In case you are thinking of adding "healthier lifestyle" to your New Year's resolutions, and doing yoga is your chosen method of doing it, then be sure you're ready to get going with the right kind of weapons. Oh yes, because keeping fit and healthy is definitely a battlefield. It always helps to be prepared, and this includes making sure you have the best possible equipment in your arsenal, even for an activity so peaceful as yoga.
While yoga may require you little cost in terms of equipment used, it still does not take away the importance of investing well in the materials you will use for its practice. Specifically, the yoga mat and its accompanying yoga mat bag. Any person keen on doing Sun Salutations would do well to remember that yoga mats are not just a piece of cover on the floor, but are essentials in your daily practice. Here are five simple steps, therefore, in choosing the ideal pair of yoga mat & bag just for you.
1. Pick the Right Size
Probably the first thing to consider when buying your yoga mat & bag would be the size. For the mat, this is especially important because you will be spending a lot of time standing, sitting, twisting and lying down on it. Make sure to pick the right length so that you won't have to be kissing the ground when doing your floor exercises. There's a wide variety of sizes for mats out there, from 60" to 75". Find the one that can accommodate your body length the most. This can guarantee that you will be able to maximize the space for your whole body. And then of course, when you've picked out the right size for your mat, it is also important for you to get a mat bag that will carry it nicely. With the rise of yoga practice, demand for mats is on the rise, and consequently, for mat bags too. What this means for you is that there are more choices to pick out from. Again, however, make sure that your bag can accommodate the full length of your mat, and maybe, if you would prefer, even your yoga mat towel and clothes.
2. Keep It Friendly and Organic
The other thing that you should look at would be the material of the mat and the bag. Because of the sudden surge of popularity in the practice of yoga, a lot of items out there are mass produced with unfriendly materials such as PVC, one of the leading industrial pollutants. It is important for you to check what materials are in your mat because you will be spending a lot of time sweating and breathing on it. The problem with these PVCs is that it carries along with it harmful materials which may have negative effects on those who get into close contact with it. Pregnant women who practice yoga, most especially, have to be wary about this. Avoid those mats that carry materials out of TPE (Thermal Plastic Elastomer) as this has chemical components which leak out. Since you'll be sweating a lot on your mat, the last thing you need is to inhale toxic fumes, no matter how subtle, when supposedly engaging in a healthy workout. Go for those which are made of natural or organic latex. Meanwhile, for your bag, you'd want to get something made out of cotton material so that the weight of the bag won't have to add to the weight of the mat on your shoulder. Canvass mat bags are also a good option because it is also washable and at the same time easy to fold and store when not in use.
Depending on how much time you will devote to your practice would be the wear and tear of your yoga mat & bag. Whether or not you carry it with you from the office to the studio, or if you stash it away inside your closet, however, the material is certain to experience some wearing out. The trick to finding a mat that is tested to be durable is to look at its thickness, apart from the material used. Some yoga mats measure only 1/8 of an inch in thickness. While this seems pretty reasonable considering that you'll just be lying and stretching on it, this may still cause some problems for you in the short run. For one, having a thinner padding means less cushioning. A lot of the postures done in yoga entail a lot of stretching and twisting, and so it is inevitable that certain key areas in your body, like your knees or your hands and feet , will be putting extra weight and pressure on the mat. Add to that the sweat sure to drip out from your body because of sheer physical exertion, and you have a mat that is vulnerable to getting run down. Another is that some yoga positions are meant to have you lie flat on your back. Without the proper cushioning, your back would most likely sink all the way to the hard floor, only adding to your discomfort. Of course, on the part of your bags, it would also do you well to have something sturdy and durable. You wouldn't want your yoga mat slipping out of your bag.
4. Make Quality Always a Priority
For any product you buy, you would always want to make sure that you are getting something made of good quality. For your yoga mat, be sure to check its grip and traction. The activities entailed in doing yoga requires you a lot of the times to be on good balance, either on your hands or legs. Keeping your focus will not be enough to keep your balance if your mat does not have the proper traction to help you out. Of course, you cannot pour water on the mat to test how slip-resistant the material is when you're out shopping, so instead, check the tag for the information. There are a lot of reliable brands out there, anyway, which have been proven to be really slip-resistant for the practice of yoga. Just do your research by reading reliable yoga mat reviews, and you should be able to find the one for you. And again, because your yoga mat & bag is an undeniable tandem, then you should also find a bag that will accompany your mat for as long as they both can go.
5. Get Value For Money Without Sacrificing Quality
Last but not the least, definitely, get value for money without sacrificing quality. Don't think that this is impossible. True, quality should always be your priority. That does not necessarily mean, however, that you must shell out a whole lot of cash just to get quality items. And no, we don't mean scrounging for yoga mats & bags in thrift stores either. There are a lot of good quality brands out there now, that are made out of environmental-friendly materials, at no extra cost. It shouldn't be too difficult to find an honest to goodness cheap yoga mats made of high quality in your local mall. No need to stress yourself out over the cost of de-stressing out.
Just keep these five simple things in mind when getting ready to enroll in your yoga class. Simplicity is one of the most important tenets you will learn in practicing yoga, and starting out with finding the best yoga mat and bag for you should be a good way to get the ball rolling towards your set goal for health and fitness.