger the mat, the better it supports demanding physical yoga exercises, while softer mats are conducive to relaxation exercises. Tougher yoga mats are also recommended for beginners in the yoga class. For more experienced yoga students practicing multiple forms of yoga, mats with a thickness of 60 centimeters offer a good compromise.
What types of yoga mats are available? Advantages and disadvantages
At first glance, yoga mats are hardly distinguishable from exercise mats. As a rule, these are colorful plastic mats that, with dimensions of 180 centimeters in length and at least 60 centimeters in width, are optimally adapted to the average body size of humans and usually have a non-slip underside. Differences are found in the individual mats, especially in the hardness and thickness of the mats. The decisive factor is the respective intended use . Why this is so, we would like to explain to you in our yoga mat test.
Typical gymnastics mats are between 15 to 25 millimeters thick and made of a relatively soft plastic. Thus, they are well suited to reduce the pressure on the loaded body parts and joints in dynamic exercises that are performed in multiple repetition. Among the exercises, in which this effect is noticeable, include, for example, sit-ups, hip lifter or the "cycling". The greater softness of the gymnastics mats also encourages you to reach your own limits, because it is always possible to fall onto the mat without risking a painful impact. However, gymnastics mats are unsuitable for catching higher jumps or the like.
A Pilates mat is between 8 to 15 millimeters thick and slightly harder than a gymnastics mat . It provides the ideal basis for the clean execution of Pilates exercises. The reduced softness compared to the gymnastics mat prevents the body from sinking too deeply into the mat during the support and support exercises and thus falsifying its posture. This is important because improving posture is the Pilates goal. At the same time, the mats are still soft enough that holding the respective positions is not uncomfortable.
The thickness of the yoga mats ranges from 2 to 15 millimeters and thus overlaps that of the Pilates mats. In fact, these can also be used in yoga, with the Hatha Yoga and Kundalini Yoga offering themselves on account of the appropriate framework conditions .
The thickness and hardness is sufficient to easily perform the change of individual asanas and to be able to engage in the relaxation exercises. However, in the more physically demanding types of yoga such as Ashtanga Yoga or Power Yoga , the thickness of the mat should be lower and the hardness higher. The yoga mat only increases the comfort of the stand, but a too high sinking must be prevented in favor of stability.
The advantages of a yoga mat:
- provides a secure footing: depending on the thickness and hardness of the mat
- stays in place: non-slip coating on the underside
- protects the joints: depending on the thickness and hardness of the mat
- is easy to transport: straps, straps or yoga bags
- can be cleaned well: with a damp cloth, partly in the machine
- suitable for allergy sufferers: pay attention to the appropriate advice
- isolated from cold
- retains dirt and moisture
The disadvantages of a yoga mat:
- regular cleaning necessary
So we tested the yoga mats
In our yoga mat test 2019 we tested and compared a lot of different properties of the mats. The list of our test criteria has become quite long. This is due, among other things, to the fact that different properties of the mats are recommended only for the different types of yoga. It should of course be noted that the individual components must be well matched. It would, for example, make little sense if a mat of small thickness made of an extremely soft material. In addition, we tested whether the yoga mats are easy to transport and clean, have a sufficient dimensional stability and have been used in their production of health-harmless ingredients.
1. The material
In our yoga mat test, we examined the following six materials for you: plastic, natural rubber, jute, cotton, virgin wool and cork. The resulting yoga mats sometimes have very different properties. The thickness , strength and grip of the material play an important role with regard to the respective yogaform . Basically, the more dynamic and demanding the exercises, the thinner, harder and grippier the material should be. For calmer shapes, on the other hand, thick, soft yoga mats with a smooth surface are suitable. Additional factors are the personal claims regarding the price , the environmental compatibility and the allergic compatibility .
2. The isolation
Yoga exercises serve to strengthen the mental and physical well-being. To achieve this goal, the environmental conditions must also be right. Cold surfaces - and possibly even bumps - cause discomfort and prevent you from getting involved in the exercises. For this reason, the insulating effects of the various yoga mats are an important criterion. They generally increase with the increasing strength and thickness of the particular material.
