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Should I Use a Thick Yoga Mat?
By William Dimmler
Is a thick mat for you? Answer some basic questions to see what type of mat, thick or thin is best for the way you practice yoga. First some facts. Yoga mats come in different sizes and thickness. The average mat is 24 inches across and between 65 and 72 inches long. All mats also come in two basic thicknesses.
The typical mat is 1/8 of an inch thick. Thick mats, which are sometimes called double thick mats are typically 1/4 of an inch thick.Now that we got those boring facts out of the way, let's help you choose the right mat for you! First ask yourself some basic questions. Where are you practicing the yoga training - home, gym, outside or anywhere else you will have to travel to.
What type of yoga will you be doing? What type of surface will you be practicing on? Do your joints or hand and feet get uncomfortable on a regular mat?
First question - Where do you plan to practice? This question is important because a thick mat can be more bulky than a typical one. In fact the roll will be twice as thick. They are fine if you are staying home but can be somewhat of an inconvenience if you are traveling a lot with it.
Second question - Do you knees or hand and feet hurt on a regular mat? If they do a thick yoga mat might be the right choice for you. Thick yoga mats offer more cushioning and support for your body parts that are coming into contact with the mat. Many people find the extra softness of a thick yoga mat more comfortable.Third question - What type of yoga will you be doing?
There are many types of yogic exercise and they all of different requirements. For this article we'll just keep to the basics. Astranga yoga, which is practiced at most gyms - involves a lot of positioning changes. If while doing yoga you find yourself changing positions a lot or doing any other type of vigorous yoga - a double thick mat might be right for you. The extra cushioning of these mats will help cushion your body parts.If you are older or your hand and knees start to hurt on the mat then a thicker mat might also be a good choice for you. The extra 1/8 of an inch might not seem like a lot but if offer twice the thickness of regular mat.Lastly if you can try out different mats before you buy one, it will make choosing the right one easier. Even though the thicker mats might feel gentler on you body they are not as stable as the thinner mats. Because thin mats are so thin, they tend to be a little bit more stable.
With these questions answered I hope you are much more comfortable the next time you practice.
Bill Dimmler has been practicing for may years. Besides yoga he is also interested in triathlons, cycling, scuba diving and skiing. During the days he manages an IT department and is a self confessed computer geek.
Easy Tips to Keep Your Yoga Mat As Clean As a Whistle
By SJP Babrevian
Cleaning your yoga mat is quite simple, but there are certain things that should be kept in mind if you want to get the best life from your mat. The most obvious thing is to read the manufacturer's instructions very carefully. This is of course common sense for any item of clothing since different materials require different approaches. The problem for some is that they lost the original washing instructions. The best course of action is to make use of non-abrasive cleaning methods.
Washing your mat is very important. Hygiene is always a big concern and dirty mats give bacteria chance to grow. Furthermore, never share your mat. Sharing your mat with a sweating partner can result in an unwanted fungal or bacterial infection. Using your mat on the floor, or outdoors cause it to become dirty. Also, some yoga training sessions can lead to excessive sweating, which are absorbed by some mats. Most people simply wash their mats themselves and hang them in the sun to dry. Others prefer to send their mats to the dry cleaner. Most sticky mats are made of rubber and therefore, quite easy to clean. If it is slightly soiled, simply use a spray bottle and lightly damp your mat. Use a simple soapy solution of three cups of lukewarm water and four drops of dishwashing liquid.
Wipe the mat and let it dry thoroughly. For tougher stains, simply wash them with soapy water and a soft brush, similar to washing your car mats. Sometimes it may be necessary to soak the mat in a solution of warm water and mild soap. Just be careful. Do not use too much soap, since it can cause problems. Even if you thoroughly dry your yoga mat, using too much soap can cause an invisible residue that makes the yoga mat extremely slippery when you start perspiring. Rinse the mat well to remove soap and hang in the sun to dry. You can also roll your mat in a large towel and leave overnight before hanging to wind dry.
