Why is the type of yoga mat so important to your practice? Why does it make a difference to you? There are many reason factoring into your mat choice, safety being a main concern.
Let’s start with the term “sticky mat” — Sticky does not mean there is a substance like honey or jelly on the mat causing you to want to whip out the all purpose cleaner. It has to do with placing your hands , feet, etc in one spot and being confident that they will remain there ! Some mats have too smooth a texture or surface,so your feet and hands may slip as you are going through your poses. For obvious reasons, this can be dangerous. A ‘sticky mat” means the mat has a texture and surface that prevents slipping, thereby keeping your body parts where you intended. You can put the cleaner away!
Next, let’s talk about really cushy mats (about an inch,give or take) You’ve seen mats which are so thick you could almost use them for a body pillow! This presents a problem to the yoga practitioner. A HUGE issue is that your hands, wrists, feet and ankles will wobble as you are trying to stabilize a pose. This is one of the most dangerous things that can happen. You are fighting to stay in position,using all kinds of muscles that have nothing to do with the pose. Strains and sprains on your joints happen very quickly on a too thick mat (example- aPilates mat- great for Pilates- not for yoga)
If your mat is too thin- say 1/8’, you are working on a veryhard surface. The floor is just covered, but you are not protected. This puts undue stress on the joints and is felt by some yogis right away in knee or wrist problems. While you think it feels ok to practice on this, over time premature wear on the joints will begin to appear.
Then there’s my all time favorite—the STRETCHY mat!!! This is the one where you believe you are standing in Warrior I, but pretty soon-you are doing the splits as the mat stretches out beneath you! You may not fall, but this causes you to use a different set of muscles to try to maintain the pose than what is intended. Then you are no longer doing the pose, you are doing something else!
This brings us to the professionally endorsed ¼’ mat. While it may seem 1/4 isn’t that different from 1/8’- the moment you set foot and knees on the mat you can feel it. Not too, thin, not too thick allows for confident, stabilized poses with just enough cushion to make it comfortable and safe. No wobbling, no feeling like your bones are connecting with the floor, no unexpected splits. Going To My Happy Place has the option ofcarrying any mat made, and we choose to offer the best quality, ¼ inch pro mats. Safety and comfort are top priority. A variety of colors to compliment individual preferences make your Happy Place mat personal.
Now you know why it’s a good idea to pay attention to the type of yoga mat you use. It is freeing to have your yoga mat in order and then be able focus your energy into your practice! If you have more mat questions,please contact us through the contact page or call 630-513-9554!