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Mats: Where do we start?

Is there a difference between a yoga mat and an exersize mat? The answer is yes, though you can use them interchangably in some cases. An exersize mat usually runs thicker for high impact or injury protection and is typically not transportable.  A yoga mat on the other hand can range from super thin to cushy quarter inch thick versions. I’m not an expert but have done some research and have had a few versions myself. If you are not sure where to start I’d suggest about an eigth inch or 3.175 mm thick would be standard. I do have students that use the all-purpose extra thick $15-$40 yoga/exersize mats and like them. I have a couple basic all purpose $15 mats from when I started and the reason I purchased a better one is because I was embarassed when my bright pink mat was shedding chunks all over the studio floor. I was leaving crumbs as I rolled up after practices. My opinion is if you’ve borrowed a mat and know you love yoga, get a better version that suits how you practice. If you are brand new to yoga trying it at home and you’ve already tried the beach towel for a mat and you’re ready to try something more, maybe start with a less expensive version if you are still unsure if you’ll love it. If you practice once a week or less, a less expensive version will likely hold up fine for a while. On the other hand, if you practice three plus times a week and/or indulge in hot classes you’ll likely want a higher quality mat to withstand your practice. The Liforme has a natural rubber base with it’s unique ecopolyurethane top surface and is about 4.2 mm thick. It has a non-slip srface even when sweaty, larger than most mats, eco friendly, and provides the ideal amount of cushioning for stability in balancing poses along with comfort for your bones. I’ve ‘grown up’ in the yoga world knowing this mat as the cadilac of all mats and ranges around $140. However, I do have one ‘bone to pick’ with this mat and that is it’s high maintenance, (or should I say low?) you can’t clean it like an average mat. I’ve been taught to hang it up after a hot class and let it dry, this is the high maintenace part because some yogis like to leave their mats rolled up to wash later. If you clean it with mat cleaner it will lose it’s grip. I’ve thrown my old one in the wash machine because I had nothing to lose and it turned out good (still no grip because that had worn off over time) but I would never do that with my new one, just in case. I love my manduka eKO Superlite Travel Yoga Mat that is very thin and cost around $45.00. This is a travel mat and not very comfortable on its own but I double it up on top of my old Liforme mat. I find this is the best solution for my at home practice as I’m typically not moving them. I get the cush from my old Liforme but the stick from the manduka. I have not tried any other manduka version but they have several ranging up to nearly a quarter inch thick and around $146. I have not found the perfect mat but hope this might have answered some basic questions you may have. I would love and appreciate hearing any of your suggestions and comments! Let me know here or feel free to reach out. Namaste, Sacia

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