Some people claim that the following can be used instead of soap to clean your mat: (1) mixing 2 cups of water and a teaspoon of baking soda, (2) hydrogen peroxide, (3) a few drops of tea tree oil with water and my favorite (4) a 1/2 teaspoon of Dr. Bronner's Peppermint soap in a bowl of water. It smells great.
Throwing it into the washing machine, or wash it by hand can easily clean Cotton mats. When using a washing machine, remember to remove it before the spins cycle since this can damage the shape of certain mats. Furthermore, do not tumble-dry your cotton mats, since the heat can damage the fibers. Rather let it dry out naturally in the sun or wind. Prevention is always better than cure. Carry a handy spray bottle and some wipes with you to class. A very effective all-natural mat cleaning spray can easily be made yourself. Add three drops of tea tree oil, two drops of peppermint oil, and two drops of lavender oil and mix it thoroughly with water in a spray bottle. After each workout, quickly spray your mat and wipe it down. Avoid using any wipes that are alcohol based it is best to choose natural wipes.
Sometimes, no matter how well you look after your yoga mat, cleaning it is no longer feasible. It would simply be better to throw it out and buy yourself a new mat. These quick cleanings will decrease the need for heavy cleanings dramatically. Always consider the condition of your mats carefully. At times it may be best to discard your mat and rather buy a new one.
With these tips, you can however make the best of your yoga mat and keep it in pristine condition for many months to come.
SJP Babrevian has been writing online articles for more than 3 years.
April 27, 2015
April 27, 2015
Are You Shopping for Yoga Mats?
By Carla Y. Faulkner
Joe absolutely loved his time in the yoga studio, but he hated thinking about how dirty those communal yoga mats were. Many of his friends in his yoga class brought their own yoga equipment with them to each class, and Joe loved that they all had a clean, unique area where they could do their yoga poses during class. After spending an hour-long class on a particularly dirty mat, Joe decided he would take the plunge and make the investment into his own yoga equipment.
Joe started his search for yoga mats at the most convenient place, which was his local sporting goods store. While these options were affordable, they were limited and he noticed that they were the same equipment options that many other people in his studio used when they performed their yoga positions. Joe wanted to find something unique that would fit his personality. Are you wondering where else you can shop for yoga mats?
Here's what you need to know:
- Many yoga studios have a small shop on-site, and you can find many unique equipment options here. If your own studio doesn't carry equipment, check another one in your area.
- In larger towns, you may be able to find some specialty stores that focus on yoga equipment. Often the equipment you will find in such specialty shops is more expensive, but the selection is more unique than what you will find in sporting goods stores.
- You can also browse the wide selection available online. The various websites that sell yoga equipment offer every price point, color, and style that you can imagine. Often shopping online is the best way to find just what you are looking for at the right price for you.
If you are shopping for yoga mats, it only makes sense that you want to find a special piece of equipment that is best suited for you. When you take your own equipment with you to your yoga class, you will love knowing that you are doing your poses on a clean mat and that your mat is perfectly suited to your own unique style. There are many different places you can shop for your yoga equipment, so it's easy to find the right one for you.
There really is no reason to keep working out on dirty, communal yoga mats at your gym or yoga studio, because it is affordable, easy and sanitary to bring your own equipment with you. Take some time to explore the many options available to you and find the right equipment suited for you.
Why Use A Premium Yoga Mat For Your Practice
By I Inbar
When entering a yoga position, your body has a unique opportunity to let go, while staying fully alert and in a high state of consciousness. This is when Yoga truing is best. The alternative is injury. When you attempt to go into an asana without the right intensity and will, and without the concentration it takes to do it, you will get hurt. If you try and go into a position without the knowledge of the way the body should move, you will hurt yourself. At times, you will feel it right away, by recognizing an intense pain in one or more parts of the body. In other times, you will not even recognize the pain. While you are trying to get into the right form, you might be ignoring the alarm bells your body rings in full volume. This is the most common mistake, and it is done by most of the practitioners in the first years. This is the main reason of back and knee injuries, the type it takes a long time to create and longer to heal.
