Recommendation: Yoga Mats
In the last couple of weeks I have had a lot of requests about yoga mats from students looking to buy their own. While most studios do provide mats, after a while when you know you are going to keep coming to class, or if you want to practice at home, it is quite nice to buy one of your own. I have tried and tested a lot of different mats over time and have discovered there is a real balance between a mat that won't be slippery, even if you get hot and sweaty, and a mat that allows you to still flow through your practice without your toes getting stuck or your palms getting blistered!
So I thought I should share some of my experience and offer a little guidance for those of you in the market for a yoga mat by offering the following recommendations. You will notice that my recommendations are not cheap, but I really do feel that each of these are worth the investment. A cheap mat is likely to be slippery, which is problematic not just in advanced postures such as inversions and arm balances but in your foundational poses too. It can be tempting to go for a mat with beautiful patterns but the reality is that often they are not the best to practice on, even though they do look great in an intagram shot!
When it comes to mats, I have two favourite brands and I really think these ones are a cut above the rest.
Lululemon offer two versions of their reversible mat - 5mm which is great to keep at home or in a studio, and the 3mm which is lighter and a little easier to carry round if you like to take your mat on the go. They also have a 1.5mm mat which doesn't offer much padding at all but is great to pack in a suitcase or even fold into a bag and put on top of another mat once you arrive at a class. That way, you get the perfect amount of non-slip action without having to lug a big mat around all day.
The other big player in the yoga mat game for me is Liforme, who's travel mat came with me to India for my training and still travels with me today. As well as being brilliantly non-slip, it also has lines to help you with your alignment that can be really helpful, especially when learning yoga from scratch, or trying to correct your postures. Again they offer a lighter travel version and a thicker studio mat - I have and love both, just like with the Lululemon mats (can you have too many? The answer is yes, definitely but I'm not willing to give up my favourites!). Liforme mats also come with a bag which is pretty handy and makes up a little for the additional cost.
You are in safe hands with either of these brands and if you have the option to invest in one of them rather than a cheaper alternative, you wont need a new mat for a very, very long time so it really is worth the premium for a good quality mat!
Do you guys have other favourites? Leave me a comment to let me know!