3. The thickness
When practicing yoga exercises, the thickness of the yoga mat plays an important role. Together with the density of the material, it determines how deeply the yoga student sinks into the mat, thereby influencing stability or comfort . Yoga mats are offered with a thickness between 2 and 15 millimeters. To perform the asanas are more suitable for the low thickness mats, while relaxation exercises best on the softer mats feel. A good compromise is represented by yoga mats with a thickness of 6 to 8 millimeters.
4. The weight
If you frequently transport your yoga mat from work to the gym or if you want to travel with you, you should pay attention to the weight of the respective yoga mat in addition to the scope. Particularly light mats are available from a few 100 grams and are usually made of plastic or natural rubber.
5. The peculiarities
Most yoga mats have certain special features that should be considered when choosing and buying. Often these are material- related properties . There are, among other things, differences in behavior towards moisture , in particular sweat. Moisture-repellent mats should be used in a sweaty exercise with a towel, while moisture-absorbent mats may not be required. However, it should be possible to clean.
Another point is the grip of the material:
The more challenging the exercises, the coarser the surface structure should be. Also important are indications of dimensional stability and allergy compatibility . In some cases, quality labels indicate a particular environmental impact.
In addition, there are some peculiarities in the execution , for example, if unusual formats are offered. The accessories are interesting, whether the mats are rolled up or folded for transport and whether the yoga mats are supplied with a matching carrying strap or even a separate bag .
The slip resistance
The slip resistance is the alpha and omega of every yoga mat. This should really be done on any mat smears. Although one could argue that slip resistance is more important in power yoga due to the complex exercises, but even with simple exercises, a firm and secure footing is essential. You can also get on smooth surfaces when entering or leaving the mat in the spin. Plastic and natural rubber mats are generally sufficiently slip resistant on their own. With sheep chaff and cotton mats , you should pay attention to a suitable coating. Frequently, coatings made of natural rubber are used here.
7. Space requirements: Yoga mats for curling and folding
There are two ways to prepare the yoga mats for storage or transportation : curl up or fold. Rolling up the mats is the more popular option. The resulting rolls are less bulky than the folded specimens and can be easily accommodated in smaller sports or travel bags. The folded mats are often 30 x 60 centimeters in size and also need this space, as they have become more rigid due to multiple folds. They do not fit so well in all pockets and have to be transported extra.
8. The dimensional stability
The relief of the joints and the spine is one of the "main tasks" of a yoga mat. To be able to fulfill this task permanently, the material used must have sufficient dimensional stability or good resilience.
It is true that the stronger the dimensional stability is pronounced, the greater the tendency of the plastic after the end of a load to return to its original shape , without losing strength.
Without this capability, the mat would yield gradually to high stress areas and annoying pressure points would occur. The mat would then no longer be able to dampen stronger pressure changes and even when lying the optimal position would be affected by the pressure points.
In this context, it should be mentioned that most mats with a good dimensional stability also bring excellent point elasticity.
This means that they can adapt to the anatomy of humans selectively, whereby the spine and the joints are spared .
9. The size
There are not too many choices for the sizes of yoga mats. Most commercially available mats have a length of 180 centimeters and a width of about 60 centimeters. This makes them suitable for most people. But there are also oversizes with a length of up to 200 centimeters. These are suitable for anyone who is between 180 and 190 inches tall. As a guideline, the mat should be about 10 inches longer than your own body. This protects you when you tip forward, for example during exercises such as the crane .
10. The nature of the cell structure in the foam
Foams are foamed plastics that are often used to make yoga mats because they are lightweight and dimensionally stable . During foaming, cells in which air is stored form between the original plastic molecules, so that the density is also increased reduces the plastics. In foaming, open cell and closed cell foams can be produced.
To the open-celled foams include, for example, household . They are able to absorb and release liquids like water.
On the other hand, with closed- cell foams, all cells are dense and thus prevent the penetration of moisture and dirt . This makes them easy to clean and stable against external influences.
What should I look for when buying a yoga mat?
As the extensive list of our test criteria shows, there is a lot to consider when buying a yoga mat. Above all, it is important that the mat fits both the desired yoga form and personal preferences . In addition, the local conditions - such as the hard PVC floor in the fitness center, the soft carpet at home or the wet meadow in the park - should be taken into account when choosing the material. Of course, you should of course pay attention to a good quality of the mat. In addition to the durability , this also includes, above all, the absence of pollutants since you are in close contact with the mat during the exercises.
