Whether lotus position, half moon or Savasana – the mat is your grounding in every asana. To keep you in flow and not get out of balance, we clarify all important questions about the perfect foundation for different types of yoga and give tips on how to clean your mat properly as a prospective yogini:
- How to find the right yoga mat
- Yogamats in comparison
- To clean your yoga mat
Which yoga mat is suitable for which yoga style?
It all depends on how you prefer to do yoga. For dynamic and sweat-inducing yoga such as Vinyasa Flow, Hatha or Bikram Yoga, yoga teacher Annika Isterling from Hamburg recommends making sure that the mat is non-slip: “If you quickly get sweaty hands during yoga, mats made of natural rubber are particularly suitable,” says the expert.
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Are thick yoga mats worse than thin ones?
No. Standard is 5 to 6 millimeters. But especially for beginners or yogis with delicate bones thicker mats of up to 8 millimetres are more suitable. In some poses it is more difficult to keep your balance on them, but they cushion better. “This is much easier on the joints and much more comfortable in poses like the camel,” says Isterling. The 2 to 3 millimeter thin travel mats are light and therefore particularly easy to transport.
“However, they are really only suitable as a second mat when travelling.”
With the perfect yoga mat practicing is much more fun. © fizkes / shutterstock.com
How long must the mat be?
As a rule of thumb for the correct length, you should be able to rest your head and feet comfortably on it at the same time. “The standard length is approximately 173 centimeters. Many suppliers also have longer mats in their range. These are worthwhile even from a height of 174 centimeters,” says yoga expert Annika Isterling.
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Are there also environmentally friendly yoga mats?
If the environment is close to your heart, materials such as natural rubber, jute, bamboo, new wool, cotton or cork are ideal. During the exercises you will come very close to your mat, which is another reason why you should make sure that the materials used are free of harmful substances. “It is particularly important to me personally that my mat PVC -free,” the expert says. The Oeko-Tex certificate is a seal of quality for products tested for harmful substances.
How much is a good yoga mat?
Prices range from bargains of 15 euros to designer parts for over 100 euros. “To try out yoga, all you need is a cheap or rental mat from the studio. But if you practice regularly, you should buy a good mat,” says Isterling. The expert’s recommendation: invest 60 to 90 euros if the mat is to last a long time in yoga practice.
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Do I need a yoga towel?
Not a bad idea, because: Yogi-Towels can be put on rental mats in the studio so you don’t have to endure the residual sweat of the others. At the beginning it looks slippery, but still: “The cloth only gets a real grip when your hands get a little sweaty.” Great patterned yoga shawls can be seen for example here on amazon.de.
Yogamats in comparison
What is really important in a good yoga mat depends entirely on what you intend to do with it. Depending on your yoga style, training location and personal preference, there are different requirements for a mat.
1. the soft Velvet Rug watercolour mat from Vio Yoga
It has a soft microfibre surface and is more carpet than mat. Advantage: In contrast to sticky mats, which quickly become slippery when hands are wet, this mat offers a good grip for sweaty yoga styles.
Especially suitable for: Bikram and Hot Yoga
Order: ” Vio Yoga Mat via amazon.de
2. the environmentally friendly Harmony Professional yoga mat from Jade
This yoga mat made of non-slip natural rubber offers special stability and, with a thickness of 5 millimetres, cushions every movement. A cotton layer provides additional stability.
Especially suitable for: dynamic flows like in Vinyasa or Hatha Yoga
Order: Jade yoga mat on amazon.com
3. the Manduka eKO SuperLite Travel yoga mat
The Travel Mat from Manduka weighs less than one kilo and fits in any handbag or travel bag. Best of all, it contains no PVC The material is free of softening agents or harmful pollutants and offers a good grip.
Especially suitable for: all those who travel a lot
Order: Manduka Travel Mat via amazon.com
4. the smart yoga mat from Liforme
This yoga mat from Liforme is particularly clever. It is slightly wider and longer than a standard mat and has markings for individual asanas engraved in the surface to help you orientate and perfectly align all parts of your body on the mat in your flow.
Especially suitable for: Iyengar yoga
Order: Liforme yoga mat with alignment system via amazon.com
How to clean and maintain your yoga mat properly
A yoga mat goes through a lot in the course of time – and sometimes gets dirty. At some point, the bacteria party, consisting of sweat and outdoor dirt, takes on festival dimensions and the dog looking down smells. To prevent this from happening in the first place, you should clean the mat regularly and maintain it properly.
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Can I put my new yoga mat in the washing machine?
Sometimes there are good reasons to thoroughly clean the yoga mat again. © fizkes / shutterstock.com
Yeah. Some mats you can just machine wash. Just wash them with a little liquid detergent at low temperature. If you suspect germs and pathogens on your mat, you will have to resort to harder methods: “Alcohol-based agents disinfect best,” says hygienist Dr. Michael Pietsch from the University Hospital in Mainz. But be careful: These can attack the surface severely and should at best not be in continuous use.
The mat should also not be put in the washing machine too often, as this can make the material porous.
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Why does my yoga mat smell funny?
“No matter what material the mat is made of, everyone smells very intense at first,” says Isterling. But when the mat is rolled out for a few days, the smell disappears quickly. Besides, it’s like this: “A yoga mat only becomes really good when a little sweat has poured onto it.
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Are rented mats unhygienic?
Probably. Because you not only share them with all your predecessors*, but also with what they leave behind: “Bacteria that were on the skin before are certainly on the mat after the lesson”, says Dr. Michael Pietsch. They love the warm and humid environment and stay for quite a while: “Depending on the species, they survive only a few hours up to several days on the surface”.
What is the benefit of a yoga mat spray?
“Sprays are good. If necessary, you can use them to wipe down the rental mat in the studio,” says Isterling. It smells better immediately, and sprays with tea tree oil or vinegar essence quickly remove sweat and bacteria. “Organic yoga mat cleaner at amazon.de
Tip: You can also mix such a spray yourself. Some tea tree oil, water and a few drops of essential oils – that’s it!
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The personal yoga mat already says a lot about you. It’s like, “Show me your mat and I’ll tell you who you are.” Because at best you don’t practice on just any mat, but on one that exactly meets your needs and requirements and that you really like. With the right care you will certainly enjoy your mat for a long time.