The best way to get a good quality yoga mat and other accessories is shopping with a well-known brand that specializes in yoga mats, props and other supplies. Because their reputation in the yoga world hinges on every single product they sell, each product is consumer tested to the highest standards. A high quality yoga mat will also be free from phthalates (that terrible smell that off-gasses from cheap yoga mats) and won’t slip when you get sweaty.
Where Can I Buy the Best Yoga Mat and Accessories?
I highly recommend Manduka (which means frog in Hindi) and Gaiam. Both of these companies have been around for quite a while, cater to yoga folks and have a wide selection of eco-friendly mats. Both websites have customer ratings and reviews for each yoga mat so you can decide which one will best meet your needs. Gaiam has an excellent yoga mat guide covering any question you might have.
How Thick Should A Yoga Mat Be?
The thickness of a yoga mat is measured in millimeters and probably the most important criteria. Mats range from 1 to 8 millimeters thick with 3 millimeters being the standard measurement. Thickness is a trade-off between weight and comfort. I travel around the world a lot and strap my travel mat (1 – 1 ½ mm) to my backpack, so weight is important to me. Some people have sensitive knees and a travel mat would never work for them. The thicker the mat, the harder it is to perform balance poses. If you’re mainly doing meditation, such as Yoga Nidra, thick mats are wonderful.
What is a Good Length for a Yoga Mat?
Travel mats are a bit shorter, regular mats are standard and extra long mats are always clearly described as such in their descriptions. The length of your yoga mat depends on a few factors. You might need an extra long yoga mat if: 1) your feet hang off the mat during Corpse Pose — Shavasana and 2) while doing yoga you find yourself running out of room as you go from pose to pose. Remember, extra length means extra weight.
The Convenience of Yoga Towels
Yoga towels are awesome and lay over the full length of the yoga mat. Instead of buying your own mat and carrying it around, you can do yoga on the mat at the studio and place your towel over it to make it your own. I love to place the yoga towel over my travel mat to make it more comfortable.