With regard to the yoga form , we recommend the following rule of thumb : The stronger the mat is, the better it supports demanding physical yoga exercises, while softer mats are conducive to relaxation exercises. You should also consider the type of surface on which you prefer to use the yoga mat. On a solid floor, a plastic mat 4 millimeters thick may well be considered too thin, while on soft surfaces such as carpets or grass it is the optimal choice. If you train on different floors, a mat with a thickness between 6 and 8 millimeters is often a good compromise.
Of course, it is also important that your mat is non-slip . In the case of mats made of plastic, this is usually no problem due to the material. The situation is different with mats made of natural materials. Especially with yoga mats made of new wool and cotton, it is important to pay attention to an appropriate coating on the underside. If you prefer a pure natural product, you can also use an anti-slip overlay .
If you want to use the yoga mat in different places and have to transport it frequently, you should pay attention to the transport characteristics . Important in this context are the weight , the space required and the manageability of the mat.
The lightest mats weigh less than a kilogram and are usually made of plastic or cork. The space requirement depends primarily on the thickness and whether the mat is rolled or folded. Rolled, the mats are a bit more compact and can be stored more easily in the sports bag. Often there are also strapsor yoga bags for transport. Here is worth a look at the accessories. When folded, it is easier to carry the mat one at a time using a harness. It can then be used as a seat pad.
Some providers prove that their yoga mats are free from pollutants using the Oeko-Tex certificate . The Label Textiles Trust is awarded to textiles whose content of harmful hazardous substances is below the legally prescribed limits. If there is no label, you can rely on your nose - within limits. A strong smell of chemicals that does not evaporate within the first day is a good reason to return the yoga mat.
Brief information on material properties of yoga mats
During our yoga mats test , we also dealt with the materials and give you a brief overview below.
Plastics are a popular material in the production of yoga mats. Their big advantage is that they are manufactured artificially and allow relatively large margins in their production in terms of properties such as elasticity, dimensional stability, hardness and washability. As a result, the yoga mats can be flexibly adapted to the respective requirements of the yoga form. In addition, the large-scale processes enable production at very ** favorable prices **. Since plastic mats are usually moisture-repellent , they should be covered with sweaty exercises with a towel and cleaned later with a damp cloth .
The following plastics are predominantly used in the production of yoga mats:
TPE (_T_hermo_p_lastic _E_lastomere)
TPEs combine two practical properties. When heat is applied, they can be permanently reshaped. They are thermoplastic. At "normal" temperatures, however, their shape can be temporarily changed by a force. They are elastic. Thanks to these properties, TPE yoga mats can be manufactured without the addition of harmful plasticizers, so that they are harmless to health . In addition, they can be recycled by smelting, which makes them environmentally friendly . Due to the elasticity, they are also ** dimensionally stable **.
Foams are obtained by foaming various plastics. For yoga mats, nitrile rubber is often used. This is a synthetic rubber, abbreviated NBR (Nitrile Butadiene Rubber). Foaming reduces the density of the plastic, making foam mat yoga mats particularly lightweight . In addition, foams are dimensionally stable because they yield to pressure only as long as it works.
Foam yoga mats are generally harmless to health .
PVC is a thermoplastic. It can be brought into almost any shape when heat is applied, but it also retains it permanently. In order for PVC objects to be deformed even at room temperature, the addition of plasticizers is necessary. As a result, the objects become dimensionally stable . However, the plasticizers are easily absorbed by the body and can trigger cancer, among other things. Therefore, the use of PVC mats is of concern to health . The disposal of PVC is not uniformly regulated, but basically an environmentally friendly recycling by melting is possible.
Yogam mats made of sheep's wool are particularly high quality and have a number of interesting properties. The most obvious features are the special softness with simultaneous grip and the great dimensional stability of the mats. In addition, they have a thermo regulating effect : In winter, virgin wool stores body heat and in summer it has a cooling effect. In addition, the wool absorbs moisture without feeling wet, and dissipates it quickly. Sweat is chemically bound and neutralized. Last but not least, wool repels dirtso that the cleaning effort is kept within limits. If a mat can no longer be used, it can be disposed of in an environmentally friendly way .
