How To Choose Your Suitable Yoga Mat

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Yoga, a sport that originated in India thousands of years ago, is very popular today.It is consensual to prepare a Yoga Mat to protect the body when practicing Yoga, but the original role of the yoga mat is not to protect but to prevent dirty. At that time, water resources were relatively scarce in India, and bathing was very inconvenient.

In order to reduce the number of times to change clothes and save water, they prepared a mat to prevent dirt. It was later found that the mat can also play a cushioning or shock-absorbing effect to avoid some bumps, and then it is more targeted to improve the mat. Now more and more people like yoga, yoga not only can tone the body but also relieve physical and mental pleasure during practice. Overall,the core equipment of the practice of yoga is a yoga mat, and it is very important to know how to pick a comfortable and suitable one. Based on our more than 30 years of experience in the fitness industry, this article will provide a professional explanation of yoga matsfrom various aspects such asmaterial、size and so on to help consumers avoid pitfalls in purchasing.

1. Fitness mat VS Yoga mat

Before choosing a yoga mat, you should first understand the difference between yoga mats and fitness mats. A fitness mat is mainly used as an aid for gymnastic exercises, mainly for protection and buffering, so the thickness should not be too thin. While a yoga mat is an aid for professional yoga practice with a greater emphasis on slip resistance and stability, meanwhile a mat is too thick for beginners to keep stable, so the thickness should not be too thick.

Although there are differences between the two, the fitness mat can be used as a yoga mat without a big problem. However, it is recommended to use a professional yoga mat to ensure the effectiveness and experience of yoga practice. It is essential to note that yoga mats should not be used as fitness mats, as some high-intensity movements may damage the mat and even cause sprains or falls.

Dimensions of choosing a yoga mat

2. Dimensions of choosing a yoga mat

A novice who don’t know much about yoga or just start to practice,and advanced players who have targeted to practice some kind of yoga,have slightly different priorities when choosing a mat.Next,we will provide you with professional advice on choosing a yoga mat from the following 8 dimensions. The first installment of this series of articles on choosing yoga will focus on materials.

Dimensions of choosing a yoga mats

Material

Of all the factors, the material is one of the most important considerations in choosing a yoga mat. As an item for long-term personal use, no harmful ingredients, environmental protection, durability, comfort and tactile feel are all criteria for evaluating the material. Mainstream yoga mats are generally available in EVA, PVC, TPE, natural rubber, cotton & linen, cork, and composite materials.

Tips: If you are allergic to latex, be careful to check whether the label indicates that it is latex-free.

1. EVA (Ethylene vinyl acetate)

EVA, a copolymer of ethylene vinyl acetate, is a chemical material with good chemical stability, ageing resistance, ozone resistance and poor non-slip effect. Generally, it is available for a dozen dollars. It is currently the cheapest yoga mat on the market.

PVC yoga mat
PVC yoga mat

2.PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride)

PVC is the material used in 80% of all yoga mats on the market today. PVC, polyvinyl chloride, is not soft and does not play the role of an anti-slip buffer before foaming. But after foaming, it becomes the main material for making yoga mats. PVC yoga mats are generally flexible, non-slip, cost-effective, durable and available for a few dozen dollars, so they are very popular in the market. PVC mats can be made in single or double colors separately on both sides, and we have developed foldable mats with customized patterns and logos.

Overview of pros and cons:

Pros: Low cost, good durability, affordableprice; latex-free, a good choice for people with latex allergies; poorly absorbent material, easy to clean.

Cons: Poorly absorbent material, good slip resistance in dry conditions, but poor slip resistance when sweating; not biodegradable or recyclable.

Example:

(1) The thickness of PVC yoga mats is usually around 4MM-10MM. Products produced by some manufacturershave relatively poor quality, such as poor flexibility, and poor rebound effect. Due to the material characteristics,PVC mats are usually heavy, the surface tends to stink easily after sweating and the bottom is not anti-slip and wear-resisting. Overall, it is not suitable for professional yoga practice, especially for those who are overweight.

(2) PVC yoga mats are not suitable for use in high-temperature environments and the product is easy to stick.

TPE yoga mat
TPE yoga mat

3.TPE(Thermal Plastic Elastomer)

TPE is generally known as thermal elastomer, the main characteristics are good toughness, good elasticity and good anti-slip effect, generally advanced yoga mats will use this material.Furthermore, this material is recyclable, reusable and will not cause environmental pollution when disposed of, making it an environmentally friendly material. Since the longperiod of contact between the body and the mat during yoga, it is important to use a non-toxic, odourless and eco-friendly mat from the view of health. This material is considered as an upgraded version of PVC, while the price is about 40-50% higher than PVC.

Compared with PVC yoga mats, TPE mats have thtr following insurmountable advantages:

1) Non-toxic, PVC-free, metal-free, no irritating smell.

2) Natural oxidative cracking, recyclable, avoiding environmental pollution.

