There are lots of different yoga mats on the market and, although there’s no right or wrong selection, some will suit you better than others. Don’t leap into your purchase – just as it makes sense to audition your hot yoga studio, a little research beforehand will help you find a mat in your price range that suits your particular needs, preferences and style and suits your pocket.
Some mats have a lifetime guarantee but every mat will benefit from some care and attention to make sure it lasts the distance. Each type has a recommended treatment method to keep it in tip top condition – check the manufacturer’s instructions for details.
Hot yoga brings its own mat care requirements. In the lovely studio heat you will definitely find yourself sweating, which will leave a salty residue on your mat.
It’s may be tempting to leave your mat rolled up in the boot of the car and forget about it from one session to the next. But just as you can’t leave your gym kit rolled up in the back of the car from session to session and expect it to be fresh as a daisy for your next session, it’s the same for your mat.
We suggest that you get into the habit of washing the mat down after each use with warm water and a soft cloth, then leave it to dry naturally, unrolled. The minute or so it takes to do this will repay you, making sure the mat can do its job when you next practise.
There are plenty of commercial mat cleaning sprays on the market. Some of us make our own natural cleaner by shaking water and cider vinegar with a couple of drops of essential oils, such as lavender or tea tree oil. Before you use a commercial spray or your own blends, double check what your mat is made out of, and the care recommendations as some cleansers could affect the mat’s lifespan.
Hot yoga has extra requirements to factor in when choosing a mat. You’ll need a grippy mat to absorb the moisture and stop you sliding during the postures. One option for hot yoga is to opt for a mat towel to put over your mat. There are some good ones on the market with little gripers on one side to help stop you slipping and sliding. These are easy to clean too – most can go in the washing machine.
One way to put your investment in a yoga mat into perspective is to consider how much you are prepared to pay for trainers. After all, your yoga mat is your space – your oasis. Some people go so far as to think of it as their sanctuary: a place where they can leave all the stresses and strains of their daily life behind as they invest time and energy into creating a healthy body, mind and spirit.