Saturday, February 4, 2012

Can A Mat be Too Sticky?

My gym students often ask me about purchasing a mat. What is the best brand, what should they purchase? I have a lot of thoughts on this topic:
  • It is worth spending a little extra. I know you have all heard the saying "you get what you pay for." I have had students come in and say that they purchased mats from a bargain store for four to five dollars. Some consider that a steal if you are just trying out yoga. I would disagree - there are far too many unused junk mats out there sitting in basements and landfills. And unfortunately, these mats are not made of the most sustainable products.

  • Don't even bother buying a mat if you are just trying yoga out. If you are just giving yoga a try - use one of the extra gym or studio mats. (But I am going to warn you - you are going to like it.)

  • Look through studio lost and founds - for some reason, people leave their mat behind and don't come back for it. Try out a few of these - and look for different brands in the L+S stack.

Sticky vs. Not Sticky

Reasons to buy a super sticky mat (Manduka/Jade)
  • You will not slide - I know many people say they have a hard time with downward dog because their hands won't stop sliding. If this is the case- get a super sticky mat.

  • Very good for more difficult back bends like Viparita Dandasana - where sliding is scary

Reasons not to buy a super sticky mat:
  • Sticky mat stubbed toe - these mats are sticky. Occasionally, when working with a super sticky mat, you will jamb your foot or fingers on the mat because...well...they are sticky.

  • If you do a lot of jumping in your asana practice - I have been stopped mid jump because my toes caught the mat. This is a good and a bad thing. Good, because it will train you to lift higher to keep your feet away from the mat. Bad, because sometimes you just want to slide a bit coming out of your jump.

Feel free to share your responses. What makes a good mat? Can a mat be too sticky?

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