When doing a wrong yoga posture, you may notice an intense burning sensation, or a feeling that resembles a knife cutting your muscle. This shouldn't happen, yet it is very common. It is the alarm the body sounds when you are tearing muscle or tendon tissue while entering a pose in the wrong way. While this is not too good, it is still better than hurting yourself slowly and without pain, injuries that are in areas of the body that are not that sensible. While hurting a muscle tissue is noticed right away, it is also relatively easy to fix, simply by going to a few sessions of physiotherapy. Sometimes, these type of injuries can be treated simply by adjusting your body to the right way in your posture, and keeping the regular routine. The other type of injuries, which is unfelt in the beginning, is not as easy to fix.
The type of injury you get from chronically practicing the wrong way is usually not muscle oriented, but touches another aspect of our body. Our joints are made out of a mixture of tissues. Muscle, tendons, bones, blood vessels, are only a few of the parts that constructs our joints. These complex parts of the body have cartilage in them. The knee has the meniscus, while the back has the discs to hold the bones and keep them from hitting each other. These parts of the body are very important, yet they carry no nerves. Hurting them is harder than hurting muscles on a daily routine, yet while taking our body into intense asanas, it becomes easy. By stretching our body on the mat, we open areas in the body that are usually not open at all. Getting these areas to open, and them move into a posture on top of that is very dangerous if done wrong, as it exposes those specific hard to heal areas to injuries.
To make sure we are not hurting ourselves we need a combination of things. One of them is knowledge that comes with patience, will, and the right teacher. It is very important to take the time to read and ask about the postures you do. Know the right way they are done, how to get into and out of them. Another aspect of the safe practice in yoga training is using a premium mat. Using high quality equipment in the yoga studio is as important as using it in the gym or on the road or at home. Using the wrong type of gear can create an invitation for injury. In practice it is even more important as getting your skills takes time, but we depend on ourselves. Driving a car is easy to learn, yet you never know who is driving the car next to yours, and they could cause an accident. You need a high quality safe car to keep you safe. In yoga you are not likely to get hit by your fellow yogi that practices next to you, but each part of your body is a different car on the road of your body, a road that starts in your mind and ends up in the studio (where a new road begins).
Safe practice, with intention and high levels of concentration and knowledge are the basic needs for a yogi. Using the right equipment for the job will give your mind the freedom it needs, as it takes away the concentration from worrying and into the practice.
I practice Kung Fu and Yoga, and I am a certified Chinese doctor, massage therapist and a GYM instructor. My knowledge comes from studying, practicing, and my passion. I have seen many people hurt themselves just because they were not guided properly. I write here in order to share my knowledge and hope it helps.
The Gaiam Yoga Mat
By Jeff Lander
Yoga is an exercise that almost everyone should take up sometime or another. Yogic exercise will build your strength and flexibility if you decide to do it on a regular basis. Another fantastic aspect is the inner peace it will bring to your mind. To get the very best exercise you need a proper yoga mat. One of the best ones on the market is the Gaiam yoga mat.
They come in a variety of shapes, colors and thicknesses. To purchase the one that is right for you, it is best to think about your body type, along with how intense your yoga workouts are going to be. A mat that is at least 4-millimeters thick is usually the standard for most enthusiasts. However if you are a very thin person - or someone who is more on the fragile side, then it is ideal to look into thicker ones.
A Hot Little Yoga Mat
By Charlise Cadeau
A Bikram Yoga Mat or a variation of is a must if you are into Bikram yoga or hot yoga of any type. The end result of hot yoga of any kind is a whole lot of perspiration. Did I mention that the perspiration is all over the place? So a regular mat, in these situations, likely will not do unless you don't mind slip sliding around? What needs to be in place is something that will give you traction mixed in with absorption. Enter Bikram yoga mat and Bikram yoga towel.
There are three main options available to solve the dilemma of the sweat and traction together in one. They range from super simple and cheap to just buying a tool exactly for the job, which is a great way to solve things.
Option 1 - use a towel with your regular yoga mat. Well you probably didn't need to read this to know that, but really a towel will work. It will keep all the sweat under control, but when it comes to traction just be careful cause the towel does not give you the traction you need for postures. So you can't practice on it you can just use it alongside your yoga mat.
