Choosing a Yoga mat

Choosing a Yoga mat
BY Virgin Active South Africa
Posted On 5 January, 2023

Not all Yoga mats are created equally. When you start getting more serious about your Yoga practice, you might be considering getting a mat of your own to use when you practise outdoors, in club or at home.  

But then you may see all the options and feel a little less Zen than you would like. We’ve got you. There are a few things to consider when buying a Yoga mat. Aspects like thickness of the mat – especially when you’re going to be on all fours during a class. Make sure it’s thick enough to offer support, but not too thick that you struggle with your balance during trickier poses. Another important thing to remember is to ensure that your mat has suitable grip, nothing says #YogaFail like sliding right out of your Downward Dog. 

Here’s a list of what you should look for in a Yoga mat and the pros and cons of the most common mats that you can get from your favourite sports shop. 

PVC mats: The OG of Yoga mats. Most retailers that sell sports and exercise equipment will have these bad boys piled high and all in all the colours imaginable. These are great entry-level mats for someone who is still finding their inner Yogi, or a reliable budget-friendly option.  

They have great cushioning and are resistant to moisture, easy to clean and have great grip! The con for many environmentally conscious Yogis is that PVC mats aren’t recyclable, so be aware of that if you’re on the market for a mat. 

Natural rubber mats: Like the name states, these Yoga mats are made with natural rubber from the Rubber Tree. This is a great alternative for eco-friendly Yogis as they are durable, waterproof and offer an option that will last considerably longer than other alternatives. Because natural rubber mats are made from natural resources, they are biodegradable and heavier but a downside is that if you have a latex allergy, this mat needs to be avoided.  

It’s important to note that if left in direct sunlight it will deteriorate quicker, so be sure to pack it away after your sunrise Shavasana. 

Corkmats:Cork is a natural material from an oak tree and good news for environmentally conscious yogis, the trees aren’t damaged when harvesting the cork. Double layered with cork and natural rubber, these mats are durable and waterproof, elastic and resistant to bacteria. 

Cork offers great grip, which makes this mat ideal for challenging poses. The con of a cork mat would be how challenging they are to clean, they need to be completely dry before you can pack them away, and cheaper alternatives have the tendency to clip or flake. 

There you have it, Yogis – three of the most common Yoga mats on the market today.  🙏