Short-pile mats with pile heights of more than 5 millimeters can be used for almost all forms of yoga, while the high-pile specimens (15 to 25 millimeters) should be used only in the quieter yoga forms.
Overall, the yoga mats made of new wool are slightly heavier and, above all, more voluminous than plastic mats, which is why they are particularly suitable for use at home. Make sure that the mat has a non-slip underside.
The surfaces of yoga mats made of cotton are pleasantly soft , but at the same time also sufficiently grippy . They are particularly suitable for yoga forms in which the exercises are mainly performed while sitting or lying down. Cotton-filled mats perform well especially for people with joint problems. Cotton is extremely absorbent and absorbs body sweat. For cleaning, you can wash cotton fabrics at 40 ° C in the machine. Cotton mats are very skin-friendly and usually also for allergy sufferers suitable. It is important to make sure that the yoga mats have a non-slip layer at the bottom. Thicker cotton mats are slightly heavier than plastic mats, but can be rolled or folded well .
Natural rubber is excellently suitable for the production of yoga mats for several reasons. The material can be used to make yoga mats of any thickness and length so that they can be used with all types of yoga. Thanks to their grip and skid resistance , they provide a stable surface even for physically demanding exercises. Rubber mats are very elastic and very dimensionally stable . In this way, they also catch stronger pressures and thus protect the joints. In addition, rubber acts insulating and can be used on cold surfaces. Since rubber mats can absorb sweat, they should be cleaned regularly with a damp cloth . The problem is that rubber can cause a latex allergy .
Cork is a newcomer among the materials for yoga mats and is still an insider tip. Cork yoga mats are elastic and dimensionally stable , so that they absorb stronger pressure and help to protect the joints. At the same time it is associated with a long life . The special surface structure of the cork creates a good grip , which guarantees a secure fit even for physically demanding exercises. In addition, cork ** insulates ** and keeps the floor cold away. Thanks to the great flexibility and low density of the material, the mats can be easily transported.
As a pure natural product, cork is very skin-friendly and suitable for allergy sufferers . As a water-repellent material, cleaning the mats is quite easy. Basically, the brewing is enough with cold water. In addition, cork yoga mats are generally environmentally friendly to manufacture and dispose of. The only exception are mats whose underside has been provided with a synthetic material to increase slip resistance.
Jute is one of the classic yoga materials. The material is very firm and resistant . It provides a good grip when performing demanding yoga exercises and is also sufficiently slip-resistant . In addition, it has a very long life . Jute mats are lightweight and fold well or roll . So they are very easy to transport. Also, the cleaning is unproblematic: The mat is either rinsed with water or machine cleaned by gentle cycle. Since jute is a natural raw material, the mats are generally environmentally friendly, However, most jute mats contain additives such as PVC or natural rubber to soften the yoga mats.
Brief information on leading manufacturers of yoga mats
In our yoga mat Test 2019 , we also took a closer look at the manufacturers. Yoga mats are now offered by a variety of companies. For some providers, including long-established sporting goods manufacturers such as Adidas , Nike and Reebok , but also younger companies such as Gorilla Sports GmbH founded in 2005, the yoga mats are part of a wide range. The supplier Airex , on the other hand, specializes in the development, production and sale of gymnastic and yoga mats. In addition, there are, among others, with Bausinger , Manduka and Yogistar Providers who exclusively offer articles related to yoga.
The German Adidas AG is the second largest sporting goods manufacturer in the world. It began in 1924 by the brothers Adolf "Adi" and Rudolf Dassler founded Gebrüder Dassler shoe factory . The shoes were worn by gold medalists in the 1928 and 1936 Olympic Games. After the Second World War, the brothers quarreled and founded their own company. Adi Dassler founded Adidas and Rudolf Dassler Puma. Today, Adidas produces a wide range of sporting goods, in which yoga mats only form a small niche. There are colorful mats made of modern thermoplastic materials, which are supplied with straps. In addition, there are matching yoga clothing and bags.