Option 2 - use a proper Bikram yoga mat towel. These nifty little things are much thinner. They look like micro fiber and they start around $20 and up. You lay it over your mat and voila you can practice on it as well as use it to wick the moistness away.
Option 3 - this is also obvious but some people don't know about it, and that is to buy a mat specifically for Bikram Yoga. These mats are sticky on the bottom and soft yet absorbing on the top! Well now this sounds like what we are looking for! It is the only thing is that they can be hard to come by.
Bikram Yoga mats, although hard to come by are the best option available if you are strictly doing this style of yoga. They are specific to managing sweat and traction in one. They have 3 main qualities to them, not to different from regular yoga but slightly varied. The bottom is sticky so the mat stays put, the main part of the mat is designed for cushioning and then the top layer is most definitely for sweat absorption. These full meal deals can often be washed in the machine and put in the dryer, which is really easy maintenance compared to other yoga mats out there. Pricing you can expect to pay $60 and up for a Bikram yoga mat. Shop around and online is really the best place to start.
There are a few other choices that exist to cover your Bikram yoga needs. There are cotton yoga rugs that are apparently quite good in these types of conditions. And their history substantiates this too given they have been used longer then anything else on the market, and in places like India and abroad. The cotton yoga mats are woven. They give good cushioning combined with good traction. Once there is a bit of moisture your hands and feet will adhere really well. The other mat that may work well for you is the Lululemon Hot Yogi Mat. This mat, although not specific to Bikram yoga, would work well. It is priced really well at $35 for all the great qualities that it has to offer.
The perfect mat for you is out there. You will be well served by looking online and speaking with other Bikram yoga students to get some additional input on what works best for them. There are a plethora of options to choose from so if you hit any roadblocks it may be from having to many choices at hand. In the end all that matters is that you find something you are happy with that will work well for you.
Charlise Cadeau is a free lance writer, yoga instructor and world traveler.
April 27, 2015
Best Yoga Mats of All Time
By Konstantin Tsiryulnikov
It's not easy to find the best yoga mats and stay unbiased. I run a blog about yoga accessories and after about a year I noticed that the same mats remain on the bestseller list. Amazon's customer reviews confirmed that people are very happy about these products and no one is really complaining. I also noted that some people were always unhappy about using their mats in Bikram or Hot yoga classes. I'm quite confident that no mat will be able to absorb as much sweat as an average American excretes during a typical hot yoga practice, so I ignored that bad feedback.
Based on my personal experience, user feedback, friends and yoga teachers suggestions, and after reading a lot on the internet I selected the absolute best mats that are guaranteed to please pretty much anyone.
Number 1. The Manduka BlackMat Pro.
This is the heavyweight champion of the industry. Manduka mats are carefully designed and perfected by a team of very dedicated people. This company started by gathering feedback from top yoga teacher training centers and giving them free samples to test out. After a decade in the business, this is the... Bentley of the yoga mat world. These mats are heavy, thick and very luxurious. You will never slip, slide or trip on your Manduka mat. These babies are designed for heavy duty and with moderate use will last you many years. The only problem is the cost, but you can't really expect this type of quality for less than $100.
Number 2. The prAna Revolution.
This is also a pretty expensive mat, but it's definitely worth it. The Revolution is made of three layers of natural biodegradable rubber and dual scrim construction. The rubber layers are heat laminated without any glue. Not only are these mats completely eco-friendly, but also highly durable and very attractive. If the Manduka mat is too much with all it's black glory, this mat is lighter, more durable and features colors other than black.
Number 3. The Jade Harmony Professional.
This is indeed a professional-grade yoga mat that is priced significantly lowered that the previous choices. The reason is more porous material, that on one hand is less durable, but on the other - more absorbent and considerably lighter. Jade mats come in a variety of attractive colors and are also completely biodegradable. My personal choice.
Please visit my blog for reviews of other great yoga mats and accessories.
I am the editor of Yoga Mat Reviews - a comprehensive resource for unbiased reviews and ratings of the best yoga mats, towels and accessories.
