The Best Yoga Mats

Updated: Nov 15

A review of four excellent Yoga mats


If you can control the rising of the mind into ripples, you will experience Yoga

Patanjali



I knew Yoga was old but exactly how old I knew not. To my surprise it was purportedly conceived over five thousand years ago; though of course not as the complete system we see today. Patanjali, who is considered the “Father of Yoga”, ‘systematised it and compiled the already existing ideas and practices’ into a teachable discipline (Vonne 2012).



Since then faithful followers, or practitioners, have transmitted the knowledge, skills and techniques from one generation to the next. Over that extensive expanse of time Yoga has grown and deepened like a river into which many streams flow.


A common misconception is that Yoga is merely a fancy name for flexibility training. ‘When Yoga is mentioned,’ says Swami Satchidananda (1978), a world renowned Yoga master, ‘most people immediately think of some physical practices for stretching and stress reduction. This is one aspect of the Yogic science, but actually only a very small part and relatively recent in development.’



We should instead, then, think of Yoga not as a series of pretentious poses but as a heterogeneous system of self-development that is comprised of separate and in some cases wholly different disciplines or ‘paths’. These paths intertwine, diverge and converge ultimately completing the synthesis of Yoga.


They include Karma Yoga, Jana Yoga, Bhakti Yoga and Raja Yoga. The personality type of the practitioner will naturally incline to one of the paths ‘but a one-sided development is not recommended, as it can lead to imbalance[s]’ says the Sivananda Yoga Centre in London (1996). ‘The whole person – heart, intellect and hand – should be developed simultaneously, so a synthesis of the four main paths is recommended.’



The Benefits of Yoga


Improves the suppleness of the body
Increases general flexibility
Can promote a sense of well-being
Has been shown to reduce stress
Brings about an awareness of ethical living
Enhances proprioception - mind/body connection


Yoga Mats

To support your journey of Yoga, adequate equipment can make a difference to your practice. One of the essentials in yoga is a mat.



A yoga mat offers a range of benefits including stability and grip whilst practicing your yoga moves, a surface that you can keep hygienic and most importantly a mat which is personal to you.



As a result there are a range of different types of yoga mats available in a range of different materials, colours and prices to suit your needs.



Below you will discover a range of excellent, high-quality mats which will not only make your Yoga session more enjoyable but will last a lifetime.



1) Heathyoga Eco Friendly Yoga Mat

Product Overview (click image for availability)

  • New Eco Friendly Material. No latex, no PVC, or any heavy metal. This yoga mat is made of SGS certified TPE material which is non-slip, odour-less and excellent in cushioning.

  • The alignment lines help you to focus and adjust your hands and feet to the accurate position, and keep body in proper alignment.

  • Perfect Performance – 6mm in thickness offers the most comfortable experience for all level yogis.

  • Double layer structure design provides optimal grip, excellent cushioning and double-sided non-slip texture, best suitable to practice many forms of Yoga.


2) REEHUT Fitness & Yoga Mat

Product Overview (click image for availability)

  • 71"x24" (180x61cm) wide mat ensures comfort for all-purpose. With high density foam NBR material, the 1/2'' thickness premium mat comfortably cushions spine, hips, knees and elbows on hard floors.

  • With double sided texture surfaces, Reehut premium exercise yoga mats are slip resistance.

  • Lightweight and portable, it is great for travel and easy to store. Ideal for Yoga, Pilates, stretching and toning workouts.

  • Safe, clean and approved by RoHS, PAHs, 6P and REACH.


3) TOPLUS Classic Pro Yoga Mat

Product Overview (click image for availability)

  • Eco Friendly Material – TPE is the latest technological improvement to the traditional Yoga mats. No latex, no PVC, non-toxic or any harmful chemicals.

  • Non-slip Yoga Mat–Double layer structure design provides optimal grip, excellent cushioning and double-sided non-slip texture, best suitable to practice many forms of Yoga. Non slip on wood floor, tile floor, cement floor.

  • Perfect performance – 0.6CM thick professional Yoga mat with high-density, great supporting and quick spring-back is suitable for all Yoga movements.

  • Light & Easy to Carry – this Yoga mat is light enough for you to bring it to gym or other place you want with our carrying strap.



4) Core Balance Yoga Mat

Product Overview (click image for availability)

  • The superior quality 6mm thick foam can reduce fatigue and safeguard from injury when working out.

  • The textured surface provides a better connection with thus reducing bunching and/or slipping.

  • Moisture-resistant to prevent sweat being absorbed and fast-drying to prevent you sliding during sweaty workouts. Can be easily cleaned using light soap and warm water. For best results, air dry after cleaning.



To Conclude

Yoga is a profoundly important integrated system of self-development. As well as bringing about a plethora of health benefits (see above) Yoga can also teach us 'that the mind and body are inseparable.'



The unification and harmonisation of 'mind and body' strengthens our appreciation of movement and health whilst deepening the understanding of our fabulously complex organism.



To enjoy all that Yoga has to offer you must ensure to practice regularly - best every day! So, get yourself a mat and get practicing.



Get started on your journey with 30 days of Yoga.


Recommended Reading


Yoga Mind & Body Paperback

All the yoga essentials are covered in this easy-to-follow, step-by-step visual guide. Develop your mental and physical potential, take control of the stress and tension of everyday living, and learn to nourish your mind and body with yoga. Vetted by the expert staff of the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Center, Yoga Mind and Body provides a comprehensive approach to yoga, with meditation tools, stress relief exercises, and recipes for healthful nutrition.





BKS Iyengar Yoga The Path to Holistic Health

Everyone can enjoy the benefits of yoga on the mind, body, and spirit with this updated, illustrated guide from world-renowned yoga authority B.K.S Iyengar, globally respected for his holistic approach and technical accuracy.


In BKS Iyengar Yoga: The Path to Holistic Health, the guru himself guides you through over 55 yoga poses, each with step-by-step instructions illustrated in full colour. Iyengar even explains his philosophy throughout the book - it's like having yoga classes with your own personal instructor.




Anatomy of Hatha Yoga

This is the first complete authoritative source combining the study of hatha yoga with anatomy and physiology. David Coulter provides an in-depth physiological examination of more than 100 yoga postures and practices and their relationship to the systems of the body. It includes chapters on breathing, relaxation and meditation as well as detailed diagrams, illustrations and photos.







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About the Author

Laura Allen currently works as a Psychologist, Performance Coach and Psychotherapist integrating mindfulness and somatic practices. Laura is completing a Doctorate researching the links between Fears of Compassion, mindfulness and the body.



References


Satchidananda S. S (1978) The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. USA. Integral Yoga Publications.



Wills H., Wills H (1973) Yoga For All. London. BBC Publications.