While choosing a yoga mat for your practice, there are many variables to consider. Many of us go shopping with the visual concepts of how we would like it to be. We think size, color, price, and maybe brand names. Not many of us think about the implications choosing the right mat may have on our health. As the practice of yoga became so popular the past twenty years, many new companies have opened, trying to ride the wave of growing popularity, creating new so-called yoga products that we must have. The truth is, that for the practice of the yoga asanas, all one need is attention and a list of asanas. All the rest are things that are nothing but a must, and thus when we choose to use these accessories, we must be aware of the pros and cons.
Many stores out there sell cheap yoga mats for as little as five dollars, and sometimes we are eager to buy them, thinking it is a bargain. I beg you to think twice before ever purchasing something like that, for the sake of your health, and the health of the practitioners who are in the room with you. There are two main reasons to why choosing these mats is a mistake. The first reason is direct physical damage, from bruising to bone damage that we might experience if we choose to use these mats. The second is the ongoing health hazard the materials that construct these mats apply.
Choosing wisely – for better practice
Many of the asanas we yogis practice, demand not only strength and flexibility, but also balance. For balance we depend on our bodies and minds, yet without the proper support, our personal abilities are useless. The main concern with the cheap yoga mats is that they are slippery. Placing our weight on one foot, while leaning forward and stretching our other leg backwards, while giving all of our trust to a slippery mat, is a real and direct risk to our health. Many people get injured daily just by sliding off their post and hitting the ground. One may easily break a bone, bruise, or tear a muscle or a tendon, by surprisingly sliding from an intense pose.
Those mattresses get more slippery and more dangerous daily, and as our sweat is absorbed in them, they get even worst. Another risk these mattresses hold is the hazardous materials factor. To manufacture a product of such low-cost, factory owners must chose cheap materials, the type that are highly toxic. Daily use of these materials is dangerous to our health on the level of internal diseases. While using the mat, we absorb these materials through our open pores, and while breathing them in. In that, not only do we risk our own health, but also the health of our neighbours, and the health of our family.
For those main reasons I sincerely advice any yoga practitioner, a beginner or a professional, to avoid the extra-cheap mattresses, and make sure you are using a proper mat, which is healthy for you, your friends, and the environment This will improve your practice, allowing you to concentrate on your asanas knowing you are safe on a high quality mat. It will also help your karma points, knowing you have done the right thing.