Choosing a yoga mat seems like a relatively straightforward decision right? Should you go for the bright tangerine one that would be a good pick-me-up for the early morning yoga session, or perhaps a subtle shade of lavender that you imagine yourself meditating on after a hard day at work?

There's more to yoga mats than meets the eye, and here is why picking the right yoga mat for yourself is tricky but essential to building a strong yoga practice for yourself.

Size matters-

The width of your yoga mat (varies between 1/4 to 1/8 of an inch) is an important factor of the yoga mat equation. Slimmer, lighter body types would benefit from thicker mates to make up for the lack of natural cushioning provided by a more robust body type. People with joint issues and beginners might choose a thicker mat to 'pad' you through the strenuous work-out.

The length of the mat (typically 68 inches long) is suited for a height of 5'6 inch or less. In case you are taller than the average height for your age/gender category, ensure that you buy a mat that accommodates the full length of your body.

Material-

The material of your yoga mat--PVC, rubber, cotton, padded, non-slip also make a difference to your yoga practice. 

PVC though durable is non-recyclable and must be disposed of damage. Rubber is a good alternative to PVC mats in that they are affordable and have a fairly low eco-impact.

For the more discerning yoga practitioner, there are mats made of organic cotton and rank high on a sustainability scale. A cotton mat would be more likely to absorb sweat and stain but a good ol' hand wash should take care of that.

Padded and non-slip mats offer extra cushioning for those sit-down exercises.

Texture-

Depending on the type of yoga you plan to participate in, the texture of the mat is crucial. Mats that offer better grip are often rougher in texture. If you plan to do hot yoga the mat would have to be water absorbent and offer some traction do you don't slip and fall. 

Weight Woes-

Depending on where you plan to do your yoga sessions the weight and size of your yoga mat will matter. Easy to carry and easy to store yoga mats are preferable but depending on your own individual needs opt for a yoga mat that helps deepen your practice and avoid injury and other mishaps.

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