Special Report – Yoga Mats

Roll out your yoga mat today…your magic carpet to a life-long journey filled with joy, mystery and adventure

It all begins when you step on the mat.

It’s true, you actually don’t even need a mat (or anything else) to start yoga, but having that rectangular mat can serve as a reminder, or an anchor, a place to arrive at where you begin your journey and move forward, in your practice and in life.

To so many people, their yoga mats become precious, almost like a home from home; it becomes like a sacred spot, the place where you journey inwards on your inner yoga adventure. What may start with a few simple, often awkward postures, or even just plain exercises (to get in shape, to lose weight etc.) can lead on to an unexpected and transformational journey, physically, mentally and even spiritually.

It all begins with a yoga mat. But which one? How do you pick the right mat for you?

Perhaps a bit like Harry Potter and his chums intuitively sensing the right broomstick, some mats are more likely to appeal to you than others. If you’re not feeling that inspiration just yet then there are a few factors that can help steer you in the right direction.


Most yoga mat firms design everyday mats that will have a broad appeal and be suited to beginners and experienced practitioners alike and can be used for a wide range of different practices. These are often a good bet for yoga novices. Think practically though: if you know you’ve got dodgy knees and require extra cushioning, then find a thicker mat. Similarly, if you want to carry your mat to the studio slung over your shoulder every day, then you probably won’t want one that’s too heavy.


Sustainability almost comes as standard nowadays when it comes to picking a yoga mat — but not always. The list of materials and eco standards out there is pretty mind-bending, but you don’t have to become an expert to pick a good mat. Try and source your mat from a genuine, ethical and well-meaning yoga firm, where they will go to great lengths to ensure all parts of the mat — from the raw ingredients used to make it, through to the manufacturing and distribution process — meet stringent standards. That may not always be the case if you’re purchasing a very cheap mat via a bulk internet supplier or high-street stores where it’s all about shifting volumes.


Unfortunately, the cost of yoga mats can be prohibitive for some makes and models these days, so keep within your means. However, there’s a trade-off to be had. Sometimes the price reflects the extraordinary amount of work, effort and materials used to make a product. Genuine yoga firms will pour their heart and soul into the making of a mat and this can be reflected in the price. This kind of mat is a good way to align your purchasing with good yogic principles. Yes, there are cheaper mats to be had, but find the right balance for you. Buying an ethically[1]sourced, sustainable mat from a passionate yoga entrepreneur represents a commitment to your practice and you, which could stand you in good stead long-term.

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Om Magazine

First published in November 2009, OM Yoga magazine has become the most popular yoga title in the UK. Available from all major supermarkets, independents and newsstands across the UK. Also available on all digital platforms.