AIREX AG specializes in the production of gymnastics mats based on a self-developed closed-cell foam. AIREX AG was founded in 1956 in the Swiss town of Sins, where it produced the first foam gymnastics mats in 1960 and still has its location today. Since then, AIREX has been dedicated to the development and production of closed-cell foams. In the process, the recipe for the company's own special foam was created, which today forms the basis of all AIREX products. The offer includes mats for school and club sports, fitness, rehabilitation, yoga and Pilates. Especially for yoga lovers, AIREX is aimed at the CALYANA brand.
Bausinger GmbH is a traditional Baden-Württemberg company that produces yoga mats and accessories such as meditation cushions sustainably and fairly. The company, which was founded in 1985, originated in 1977 when Margarethe and Frieder Bausinger developed a training mat made of wool in Reutlingen that was supposed to have a soft upper side and non-slip underside. To this day Bausinger manufactures such yoga mats from natural fibers: organic cotton, organic wool and new wool. There is also Oeko-Tex certified double-sided non-slip vinyl foam. Since 1 January 1996, the company has been based in Straßberg and manufactures its products there almost exclusively with local and regional companies and suppliers.
Gorilla Sports GmbH offers sports equipment and selected sportswear for bodybuilding and fitness. The company was founded in 2005 and is based in Darmstadt, Hesse. As a target group, Gorilla Sports has set private individuals who want to set up their own fitness area at home. For this target group, the company offers good quality products at reasonable prices. For yoga lovers, Gorilla Sports offers lightweight phthalate-free nitrile rubber-PVC mats that are Oeko-Tex certified.
Manduka is a leading manufacturer of yoga mats and matching accessories. The name goes back to the frog position, the Mandukasana, which is reflected in the company logo. The company was founded in October 1997 in El Segundo, California, by architect and yoga lover Peter Sterios. At that time, yoga mats were not a matter of course, so Sterios was thrilled to discover a simple, black mat that provided the perfect foundation for his yoga practice. This discovery and the encouragement of his teachers, whom he sent the mat, inspired him to develop yoga mats. Today Manduka produces plastic mats, towels, bags, clothing and accessories.
Nike Inc., named after the Greek goddess of victory, is the world's leading supplier of sporting goods. The origin lies in the 1964 founded company Blue Ribbon . Founders were Bill Bowerman and Philip Knight, who started making their own shoes in 1971. The first success came from equipping successful athletes like athlete Steve Prefontaine, who finished fourth at the 5000-meter run in Nike shoes during the 1972 Olympics. As a sporting goods manufacturer, Nike has a wide range of which yoga mats occupy only a small segment. The range includes plastic yoga mats and a selection of accessories.
Reebok International Limited is an original English company. The foundation was made in 1895 with the founding of JW Foster and Sons, which produced racing shoes for the 1924 Olympic Games. Reebok itself was started in 1958 by the grandsons of the founder. The name derives from the name for the reptile (Afrikaans: Rhebok) and is said to transport speed and elegance. The company has been based in the USA since 1979 and has been a subsidiary of Adidas AG since 2006. Today, in the field of yoga, Reebok offers lightweight, handy yoga mats as well as bags, accessories and modern clothing.
Yogistar Vertriebs GmbH is a German company. The sales office is based in Wiggensbach in the Swabian district of Oberallgäu. Yogistar sees itself as a modern, style-conscious and quality yoga brand and offers articles on the topic of yoga. The colorful Oeko-Tex certified yoga mats offer a wide range of materials. There are mats made of various plastics, nitrile rubber, a jute-PVC mixture, cork and new wool. The yoga mats made of natural fibers, the bottom is provided with a non-slip surface. In addition, Yogistar has yoga clothing and accessories in its range.
Internet versus retailers: Where do I buy my yoga mat best?
Nowadays, yoga mats are offered almost everywhere: in specialized shops for sporting goods, in well-equipped supermarkets with their own sports department and, of course, on the Internet . As with most items, the question arises in the case of yoga mats, whether the purchase in the local retailers is preferable to buying on the Internet. Of course there are good reasons for both retailers and the Internet. That's why we tested both variants in our Yoga Mat Test and would like to share our experience with you.
