How to Choose a Yoga Mat

Buying the wrong yoga mat once derailed my practice for over a year! But then again I might be a special case. I had two perfectly crappy cheap yoga mats that when you layered on top of each other added up to one perfectly good mat. Then my condo flooded. I got to buy two more but it was my busiest time of year and I was sneaking in shopping from 8:15 – 9 and trying to get it in in once credit card bill cycle to avoid interest and get my cheque. I picked poorly although I didn’t know it at the time. Both looked good and thick and since I didn’t need two any more I gave one unopened to my mom’s friend. I can almost guarantee that she got the good one, relatively speaking.

Happy Earth Day! I’m new here and so are you but while I’m not super crunchy I’m pretty dang environmental. The thought of throwing out the old (yet new) one just to languish in a landfill sickened me. I tried to come up with recycling ideas, more on that later, ps I’m still looking at mine.

So how bad can a yoga mat be? F#&@ing terrible! In a rush it looked thick and squishy, fine, and reversible purple and green, SOLD. This was the worst yoga mat of all time. It was thick yet squishy and soft, comfy I thought. No, it was so squishy when I went into down dog I would feel my hands and feet slide along the mat but like inside it. It was also too smooth so one you started to slide you just kept going. Add to that any oils or sweat and bam, you were in face down corpse pose. Plus once you jumped back to the front from down dog the mat took off down the floor if you happened to be firmly attached on top. It was also super stretchy so if you were doing yoga on an uneven or yielding surface like sand the whole damn thing streached.

The goldilocks mat

Firm yet thick with good grip topside and bottom side. Relatively hard but not so much that you feel every bump in the floor and get some cushioning. In my case I don’t want it to break down soon and it would be nice if it were longer than standard. I’m a bit tall but really bendy! If you like your current mat try to pick another one just like it. I did a lot of reading because I wasn’t going to make the same mistake twice. I looked up all the ones I was interested and I couldn’t find a seller online that shipped to me. So I ended up at winners (TJ max in the states I think) picking from the bin. I took my time this time and ended up with this one, still couldn’t find one that ships to Canada though.  If your looking it’s made by Aeromat and it’s the elite mat. I did notice that they have more styles and a lot or sold out so I guess it’s a popular brand.

yoga mats
How wrong can a yoga mat be? Really wrong or really right!

I read mixed reviews about the Lululemon mat that kept me away, but others had me interested. I’ve since had the opportunity to try one during an equinox celebration of 108 sun salutations. To keep it less boring we move from mat to mat so you get to try out your yoga buddy’s mat. I’ve gotten to try it and the big mat from Lululemon is a solid, yet expensive choice. A lot of the reviews talk about a strong smell which likely dissipates over time. Thus particular yoga buddy has had hers since at least 2007 when I joined the studio and she had it with her Tuesday night! The nice thing is though it should be easy to nail down in person or online.

Recycling ideas for old yoga mats and a plea for help

The only, yet very specific, use I found for a corner of my old one is as a base on which to hammer sewing grommets. Truthfully it was too squishy for that too so I can’t advise it.  At one point I thought if I could find a use for the old one I would feel better replacing it but… I read a number of ideas like cutting it up and using it as a drawer liner for the kitchen, um no. Same goes for placemats and coasters, plus our furniture isn’t that nice. No to baby toys that’s essentially food for them too. Feet and food should be separate.  Using it for sit upon mats at the fire or sleeping bag mats while camping. I’m waste conscious not a camper so that wasn’t going to happen. You could use it to kneel on when gardening. Maybe but my gardens are planted to intensively for it to fit between things. Too thick to be a floor mat gripper, plus we don’t have rugs. I don’t think the R-value is high enough for it to actually make good weather stripping insulation. Smothering weeds with doesn’t seem that viable, I have big gardens and it would block rain wouldn’t it?

So it sits in my office and I look at it when I clean behind the arm chair, which isn’t often. So any ideas would be appreciated.

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