Going on vacation doesn't mean you have to take a break from your regular yoga practice. You'll want to pack a thinner lightweight travel mat that offers a gripable surface without taking up too much room in your suitcase. Here are four great picks that easily fold up but won't break the bank.
When I started practicing yoga over 10 years ago, I couldn't wait to own my first yoga mat. I impulsively bought a pretty purple one, based on color alone. Not the best move, as it began disintegrating after a few weeks. What a waste of $35. Like any fitness gear, it pays to do a little research and to know some tips from well-seasoned yogis. Here are things I wish I knew before buying my first yoga mat.
Not All Mats Are Created Equal
Just as there are many types of yoga, there are even more varieties of yoga mats. Some are lightweight for traveling, some are eco-friendly, and some are designed for classes where you don't sweat much. Choose a mat based on the type of yoga you're doing and the amount you perspire. Avoid mats made for other types of exercise like physical therapy or Pilates, as they can be too squishy or slippery.
If You Want It to Last, Spend the Dough
There are plenty of mats that costs $20 or less, but you get what you pay for in the yoga mat world. Typically found at huge stores like Target or Walmart, less-expensive mats not only wear down after a few months, but they're typically made with chemically-smelling plastics like PVC, which aren't good for the Earth or your body. Pricier mats like the Manduka Black Mat cost
a small fortune over $90, but you're paying for a durable mat made to last a lifetime (or two). In the long run, you actually save money.
Keep reading for more tips on buying your first yoga mat.
We are pumped to share one of our favorite stories from Health.com here on FitSugar.
If you’ve just eked your millionth sun salutation out of that thin, raggedy rectangle you call a mat, it might be time to spring for a new one. But what to do with the old? Certainly, you could recycle it or even donate it if it isn’t too far gone, or you could tap your inner Martha and try a little creative repurposing:
1. Hang it horizontally in your garage to keep car doors from scraping the walls.
2. Use it as a kitchen mat in front of the stove or sink.
3. Lay it under your sleeping bag on your next camping trip; it won’t provide much in the way of cushioning, but at least you won’t feel every rock and stick.
4. Scrub the heck out of it, then cut it up as liners for shelves and drawers.
5. Make it into floor covers for the backseat area so your kids’ muddy shoes and cleats won’t ruin your mats.
6. Carpet the tree house!
7. Cut it into small circles and use them under furniture legs to protect the floor.
8. Wrap it around that attic beam or basement pole you keep running into.
9. Put it under the litter box so the cat won’t track stuff all over the floor.
10. Cut it to fit under slippery rugs to keep them in place.
There are 16 more things to do with that old mat, so keep reading.
In my yoga class, I get really sweaty and my hands and feet slip on my mat. Do you need a special mat for something like this?
Thanks for your question, hiptobesquare. Practicing on a slippery yoga mat can be a major distraction, and when it comes to certain poses, it may prove to be dangerous — no one wants to land on their face during Downward Dog! As for whether or not you need a special mat, the answer is not necessarily. There are several mats on the market that are advertised as "nonslip," but from our own experiences, no mat is truly slip- or sweat-proof. What these mats do offer is better traction and grip and less of a slick surface, which is helpful if you tend to get sweaty during class. We find that Manduka mats are great for offering good grip for sweaty hands and feet.
To avoid having to go out a buy a new mat, we recommend investing in a slipless towel. Unlike regular bath towels, a slipless towel absorbs sweat and dries quickly. And, in many cases, the towel is either made with a material that allows for extra grip or is antibacterial (in some cases, both). You might even ditch your mat altogether. Many people who practice hot yoga opt for a cotton mat that is made with traction on the underside, or just practice on a slipless towel.
Keep reading for more tips.
Since I've been studying the basics of yoga, I've been in the market for a yoga mat to call my own. While I have an old one that I bought while trying out yoga for the first time, I know it's time to invest in a durable mat that I can use for many years. So I've rounded up five popular mats that have graced the floors of countless studios across the world. Click through to see if your favorite one is included, and at the end vote on which one you think is the best!
