Doing different types of yoga I have found out that I need different mats. I had only one mat for a long time, but through the last year my business and my mat collection has expanded - and I use them all! ... and my first mat has now gone to the Eternal Mat Heaven, used and abused by my cat!
How do I find them, the mats, in this big world of opportunities?
Well - here is a couple of options;
1. Listen to your friends, borrow, try and feel mats that your friends or your fitness center have.
2. Internet! You can go on the bigger websites where they sell yoga stuff, get a newbie kit for almost no money and work from there!
3. Take some time online and see if you can find smaller, more obscure sellers to support and buy from. Chances are that they are even more passionate about what they do than the bigger, corporate businesses are where the risk is that it's a source of income. I like this approach as I like to support smaller businesses. A plus is also that you can access a variety of different, interesting types of materials as this world of yoga mats is ever evolving!
Here I have shared my thoughts and experiences;
The picture at the top of this blog is from my chair yoga class. My client is a beautiful, wise and elderly woman with slight tremor who is concerned about falling. I use this mat because it looks beautiful! The mat is made for hot yoga as it has got a towel-like surface and can soak liquids if needed.
FInd it here:
Microfiber Suede Rubber Printing Mat 183*66*0.15cm
On top of that it's beautiful to look at and the therpy or class becomes easier and nicer to come to... you see, yoga doesn't just happen on the mat, it's also very much a "feeling".
This mat has got the same measurement as a normal yoga mat, also thin, so you've got an extremely nice grounding feel if you use it for a normal class. I find it perfect to place a chair on and be sure that it doesn't slide away. The bottom layer is also "normal mat" and that means it rolls up easily, but still have the heaviness I like!
One issue I have with it is that my hands and feet can slip away in poses on hands and feet - I need mats with some surface structure in to feel safe.
The mats here have got a really nice grip surface that means I feel safe! The specific pattern grips the inside og my hand, and I have rarely felt so safe as on these. I can actually feel my hands sink into the mat and it means I am not worried about the safety, and I can concentrate on the rest of the body.
The mats are different;
Green mat: normal lenght, thin mat.
I've got a nice feel of the earth through the mat and I feel safe in downward dog. And again, I underline the grip - it's amazing!
Blue mat: normal lenght, thicker mat.
Feels good if you've got difficulties sitting down or problems with knees or wrists. It's nice to use in yin yoga, the slower form of yoga where you stay in poses for longer periods of time. It's also very good for meditation as you can fold it up and make it even thicker and create a higher point of sitting.
Find it here:
TPE Single Layer Yoga Mat, 183*80*0.8cm
In yoga you tend to dive in deeper and deeper, going into details of poses or how to place yourself in it. An example is Warrior 2. Here is a really helpful guide to the pose;
As you can see, there's a lot of things to be aware of, and the longer you do asanas you tend to go into the detail of how your precise pose is on the mat! It helps me to see how much difference there is between sides and also where the potentials in the poses are.
For a little while I have been looking for an alignment mat, but I hadn't found one - I have felt like the princess rejecting all the suitors, there was some little thing wrong with every single one of them.
BUT! then I found this one at sanfanyoga.com and I fell in love! It is beautiful and as it says really non-slip!!
Find it here:
PU Rubber yoga mat with body alignment 183*68*0.45cm
The alignment part of it is nice and artistic, like flowers, the feel of the mat is thick, sticky and heavy - and the colour is clear and bright.
It is my new favorite mat for my classes. I don't travel with it as it is quite heavy and the dimensions of it is bigger than a normal sized one and is difficult to board a plane with! So - I've had to buy a travel mat, too (DANG!) as I plan to go to do yoga next summer riding on my motorbike and then I will need to cut where I can and use a lighter travel mat!
This mat I use for travel! It does not only roll up easily, but also folds into a square and is easy to pack when I'm on my bike. It actually fits into my backpack!! Brilliant! When you use it you can put under a towel or do the yoga on a carpet and it will add to the thickness. The only thing you can't have with this mat is grip - broader stance asanas are difficult because you slip a bit. As you take away from the thickness you also remove stability. That means you focus on other asanas than warrior and deep forward bends! Maybe I add to the problem being heavy too, I don't know!
Find it here:
Rubber Foldable Yoga Mat 183*61*0.2cm
Small tricks for your everyday practice
Pains in knees and wrists - in tabletop or downward dog or other poses where you put a great deal of weight and stress on your hands - fold your mat in under your wrists and knees, it will make it stressful and you'll feel better.
Difficulties in sitting poses? Don't worry, all poses can be adapted! Make sure you feel good in your poses, feeling both your sitting bones equally. Or fold in your mat, sit on it and then slide slightly forward until your pelvic area tips a bit forward to create tension in your muscles in your entire upper body, and again feel your the sitting bones equally!
NEVER compare your own body to others! You are unique, and your body is doing the work in its own tempo!
You can make your own mat cleaner;
2/3 destilled water
a few drops of essential oils of your choosing (peppermint, teatree, lavendar
Make a small batch - shake it well before using it! Do not use it on a mat with suede surface before checking it can actually take it! Spray some on the mat, wipe it over with a damp cloth and wait 5 minutes and wipe it over with a clean cloth!
Can you actually have too much yoga realted stuff....? yes, you can! You can get caught up in the newest gadget, thngy or something else you reallyreallyREALLY need..... but you can get too much!
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