For the specialized trade speaks that you can examine the yoga mats under the employment of four of your senses . You can see if the color meets your expectations and all seams have been sewn up properly. You can smell whether the mat exudes a smell of chemicals or possibly has an unpleasant odor. You can feel if the mat has the right thickness and firmness and if the texture is pleasant to you. You may even hear the material making unpleasant noises. Also a great advantage is that you can get advice from a specialist on the mat.
On the Internet you have to forego the direct use of your senses and the personal advice of the dealer. But you can easily compensate for this deficiency. Online you have a great variety of offers from different providers available, all of which you can compare easily and quickly . Many dealers offer as a decision aid the ability to sort the products from different vendors according to common criteria in order to compare them in this way. Another option is the direct comparison of different articles. Very helpful are also the customer reviews especially if the trader allows comments to be left.
There are also numerous websites with tips on how to use yoga mats on the internet. In many cases, there are people behind the pages who want to do yoga for years and share their experiences with others.
Often there are not only tips for choosing and maintaining the right yoga mat , but also beyond this information in relation to the various forms of yoga. Exercises are often explained in detail by a text and supplemented by images - either a photo series or a video recording.
In our yoga mat test we found both possibilities very pleasant. The personal advice on site in the specialized trade is a very pleasant option and in a really competent dealer basically not to replace. Here it is possible to ask personal questions and possibly even test the mat. In contrast, the Internet offers a wealth of different providers, which are very easy to compare and thus lead to some bargains. Reviews from other customers reflect personal impressions that the dealer will not have. For more specific questions, there is usually an option to contact the online customer serviceto turn. These are often even occupied over the weekend.
The size flexibility in shopping on the Internet and the opportunity to make a bargain have made the difference for us in favor of the Internet.
Worth knowing and guidebook to the yoga mat
A yoga mat is designed to give you the best possible support with its features during your exercises. So it should give you the perfect stand for your asanas and spare your joints during strenuous exercises . For this purpose, thin, non-slip mats with sufficient strength are suitable.
In the rest or meditation exercises , the mat should above all be a comfortable resting area . Soft yoga mats of greater thickness are recommended here. A good dimensional stability is in any case a must, since otherwise fast lasting pressure points in the mat. These can lead to accidents during more demanding exercises and reduce comfort during meditation. To prevent accidents, a non-slip surface is also essential.
In order to enjoy your perfect yoga mat for a long time, you should pay attention to some tips for cleaning and storage . It is very important to clean the yoga mat regularly. Especially before the first workout , it is recommended to wipe the mat once wet.
There may still be fine residue from the process of making or packaging on the mat, which could make it slippery. If you sweat regularly, wipe the mat with a damp cloth after each workout . Some vendors also offer sprays for cleaning and some mats settle in the machine washed . Storage requires a dry place where the yoga mat is not exposed to excessive cold or direct sunlight.
The history of the yoga mat
today there is a large variety of yoga mats, which differ from one another, among other things, by the material used, their thickness and of course their designTaste of different people. This large selection has its origins in the early 1990s . At that time, the emergence of Americanized yoga forms such as the Ashtanga Yoga inspired power yoga led to a changed perception of the hitherto spiritually occupied yoga. This was now perceived in its physically demanding form and increasingly included by gyms in the program. In response, a market for yoga mats developed from the mid-1990s, which became increasingly commercial and above all the natural fibers previously used by plastics . The reasons for this were the excellent suitability for the requirements of the sport and the favorable production conditions.
Originally , as one might think given the long tradition of yoga, natural materials were common. Their purpose was to help yoga or yogini perform the exercises. Comfort played no or only a minor role. Mats made of coconut fiber , jute or sisal were used . All these natural fibers provide durable and sturdy mats that are also very firm and uncomfortable.
An alternative were animal skins . Since the Ahimsa principle prohibits violence against animals, only skins of naturally dead animals were used.
In recent yoga rugs like were used in cotton, which, however, were not particularly durable under heavy loads and are hard to find today. Until the advent of modern yoga mats was often improvised with blankets, where a rubber mat was placed to protect against slipping.
