23 Things You Wanted To Know About Yoga Mats

  1. Yoga mats and pilates mats are not the same, the main difference being that yoga mats are thinner (by about a half) and stickier/grippier than pilates mats. While pilates mats can be used for yoga, the reverse is not necessarily true. Exercise mats that you see in the gym and fitness centers are usually even thicker since you might be using it for more high-impact stuff like jumprope, jumping, plyometrics, hiit, martial arts and whatnot.

  2. Yoga mats are less likely to promote the buildup of static charge in your body than carpet (unless you happen to own a fancy sheepskin yoga mat) but they aren’t necessarily “anti-static” in the sense that they are grounded or absorb electricity, so if you’re thinking of tinkering with sensitive electronic components or building a computer on one make sure you’re grounded.

  3. Open-cell foam yoga mats are like sponges and can absorb liquids like your sweat (or spilled drinks) so they will get wet. This makes them less slippery when wet, but make it easier for germs to grow in them. They also tear easily. Closed-cell foam yoga mats are waterproof and don’t absorb liquids so they avoid the disadvantages of open-cell foam, but unless it has a non-slip surface it will get slippery in the presence of any moisture.

  4. Thin yoga mats can be comfortable to sleep on if placed on a soft surface such as a hammock or on hay, but for use as a sleeping pad on hard surfaces you should get thicker ones. For camping, stick to yoga mats that are specifically marketed as being suitable for camping, otherwise it may not have enough insulation and it may wear out too quickly.

  5. The wrong yoga mats can be dangerous to your health in two main ways, 1. toxic, cancer-causing substances including heavy metals like lead, cadmium and mercury and pthalates emitted from PVC and 2. infectious pathogens (especially with mats that are shared), the most commonly spread diseases being plantar warts on the feet, herpes and lice. This is why you should buy your own safe, non-toxic yoga mats and disinfect them regularly – especially for pregnancies and when babies and children are involved. Public mats you borrow are not only likely to be dirty, but they are also usually cheaper ones that are more likely to contain the aforementioned toxins.

  6. Yoga mats are good for crunches and sit ups because it may protect your tailbone from hard surfaces by padding it. The thicker the yoga mat, the better.

  7. If you have a latex allergy, you’ll be happy to hear that most yoga mats do not contain latex – and this includes the common PVC mats (remember to double-check the label though). However you should avoid PVC mats too as they are known to be toxic.

  8. Most yoga mats are machine washable – unless the product instructions explicitly tell you not to put it in a washing machine. On the other hand, keep them out of dryers as they can be damaged and could even catch on fire.

  9. Some yoga mats on the market are made of EVA foam, which some consider to have less hazardous chemicals than PVC.

  10. Most yoga mats (including PVC and latex ones) aren’t recyclable. They are however, reusable is that you can use them for many non-yoga purposes (many of which are covered in this page) so you don’t necessarily have to thow them out.

  11. The vast majority of yoga mats are vegan, unless you go out of your way to buy a sheepskin yoga mat.

  12. Arthritis or back, knee, wrist and other joint pain sufferers tend to use thicker yoga mats, and some report that they still need to place extra towels or other additional cushioning to reduce soreness. Some fibromyalgia sufferers have reported using memory-foam mats to good effect. However if a thick mat is too “cushiony” without sufficient density it may compromise balance and place uneven compression forces on joints.

  13. Big guys and overweight people need bigger yoga mats – more length and width to accomodate their body dimensions, more thickness to support their heavier weight and more grip because their greater mass makes it easier for them to slip.

  14. The best yoga mats for bikram/hot yoga are those that become grippier with more moisture (this also applies to heavy sweaters) – these include cork-topped yoga mats and any other mats that advertise themselves as providing more grip with more moisture.

  15. For comfort, you should ensure a yoga mat is thick enough to provide sufficient padding from the ground yet dense enough for stability. Texture is also important for comfort, and depending on whether you prioritize grip or skin-feel you will need to choose between a rough or a smooth surface as one tends to be mutually exclusive of the other.

  16. Textured, non-slip yoga mats are better for the downward dog pose than smooth mats as they provide better traction for the large horizontal forces involved. They’re also good for people with slippery/sweaty hands and feet in general.

  17. For wood/hardwood and tile floors, make sure your yoga mat has a sticky surface (fabric and towels would not be ideal – however there are yoga towels that have rubber grips on the corners).

  18. For travel, it’s best to settle with a thinner and lighter yoga mat as it would take up less space and be easier to carry around.

  19. A yoga mat that’s too sticky can lift off the ground because it gets stuck on you – especially if it’s thin and light. People have actually injured themselves because of this.

  20. You can take a yoga mat on a plane as long as it complies with carry-on size regulations. If it fits inside your carryon bag, even better.

  21. For use on carpet, yoga mats should not be “stretchy” and be a bit on the heavy side. It also helps if it has patterned grips on the bottom.

  22. Yoga mats can be folded instead of rolled if they are thin enough, but the creases could become more prone to tearing.

  23. It is probably not a good idea to iron your yoga mat – it is likely to melt or burn.

Author: NFReads.com

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