Yoga mats have been around for decades, with the first modern yoga mat being developed in the 1960’s. In the last decade the popularity of yoga mats has grown across Europe. As more people around Europe have become aware of the benefits of yoga and exercise, the yoga mat is now becoming an essential part of any workout.
Choosing the right yoga mat can be a hard task with so many different options on the market. We have put together this guide to answer all of the most commonly asked questions when buying a yoga mat.
What are the benefits of yoga?
John Hopkins medicine have outlined 9 benefits of yoga. The benefits of yoga range from helping with chronic conditions, mental health and if you are recovering from surgery.
The nine benefits of yoga are:
- Improves strength, balance and flexibility
- Helps with back pain relief
- Ease arthritis symptoms.
- Benefits heart health.
- Relaxes you, to help you sleep better.
- More energy and brighter moods.
- Helps you manage stress.
- Connects you with a good community
- Promotes better self-care.
Is there a difference between a yoga mat and an exercise mat?
The biggest difference between a yoga mat and an exercise mat is the thickness of the mat, yoga mats will tend to be thinner than exercise mats.
Exercise mats are often thicker mats, 6mm, and will provide greater cushion and support when you are using the mat for working out or practicing yoga. Exercise mats will also help to prevent you from straining your muscles or your back during workouts. Having a thicker mat for yoga practice will be more comfortable for yoga poses which use your forearms or require kneeling.
Exercise mats are the perfect choice if you are working with weights at home as they will prevent you from causing damage to your floor. If you are looking for a mat to use for both working out and yoga choosing a thicker exercise mat will be your ideal choice.
Yoga mats are a thin form of exercise mat, as the cushion in the exercise mat will help to prevent fatigue on joints and bones. Yoga mats are generally thinner as you will feel a greater connection to the ground. It is key that your yoga mat is non-slip as stability is key for all yoga enthusiasts around the world.
What thickness is best for a yoga mat?
Yoga mats come in various weights and thickness. The thicker your yoga mat the more cushioned support you will get from the mat.
A thin yoga mat, 1.57 mm , is ideal if you are practicing your balance postures as you will have a greater connection to the floor. It is important to be aware of how thin the mat is to avoid causing injury to you when the mat.
Yoga mats which are 6 mm thick are considered to be the thickest yoga mats, this type of mat is ideal if you are using the mat for core exercise or exercises that will require more support and cushion when working out. A thicker yoga mat is ideal if you like to work out outdoors as it will provide more stability on uneven surfaces.
Which side of a yoga mat is up?
If you have recently bought a non-reversible yoga mat and are unsure which side should be facing up, there are a couple of ways to know which side of your yoga mat should be facing “up”.
- Side with logo
If your mat has a logo or a label, this is an indication for which side of the mat should be facing up. The logo on your yoga mat should always be facing up.
- Shinier surface side
Some yoga mats may come with one side that is shinier than the other. The shinier side is the side which should face up when practicing yoga. The shinier side will have more grip for when practicing yoga.
- Side with nubs
If your yoga mat has nubs on one side, these are small designs to help hold you in place when practicing your yoga poses or exercising with your mat, this is the side which should be facing up. If both sides of your mat have nubs, one side of the mat should have more pronounced nubs which should be facing up.
How do you clean a yoga mat?
Cleaning your yoga mat will depend on how often you use your yoga mat. If you are using your yoga mat for intense workouts it is recommend that you wash your yoga mat at least once a week. As your yoga mat will absorb your sweat when working out, it is essential to keep your mat clean. Be sure to not over clean your mat as this will lead to your yoga mat to wearing out quicker.
To wash your yoga mat you can create a solution of equal parts cold water and dish soap. Add this solution to a spray bottle and then spray this solution onto your mat. Wipe your mat clean with a soft cloth. Leave your yoga mat to air dry after you have cleaned it, you can hang it out on the clothes line outside or hang it over a shower railing before rolling it back up.
Every so often you will need to give your yoga mat a deep clean and disinfect it. You can make a simple at home organic disinfectant using three ingredients you may have at home. Mix equal quantities of water and white vinegar, with an added splash of tea tree oil. Tea tree oil has a number of compounds which have been shown to kill off bacteria and fungi. This will create the perfect disinfectant to kill any bacteria and fungi that may be lingering on your mat. You can also add this disinfectant to a spray bottle to easily spray onto your mat.
Can I put my yoga mat in the washing machine?
Whether or not you can put your yoga mat in the washing machine will depend on the type of mat you have. To avoid the risk of your mat losing shape it is better to hand wash your mat and leave it to air dry. Putting your yoga mat in the washing machine will not only damage your mat but it can also cause damage to your washing machine.
Do not put your yoga mat into the clothes dryer, your mat will warp and change shape in the dryer leaving it unsuitable to use after.
Be sure to check out our Fizfit yoga mat, it is the perfect mat to practice yoga and for exercising.