Numbers, dates and facts about the yoga mat
Not every yoga mat is suitable for every type of yoga, and otherwise, there are some facts to consider when choosing a yoga mat. In our yoga mat test, we give you a brief overview in the following, in which we start from the different materials.
Yoga Form : Ashtanga Yoga.
Pure cotton mats are quite thin and often have a poor cushioning effect. They are often used as a support on plastic mats. Cotton-filled mats damp well, but are relatively heavy and bulky. They can be used especially at home.
Yoga forms : Bikram Yoga (Hot Yoga), Power Yoga, Vinyasa Yoga
The non-slip mats are extremely robust, light and thin. Since pure jute mats are very rough, they are often mixed with plastic.
Yoga forms : Bikram yoga (hot yoga), power yoga and vinyasa yoga
These non-slip mats have an anti-allergic and antibacterial effect. They are light, flexible, but also quite hard and are rarely offered.
Yoga formsYoga : Ashtanga and Power Yoga, Bikram Yoga (Hot Yoga) and Vinyasa Yoga
These resistant mats have a good damping and insulating effect at a thickness of between 4 and 8 millimeters. The practical thing is that the top side as well as the bottom is non-slip. Since some plastic mats can emit plasticizers or cause allergies, should be paid to appropriate certificates.
New wool mats
Yoga Forms : Hatha Yoga, Kundalini Yoga, Yin Yoga and Meditation
The skin-friendly mats have a good insulating effect. They are easy to clean and have a conditioning effect. They are a bit heavier and require more space than plastic mats, which is why they can be used well at home. For the mats, attention must be paid to a non-slip coating.
Material choice for yoga mats
When choosing a yoga mat, the material plays an important role. The choice is basically between mats made of plastic and natural fibers . For mats made of natural fibers, it is advisable to inform yourself thoroughly.
The properties are often not as direct as seen in the plastic mats, so that especially beginners can quickly make a wrong choice here. Cotton yoga mats , for example, are often less strong than plastic mats of the same thickness-unless it's a cotton- filled mat-pure jute is very hard-but is often added in combination with a plastic such as natural rubber, and plays on virgin wool Among other things, the pile height a crucial role. This should not be a recommendation against natural fibers, because they have excellent properties. However, we recommend that you consult an expert such as a yoga instructor when choosing such a mat.
Plastic mats offer some practical advantages: low prices, double-sided skid resistance and low weight. They are also easy to transport and clean. However, not all plastics are uncontested. Especially PVC is classified as questionable due to the use of plasticizers, which are released quickly to the human body. Alternatives include foams such as nitrile rubber based NBR foam. The foam mats are flexible, lightweight and usually have a good dimensional stability. A novelty is the TPE plastics . The thermoplastic elastomershave an excellent dimensional stability, are harmless to health and also recyclable. For these reasons, mats made of TPE are not without reason among the winners of our Yogamatten test.
Yoga mat versus gymnastics mat
There are many similarities between plastic yoga mats and gymnastic mats . In both cases it is important to have an insulating and cushioning effect as well as the possibility to clean the mat . Since both types of mats are made of the same plastics, these requirements are usually met. It is also important to pay attention to the absence of pollutants . Evidence suggests a strong smell of chemicals and, above all, certificates that indicate their safety.
Yoga mats are thinner and tighter than gymnastics mats. This is because in yoga exercises, especially ** stability ** must be offered, as many positions are held over a longer period. In contrast, gymnastic exercises are often more dynamic, resulting in a different pressure load on the joints. Another difference lies in the materials used . While gymnastic mats are almost exclusively made of plastic , yoga mats alone traditionally have a lot of natural fibers .
The top 10 yoga exercises
Of course we do not want to deprive you of our ten favorite exercises in our yoga mat test . More detailed descriptions of the exercises can be found on the Internet.
No. 1 The mountain posture (Tadasana)
The position of the mountain provides better posture and improves concentration. It is the starting point for many more exercises. In this (seemingly) simple exercise, the body is maximally stretched without tensing it.
No. 2 The Tree (Vrksasana)
The position of the tree improves balance and promotes concentration. In the upright position, one leg is turned sideways 90 ° and applied to the (upper) thigh of the other leg. The arms are brought together in front of the chest or over the head.
