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How do I choose a yoga mat?

A yoga mat is the basic piece of equipment for your practice. If you want to work on your flexibility or strength, thickness and stickiness will influence your workout. Before you decide which brand to buy—Gaiam, Lululemon, or any other--take your time. Go to a studio, practice Pilates or Yoga, check which mat feels the most comfortable to your body, and talk with an instructor.

Before buying a yoga mat, think about:

  1. Thickness – It ranges from 1/8 – 1/4 in. The standard yoga mat thickness is 1/8 in. They are thin to give you stability during poses like Eagle or Half Moon.
  2. Level – Thinner yoga mats are recommended for advanced users. Beginners should start off with a standard mat, 1/8 in., or an extra thick one - ¼ in. Thicker mats don’t provide you with enough grip, so it might be difficult to hold your balance in standing positions like Tree.
  3. Type of yoga class – If you’re a fan of Bikram hot yoga, an open-cell mat might be an option. It has a porous texture to absorb sweat without losing traction. This non-slip mat will be sticky despite the sweat, but it wears off quickly.
    Yin or restorative yoga postures are sitting sequences focusing on joint stretches. Thus, a closed-cell, soft, almost cushion-like mat might be a perfect choice. Stickiness is not a requirement.
  4. Moisture absorption – If your hands and feet quickly get sweaty, it might be a good idea to buy an open-cell mat, as it absorbs moisture. 
  5. Transportation – Answer a few questions for yourself: Will you carry it to a yoga studio, or will you practice at home? Is it easy to fold? Is it heavy to carry? Are you going to travel with it? Is a rubber strap or a case provided?
  6. Color and design - Your equipment should give you energy when you’re in a Warrior pose. Some mats are reversible; you’ll find patterns and designs/prints on both sides. On eBay, you can find a great selection of exercise mats in a variety of colors, such as purple, green or blue.
  7. Cleanliness – Check how easy it is to clean your mat. Some require a simple wiping with a wet cloth, but others need frequent washing.
  8. Flatness - Check if the mat lays flat on the floor when you roll it out; better quality mats lay out flat.
  9. Environmental friendliness (optional)- Check if the material is eco-friendly: recyclable or biodegradable. Find out more about the material your yoga mat is made of: is it natural or recycled rubber, cork, jute or cotton? 

What yoga mat brands are available on eBay?

Browse through Gaiam, Manduka, Mandala, or Lululemon yoga mats.

What sizes are yoga mats? Which size is right for exercise?

Pilates and yoga mats have similar dimensions. The standard length of a mat is 68 in. If you’re taller than 6 ft., you probably need a longer one: 72 in. or 74 in. The usual width is 24 in., but wider, 26 in. mats are also available. The right size is the one that is the most comfortable to you when you exercise.

What is the difference between a yoga and Pilates mat?

  1. Thickness – A standard yoga mat is 1/8 in., while a standard Pilates mat is 1/2 in. Pilates mats provide more padding and cushioning for your body.
  2. Stickiness – Yoga mats’ stickiness gives you traction while you hold your balance during standing yoga positions. When you’re holding poses like an Extended Triangle for a few minutes, the mat prevents you from slipping and gives you more control. Pilates mats are not sticky.
  3. Texture - Mats with rows on their surface give you more grip for performing vinyasa. Smooth Pilates mats enable seamless change between movements.
  4. Material – Mats for Pilates are made of closed-cell TPE (thermoplastic elastomer) foam. They don’t absorb any moisture. Yoga mats are made of closed-cell or open-cell (soaks up the sweat) PVC (vinyl), TPE, cotton, mesh or natural rubber. 
  5. Storage – Pilates mats, contrary to yoga mats, take up much more space. They’re thicker and thus roll up bigger.

Can you use a yoga mat for Pilates? 

You can use yoga mats for Pilates. However, it might not be comfortable for your spine in lying down movements. In that case, you can always use two mats for Pilates exercises.  

How to complement your yoga mat? 

A non-slip yoga towel helps you to keep your grip. It’s made of microfiber, which gives you much more support than normal towels, plus they absorb sweat and dry up quickly. Yoga towels could be used on a mat, instead of a mat or as a workout towel. They also provide you with extra support for your knees or wrists, if necessary. 

How to clean your mat?

To keep your mat in shape, you might wipe it dry with a clean towel after each practice. Once your mat starts to emit an unfriendly scent, it’s time for washing up. One of the popular methods includes spraying the mat with a vinegar and water solution with 50/50 proportions. A laundry day for your mat is also an option. In both cases, make sure you follow the instructions provided by a manufacturer.


How to choose a mat for Pilates?

  1. Thickness –It ranges between 1/4 - 1/2 in. Pilates exercise mats are thicker to offer your spine more padding and support during movements like rolling like a ball or rocker. With a thicker mat, you’ll avoid bruises on your knees after all-fours Pilates exercises like Cat Stretch. The recommended thickness is 1/2 in. 
  2. Surface for exercises –If you’re going to work out on hardwood, make sure you get enough padding for your body. Most of the exercises are in horizontal position, with your back lying down. With a carpeted floor, you should be ok even with a thin yoga mat.
  3. Storage –Pilates mats require more space because they’re thicker and roll up bigger. 
  4. Transportation – Answer a few questions for yourself: Will you carry it to a Pilates class or will you work out at home? Is it easy to fold? What’s its weight? Are you going to travel with it? Is a rubber strap or a case provided?
  5. Check if the mat lays flat on the floor when you roll it out; better quality mats lay out flat.

What is the difference between a yoga and Pilates mat?

  1. Thickness – A standard yoga mat is 1/8 in., while a standard Pilates mat is 1/2 in.
  2. Stickiness – Yoga mats’ stickiness gives you traction while you hold your balance during standing yoga positions. When you’re holding poses like a downward dog or tree for a few minutes, the mat prevents you from slipping and gives you more control. Pilates mats are not sticky.
  3. Texture - Mats with rows on their surface give you more grip for yoga poses. Smooth Pilates mats enable seamless change between exercises.
  4. Material – Pilates mats are made of closed-cell TPE (thermoplastic elastomer) foam. They don’t absorb any moisture. Yoga mats are made of closed-cell or open-cell (soaks up water) PVC (vinyl), cotton, mesh or rubber. 
  5. Storage – Pilates mats take up much more space than ones. They’re thicker, and roll up bigger.

What Pilates mat brands are available on eBay?

Stamina, Gaiam, Stott Pilates are just a few brands, whose mats are available on eBay.

Joseph Pilates, the founder of the method, once said, “Change happens through movement and movement heals.” When do you start?  

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