One of the biggest advantages to getting involved with yoga is that there are very few pieces of gear that you will need to enjoy your new hobby. Loose, comfortable clothing will be the first on the list, followed closely by your own yoga mat. While you may be able to use the mats at the yoga studio where you take classes, this may not be such a good idea. If you find that you are visiting the studio multiple times a week because you are hooked on the Eastern discipline, read on for the best tips on how and why to purchase a yoga mat and how to care for it once you've got it.
Why do I need a Mat?
It is very possible that you will begin your yoga experience with mats borrowed from the studio you are learning in. However, by your third or fourth session, it is probably time to begin thinking about investing in your own. Why? Sanitation is the first consideration that comes to mind. No matter how conscientious your yoga studio is about cleaning mats after use, there is still a risk that you could pick up something like athlete's foot from these public pieces of equipment, since you are using the yoga mats in your bare feet.
How to Choose the Right One for You
Once you have determined that you need a yoga mat of your own, the next step will be to choose the right one for you. First, look for a mat that is the right size for you, so you can perform all of your positions without hanging off the edge. You also want to find a mat that will be thick enough to support you during your entire routine. Finally, you don't want to choose a mat that is extremely heavy to carry if you will be transporting it from your home to the studio on a regular basis.
To ensure that your mat will be safe for your workouts, look for those that offer a non-skid bottom, so it won't be sliding across the floor. It is also important to find a yoga mat that will lie flat on the ground, since even the slightest curl in the corners of the mat can pose a tripping hazard to those around you. It is also a good idea to find a mat that will be easy to clean and comes in a style and color that you like.
Caring for your Mat
Taking care of your yoga mat will primary consist of spot cleaning with a spray bottle or damp cloth as needed. If water doesn't do the trick, you can also use a formula of cool water and a bit of mild detergent. Take care not to use too much soap that can cause the surface of your mat to become slippery. With the right yoga mat and proper care, you will have the perfect addition to your yoga sessions for some time to come.