No. 3: The cat (Marjaryasana)
The position of the cat stretches the back and neck and strengthens the abdominal muscles. It is well suited for beginners. To take the position, the upper body is bent forward from the heel seat so that the hands are directly under the shoulders. Then a hump is made.
No. 4: The Bow (Dhanurasana)
The position of the bow strengthens the stomach, legs and buttocks and makes it easier to breathe. The heels are guided from the prone position slowly to the butt and grasped there with the hands. Then arms and legs are led away from the butt. Except for the abdominal muscles, the muscles remain relaxed.
No. 5: The Chair (Utkatasana)
The position of the chair strengthens the thigh muscles and knees. In this exercise, it is important not to cramp. The position is taken from the state by the butt is moved towards an imaginary seat.
No. 6: The cobra (Bhujangasana)
The position of the cobra strengthens the spine and increases the concentration. It can be combined well with the dog looking down. At start, the body lies flat on the ground. The arms are bent to put the hands next to the chest. Subsequently, the upper body is gradually raised.
No. 7: The Looking Down Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
The position of the dog looking down stretches the spine and neck, preventing headaches. It is one of the most commonly performed asanas and is taken by maneuvering the quadruped body into a position reminiscent of an inverted V.
No. 8: The position of the child (Balasana)
The position of the child relaxes the neck area and supports breathing. It can be done well following the dog looking down. The upper body is bent forward from the heel seat until the forehead touches the ground. The arms are placed either above the head or next to the heels.
# 9: The funeral (Savasana)
The position of the dead is used to reduce stress and tension. It is often done at the end of a yoga class. In this position, a supine position is taken in which the arms and legs are slightly angled and the spine is stretched by lowering the chin to the chest.
No. 10: The Crane (Bakasana)
The position of the crane or the crow is not an exercise for beginners, but certainly one of the most beautiful. It requires a lot of strength, sense of balance and strengthens self-confidence. The exercise starts from the squat, from which the knees are pressed into the armpits, and then the feet are removed from the floor.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
How much is a yoga mat?
Very cheap yoga mats are already under 10 euros to have. Here you should pay attention to the relevant information on the ingredients. Good plastic mats are available between 20 to 50 euros. For natural fiber mats, you have to dig deeper, which is usually due to the high-quality materials and the elaborate workmanship.
How big should a yoga mat be?
As a guideline, a yoga mat should be at least 10 inches longer than the body. The standard size is therefore a good 180 centimeters. Most mats have a width of 60 centimeters.
Which yoga mats can allergy sufferers use?
Of course that depends on the corresponding allergy. But in general, mats made of natural fibers are generally suitable for allergy sufferers, cork mats in particular being said to have an anti-allergic effect. Caution is advised with natural rubber, as it can trigger a latex allergy.
How thick should a yoga mat be?
Since the thickness also depends on the strength of the material, there is no absolute value. Good advice is usually in plastic mats with a mat thickness between 4 to 8 millimeters.
How do I clean a yoga mat?
For cleaning, a damp cloth is usually sufficient. For very stubborn dirt, very dilute soap solution can be used; Here is worth a rehearsal in a hidden place. In addition, there are cleaning sprays or optionally the option to machine clean the mat.
How should a yoga mat be stored?
At home, the mats are often rolled up or stored folded, if necessary. For very long storage, it is worth keeping the mat unrolled if possible. This prevents the mat from curling up the ends permanently. In addition, the storage location should be warm and dry and not exposed to direct sunlight.
Useful accessories for yoga mats
Yoga is a sport that traditionally requires few accessories. Nevertheless, there is now of course a wide range of practical utensils such as straps or yoga bags that facilitate the transport of the mat and possibly also the clothes.
Many people also prefer a yoga towel that is either placed on the mat to catch sweat or used as a stand-alone pad. Help with the exercises give yoga DVDs .
Alternatives to the yoga mat
In the field of demanding yoga forms , the use of a yoga or Pilates mat is the best recommendation. The pure ground is often too hard, cold or smooth, blankets do not provide sufficient cushioning and gymnastic mats are too thick. If it is mostly about standing asanas or meditation exercises, on the other hand, improvisation can be very good. Here often enough a soft carpet or a cozy lawn .