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best yoga mat


Where to buy a Yoga Mat?

How to select the right yoga mat?

What is the importance of a Yoga Mat?

Who Invented Yoga Mat?

If you search for answers to questions like these, you have come to the right place, and here is the detailed guide.

If you’ve recently started practicing yoga, you would certainly like to get everything right from day one. Whether it’s the yoga teacher, the studio or venue where classes are held, or wearing the right apparel, timing of food and drinks, and what your personal goals are, you know that you can get the best possible results by keeping these aspects in mind. 

Another important accessory or aid to ensuring the right practice is the humble yoga mat. Today yoga is practiced mainly indoors, on smooth stone, tile, or laminated wooden flooring. There are chances of slipping or injuring yourself, and your yoga mat offers safety and protection. 

Today there are several great options available, and you can select the best yoga mat to align with your unique needs, preferences, and budget. 

What Mats Did The Ancients Use?

Yoga originated in ancient India around 5000 years ago, according to some historians. It was practiced mainly in Northern India and has been continuously refined and modified even in the present day. There are several important branches of yoga, and many schools of yoga have arisen based on these. It has gained international fame and is today known more for its health and fitness benefits rather than its deeply philosophical and spiritual components. 

Ancient Indian texts and sculptures depict the practice of yoga and it is interesting to note the details provided in them. Most of the sculptures portray yogis in the seated position, on animal hides such as deerskin or tiger pelt. Meditation was said to be practiced on hard ground, flat rocks, or on a grassy patch. In time, when asanas began to evolve, there was a need to protect the body from injury and provide a firmer grip on the ground for more stability. Pieces of homespun cloth were also used. From this time, there arose a belief that if yoga was practiced directly on the ground, the earth would leach out your energy, so it was important to place a barrier between the ground and the yogi. 

Folded cloth gave way to thicker rugs as weaving evolved. The practice of asanas became more deeply entrenched in yoga, and it was becoming difficult to practice standing poses on cloth rugs that slipped. Some time in the 1950s and 60s, when hippie culture swept the Western world, young men and women who traveled to India learned the art and took it back home with them. Again, the problem was about maintaining the posture safely and correctly. An early version of the modern yoga mat evolved when a young English teacher who taught yoga in Germany discovered that she could use a carpet underlay under her cotton yoga rug. This was taken up by her father who imported German carpet underlay and went into wholesale manufacture of “sticky mats” 

Modern mats are made from a variety of materials including PVC, rubber, latex, cork, jute, hessian, thermoplastic elastomer, hemp, cotton, and other materials. Some of them have linings made of cotton, wool, or polyester. The focus today is on environmental consciousness and biodegradable materials that will provide safety and stability to yogis and help them practice optimally. 

How To Select The Right Yoga Mat

If you practice in a yoga studio or gym, it’s possible that they provide yoga mats but most people dislike using these for reasons of hygiene. Having your own yoga mat means that you’re the only person who uses it, and you can have it washed regularly to maintain cleanliness. 

Today, yoga mats are available in almost every supermarket or online retailer. The important aspect to consider is whether the quality is good, and it falls within your budget. A few boxes to tick are:

  • Strength
  • Weight
  • Thickness
  • Durability
  • Non-toxic and biodegradable material
  • Price


It’s important to choose a yoga mat based on the school/type of yoga you practice. Freshers can afford to opt for a slightly lesser quality, provided it offers safety and stability. If you practice power yoga or flow yoga, you will need a mat that gives more traction, while followers of yin yoga need a soft and comfortable surface. Here price would play a role, as you need a superior quality mat if you’re an experienced yogi, while a newbie can opt for a budget product and upgrade when the skill levels go up. 


If you have to travel to a yoga class, get yourself a lightweight mat with a convenient cover with a strap. For home-based yoga practice, a heavier and thicker mat will suffice, especially if your floor is smooth and slippery. If you’re planning to attend a yoga camp, check whether it will be held indoors or outdoors. Some mats tend to get easily stained by mud and cleaning them can be a challenge. 


Avoid PVC mats altogether as recent studies show that they contain carcinogenic material. They also give off a chemical odor and though they’re touted as being washable, they tend to stain and retain scuff marks. Natural rubber, thick cotton, or jute are a better option. 


Ideally, you should change your yoga mat once every year and the best ones tend to last quite long, so you can stretch them for a while longer. Avoid cheaper materials that flake or crumble, as these materials are usually toxic and chemical-based. Check if you’re allergic to some of these plastics and man-made materials. You could develop a rash, or breathing problems from chemicals and phthalates used in their manufacture. 

Sweat and Cleaning

If you sweat a lot during yoga, choose a natural material that is easy to clean and doesn’t retain bad smells. Some mats gather dirt on their undersurface, making it difficult to clean them. While on the topic of cleaning, avoid throwing your yoga mat into the washing machine. Instead, soak in warm soapy water with a dash of antibacterial or vinegar, hand wash, and sundry for best results. 

Weight, Thickness, and Texture

Choose a mat that is in sync with your style of yoga. For more movement, active poses, balance, and stability, choose thinner mats with better grip. Thicker mats are ideal for older practitioners as they are more gentle on the joints, and they’re also better for meditation, seated, and prone/supine poses. Rougher textures are good for active poses, while softer and smoother textures are better for sitting poses and long meditation. 


Most experienced yoga practitioners have more than one mat. They buy mats based on whether they’re going to use them at home, or in class, whether they are good for travel and yoga camps. Always test out your mat before you purchase it. Try it out on a slippery surface and check how much stability it gives. 

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