April 27, 2015
There are many different things you can do to relax in life. There are also plenty of different exercises that can be done daily in order to stay in better shape. But, what if you could do both of these at the same time? The truth is you can. Ever heard of asana. This is a way to exercise, stretch out your body, and help your mind and muscles relax. Now this is something everyone could benefit from. After all, who doesn't need to relax a little more? Regardless of what you know about asana, this is a wonderful practice that can be very beneficial to your body and overall health.
It all begins with yogic exercise mats. This is something you may find handy and helpful when you practice yoga training. As you may already know, asanas are done on the floor, and they typically involve a great deal of kneeling and laying down. Since the ground and floor are often pretty rigid and hard, yogic exercise mats provide a little bit of cushion so that you can stretch out those muscles in comfort. While many people simply use yogic exercise mats indoors, others choose to use these nifty mats on their back patio, or possible on the grass in their backyard. You can even use them on a dock or other stable surface.
It is certainly to difficult to find yogic exercise mats. After all, they are sold in various specialty shops, athletic stores, and super centers all across the United States. You can also find these cushioned mats online, and they come in various colors and sizes. Typically they can be rolled up and toted around. They are lightweight and easy to store in small spaces. Many practitioners purchase their own exercise mats for weekly classes. This way they can simply take the mat to the class, and get down to business. You do not have to worry about anyone's sweat or germs this way.
Many people really do not know a lot about the art of yogic exercise. It is important to understand that this relaxing activity is done by many men and women all over the world for different reasons. First of all, many people get involved with yoga in order to relieve stress. It is a wonderful way to take some of the tension off of your mind and body. This will hep relax your muscles and joints. With the right instruction and the right yogic exercise mats, you can really stretch out your muscles as well. This is great for circulation and overall health. Yoga training also helps with calorie burning.
January 2, 2011
For Christmas this year I got the coolest, most innovative mat I have ever seen.
What makes this mat great? Well, I really like the size of the mat, the padding it has while being light at the same time. It is made from 100% recyclable material, which is big for eco-friendly people like myself. But, what makes this mat unique is what is printed on its surface. Thirty diagrams of poses and stretches are right there. This is perfect for busy people who may not be able to make it to class.
Thanks to my uncle for this one!
April 27, 2015
Ways to Recycle a Yoga Mat
Every yoga teacher or student will eventually wear out a mat. According to Shape magazine, a mat lasts between one and seven years. If you find that your hands and feet are slipping, the mat is no longer cushioned enough to be comfortable, or a foul smell persists even after being wiped down, it is time to find a new mat. But what should you do with your old mat?
Rather than throwing your mat into the trash to finish its journey in a landfill, consider recycling it. Recycling your mat involves two choices: use a recycling program already in place, or DIY a creative solution to give new life to your old companion. Whichever you choose, you'll need to clean the mat; use gentle, non-toxic and non-astringent hand soap and air dry the mat completely.
If you choose to donate your used mat, there are several programs available:
Jade Studio offers drop-off locations for used mats in 17 states and internationally. See if your state is one of them: If the mat still has life in it, it can be reused by prison or school programs. Mats unsuitable for reuse may be incorporated into new mats or building materials.
Recycle Your Mat, a program in Portland, Oregon, accepts drop off donations as well as mats mailed in. Studios interested in becoming a drop off location for mat recycling can sign up on the website.
Any Boys and Girls Club or other not-for-profit organization promoting exercise and an active life would be glad to receive a donation of a gently used mat, if you would like to reduce the carbon impact of mailing in a mat.
Worn mats are great for home projects, as well. Consider using pieces of mat to wrap breakables during a move, or put them under chair or table legs to prevent slipping and scuffing. Kept in the trunk of a car, a used Yoga mat is great to kneel on when changing a tire, or to sit on at the park or beach. To remind you to take time away from the computer, a piece of Yoga mat makes an excellent mouse pad.
When you buy your next mat, start ahead of the game and be sure to get one made from recycled materials as well. With some planning, we can all reduce our impact on the environment as we enjoy our practice.
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