Yoga is one of the best ways to incorporate exercise into your day. Not only are there endless routines to try, but there are also different levels of difficulty for beginners and experts. Yoga is also a great way to slow down and focus on your body as well as your mind. This time can be very meditative and can help you evaluate any stress, weaknesses, and strengths. Yoga can energize you for the day ahead or help you cool down before bed. But the best part about yoga is how accessible it is. Can’t make it to a class? That’s okay! Grab your mat and clear a spot in your living room, back yard, or basement. While there is little to no cost in terms of equipment, we recommend being intentional and investing in the right pieces that will make your practice more efficient and impactful. Here are three simple steps to choosing the right yoga mat and bag for you.
1. Figure out the size
The first thing to consider when buying your yoga mat and bag is sizing. You are going to spend a lot of time standing, sitting, twisting, and laying on your mat, so it is very important that you maximize as much space as possible. There are a wide variety of mats available, typically ranging from 60” to 74”. For anyone shorter than 6 feet tall, the standard yoga mat size is probably just right for you. However, if you're taller than that, your feet and head might hang off the edges of your mat when you lay in Shavasana or press into Downward-Facing Dog. If that is the case, aim for a mat that is at least 72 or 74 inches long. Once you have your mat size and thickness figured out, you can then begin to hunt for the perfect yoga mat bag. Learn more tips here.
2. Pay attention to the materials
The next criteria for finding your perfect yoga mat and bag is to consider the materials of both. PVC is most common in mass produced mats and bags, but it is one of the leading industrial pollutants. The other problem PVCs poses is the ability to harbor harmful materials and germs. Since you are going to be spending a lot of time sweating and breathing on your mat, it is important to avoid most man-made materials or latex that is not organic. When it comes to your yoga mat bag, we suggest choosing cotton—it won’t add any extra weight to your shoulders. Canvas is another great option because it is washable and folds and stores easily.
3. Focus on durability
The last thing on your checklist should be durability! If you are ready to transition to a healthier lifestyle and really devote yourself to practicing yoga, you need to invest in equipment that can withstand a lot of wear and tear. Whether you are carrying your yoga mat and bag from the office to the studio or stashing it away inside your closet or car, the trick to finding a durable mat is to focus on the thickness. Less padding means less cushioning, which can cause more strain on your mat and body. When it comes to your bag, you also want something thick and sturdy to protect your yoga mat even further.