How To Do Perfect Home Workouts Utilizing Yoga Mats
The Yogi Method
If you’re going to be exercising on the floor at home, or doing yoga, you’ll need a mat. Fortunately, these are really inexpensive. At Target, they start around $15.
The first thing you want to consider is thickness. This will determine how comfortable it’s going to be. The downside is that the thicker the mat, the more wobbly you may be.
A thin mat is around 1/16th of an inch thick. This gives you a good connection to the floor, making it a plus when doing balance postures.
The disadvantage to that is that there’s less cushioning between you and the floor. You might bang your knee doing a lunge. A thick mat is more like ¼ inch in width.
That may be better for back support during core work or inversions. You can also get a medium thickness mat that’s 1/8th of an inch thick if you’d rather have something in between.
You’ll also want to take into account the storage space you’ve got available. Thinner mats roll up into a smaller area, while thicker ones take up more space. Thinner also means more portable if you’re thinking of taking on a yoga class after quarantine’s over.
The material your mat is made of will determine its texture and “stickiness.” It’s also going to dictate how much “give” your mat has (“sponginess”). Most mats are made of either rubber or PVC (vinyl). Note that vinyl is not an eco-friendly choice if you’re into leaving a smaller carbon footprint.
Vinyl mats do last a long time, though, and can last through a whole lot of workouts. They’re spongier as well. Rubber mats can be natural or recycled. They may contain jute and cotton or be made only of cotton. These are all more eco-friendly but less spongy. And if you’re allergic to latex, avoid getting a rubber mat.
Your mat’s texture will control the amount of traction it has. It’s going to be either man-made (bumps on your vinyl mat) or a function of the material making up the mat (jute or cotton has a natural “grippy” texture).
A “grippy” or bumpy mat will keep you from slipping around on a hard floor. You’ll want that, especially if you sweat a lot.
However, if the bumps bother your skin, try to make sure your smooth mat has some moisture control. You can get a mat to suit any need, from silky-smooth to super-bumpy. It’s going to depend more on your sensitivity.
You’re going to want some “stickiness” in your mat as well. Sticky mats keep you from sliding all over the floor when you change positions. They also help you keep a position for longer without slipping beneath you. The stickiest mats are the vinyl (PVC) ones, but of course, they’re not very eco-friendly.
If you need help staying put in your poses, but can’t stand the raised texture of a rubber or jute mat, you’ll need to go with the vinyl one. Just remember to keep it clean so it maintains its stickiness.
The best way to care for your yoga mat is to use plain old soap and water. Wet a washcloth with soapy water (a non-oil-based soap is best) and wipe down the mat before its first use. Also clean it once a week to keep it in tip-top shape.
For a quick clean, try a 50/50 mixture of apple cider vinegar and water. Wipe down your mat and let it dry in a well-ventilated room or (even better) outside.
You can also buy or make an essential oil mat spray that leaves your mat with a fresh scent like lemon, eucalyptus, lavender, or mint.
Over time, your mat will start to lose its stickiness. One of the best ways to fight that is to lightly sprinkle either baby powder or baking soda over the mat and wipe it with a clean, dry cloth. This will soak up some of the oils and moisture.
The purpose of this article is to educate, and there are no guarantees of results implied. The author can, therefore, not be held accountable for any injuries from utilizing these workouts or poor results you may attain when implementing the techniques or when following any guidelines set out for you in this article.