There was quite a stir at my restorative yoga class this weekend when a classmate unrolled a circular yoga mat. I'd never seen one and neither had our instructor, which led to a bit of show and tell before practice began.
My classmate learned about the six-foot circular Mandala mat ($65) from her "mommy and me" yoga instructor. The extra room makes it easy for both her and her daughter to be on the mat together. She's come to like the round shape of the Mandala mat so much that she's been bringing it to her other classes, too. Doing yoga on the circular mat makes it easier to transition between poses, something that I witnessed firsthand. My classmate never had to change the placement of her mat, or position herself differently to avoid being on the floor. Because of this, she says that her practice seems to flow better since there are never any abrupt stops. She also appreciates that the circular shape means that her body is almost always in contact with the mat rather than the germy classroom floor.
I am certainly intrigued by the idea, and my only reservation is that the larger size might not always fit in a crowded classroom. Are you liking the round yoga mat?
Sometimes I want to feel pretty when I'm sweating it out at my Pilates mat class. Since I usually keep my workout clothes pretty basic, I'm always on the lookout for a unique bag or mat. I was excited to find out that Brooklyn-based designer Jill Malek teamed up with the eco-friendly company YogaMatic for a new line of mats. Like all YogaMatic mats, the Jill Malek series is made from sustainable, recycled rubber that is 100 percent biodegradable, and a percentage of the price ($85) goes to Global Green, a nonprofit focused on preventing climate change.
This is the first time YogaMatic has teamed with an independent designer, and it's easy to see why they picked Malek. The designs are based from Malek's Frequencies wallpaper collection — nature-inspired designs with repetitive patterns. I know it sounds silly, but the designs get me excited about taking a yoga or Pilates class.
The mats measure 72-by-24 inches with a thickness of 1/4-inch and also come with a tote bag.
Say goodbye to plain, boring yoga mats, and hello to sassy and unique Plank Mats. This company brings humor into the yoga studio, and it's apparent when you see their two collections of mats. The Text Series ($65) has three styles to choose from. They say either "Bling," "Chocolate," or "Me." They're printed in metallic colors to bring a touch of sparkle to your yoga class.
If seeing words all over your mat might be a little too distracting, then check out the digital photo mats ($80). The one called Shag makes you feel like you're doing yoga on your living-room carpet. Now you'll always know where to put your hands. Want to check it out and see all the other unique designs? Then read more
Yoga accessories can be quite boring but with yoga's gaining popularity, we're starting to see some truly beautiful stuff out there.
A perfect example is Dali Mama Yoga, a great site that sells gorgeous yoga accessories. Sick of schlepping all her yoga gear around, Dali Mama’s creator Dawn Alane, came up with the hands-free yoga mat (carrying handle is already attached to the mat - pictured above) among other great stuff (straps, harness, bag, towel, eye pillow, etc). Dali Mama's mission is to bring forth stylish yoga products, while creating a beautiful interior sanctuary.
Beauty does not come cheap at Dali Mama Yoga, but let's be honest, nothing in the fitness/health world is ever cheap anyway. Interested in getting your own raw silk zafu meditation cushion or hands free mat, then visit DaliMama.com. There is even an adorable kids selection for your little yoginis! Who knows if your daughter will need a mat for gym class!
The folks at the Museum of Modern Art know good design. And when you combine the elements of great design with something as practical as a yoga mat bag, you have quite a thing of beauty!
The Japanese-designed, adjustable Endless Bag combines form and function by featuring a series of interchangable vertical zippers. Easily add or remove sections to go quickly from carrying your yoga mat to storing your tripod to packing a small travel purse.
Available exclusively from MoMA at the reduced price of $55.95.
Click over and make your path toward inner peace a little less hectic.