3) Soft, ambidextrous, lays flat on the ground, the whole mat adheres to the ground and grips it.

4) Lightweight, weight generally around 800g-1000g depending on the thickness, easy to carry.

5) Waterproof and anti-slip,even if your hands and feet are sweaty, the anti-slip effect is still excellent.

6) Good elasticity and resilience, it will not harden after a long time.

Overview of pros and cons:

Pros: Good elasticity; good slip resistance both in wet and dry conditions; eco-friendly, some products can be fully recycled.

Cons: More expensive than PVC.

Note: The introduction of a full set of equipment from Taiwan and the relatively high scrap rate are the main reasons for the high price of the products. Some domestic manufacturers use low-quality TPE materials mixed with other recycled rubber materials, posing as pure TPE mats for sale at lower prices, while the actual production of yoga mats has worse quality in terms of service life, anti-slip effect and environmental performance.Be sure to choose one with a branded after-sales guarantee!

4. Natural Rubber

Rubber mats are made from natural rubber, and the rigorous production process results in long service life. It is the most durable and long-lasting material. On the other hand, the rubber mats have excellent slip resistance and grip, meanwhile, it is best for hot yoga classes. However, the anti-slip effect will be weakened after the water. Therefore, it is not suitable for people with sweaty hands or feet. Besides, the price is two to three times higher than TPE mats.

Overview of pros and cons:

Pros: Eco-friendly, durable, hot yoga applicable.

Cons: not suitable for sweating people, unpleasant smell (but safe and harmless).

Note: Now there are some composite materials to combine the advantages of rubber with other materials, which is mainly a solution to the problem that natural rubber becomes slippery when the user sweats. Composite materials are more suitable for professional yoga, but it is more expensive.

PU + RubberPU rubber yoga mat is generally a yoga mat with a polyurethane top and natural rubber base. It is not absorbent and breathable, which means it is not non-slip, but has good rebound and ultimate support. Also, it is resistant to dirt, and easy to clean.
Cork + RubberPU rubber yoga mat is generally a yoga mat with a polyurethane top and natural rubber base. It is not absorbent and breathable, which means it is not non-slip, but has good rebound and ultimate support. Also, it is resistant to dirt, and easy to clean.
Linen + RubberThe linen makes the yoga mat very non-slip, but it is also not resistant to dirt and needs to be scrubbed in time. The use of natural rubber gives it good resilience. It is also natural and eco-friendly.
Sude + RubberThe suede rubber mat is ideal for hot yoga as it is characterized by the sweatier the more grip, while in dry conditions non-slip performance is general. Of course, good-looking is also an important plus.

Overview of Pros and Cons of different materials.

Material EVA PVC NBR Rubber TPE Composite material Composite material Composite material Composite material
Proper noun Ethyl vinyl acetate Polyvinyl Chloride Nitrile-butadiene rubber Nature Rubber Thermo Plastic Elastomer Cork+TPE Cork+Rubber Suede +TPE Suede+ Rubber
Pros Lightweight,cheap, waterproof and oil-proof, environmentally friendly Good grip, easy to clean,cheap, more widely used, durable,good cushioning effect Easy to clean, non-slip on one side, good elasticity,high-density cushion, cheap Good elasticity, antibacterial, non-slip,durable,with asmooth surface Soft,good elasticity, easy to fold, easy to clean, good value for money, can be made in a variety of designs Eco-friendly and non-toxic, cost-effective, non-slip,ultra-absorbent Eco-friendly and non-toxic, non-slip,good elasticity, good water and sweat absorption Eco-friendly, non-toxic, ultra-absorbent suede top, the surface patterns can bepersonalized EEco-friendly, non-toxic,ultra-absorbent suede top, surface pattern can bepersonalized, foldable andportable
Cons Poor elasticity,offensive odour, poor anti-slip performance Not Eco-friendly,offensive odour, poor slip resistance in wet conditions Slow to degrade,unsuitable for body balance, not portable and bulky Expensive, not portable,rubber allergy Short service life compared to PVC Not easy to clean, surface grows bacteria easily Not easy to clean, surface grows bacteria easily, expensive Not easy to clean, surface grows bacteria easily Not easy to clean, surface grows bacteria easily, expensive
Suggestion Suitable for users whopractice yoga witha lot of sitting and lyingmovements Suitable for most beginners and practitioners, can be used as a folding mat for easy portability Not recommended as a yoga mat, suitable for Pilates practice Not recommended for people with rubber allergies, suitable foradvanced yoga practitioners Recommended to choose a supplier with quality assurance Recommended for yoga practitioners withextremelyhigh-quality requirements Recommended for professionals andyoga studios, especially foryoga practitioners withextremelyhigh-quality requirements Recommended for professionals andyoga studios, especially foryoga practitioners withextremelyhigh-quality requirements Recommended for professionals andyoga studios, especially foryoga practitioners withextremelyhigh-quality requirements

The other dimensions will be covered in the next installment. 

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