Choosing a Yoga Mat for Your First Yoga Retreat

It’s a new year… what better time to start planning for your first yoga retreat. Honestly, I’m doing the same thing, as we speak. It gives me a great excuse to buy a new yoga mat for the occasion. And, maybe one or two extras to go with it.

There are hundreds of yoga mats to choose from. Just spend 30 minutes or so checking out your favorite online yoga shops and you’ll see what I mean. Don’t panic, though. Keep reading, to learn more about buying the mat that’s right for you. Guess what? It’s probably easier than you think.

Choosing Your Yoga Retreat Mat

It doesn’t really matter if the yoga retreat you’re attending is across town or across the country, you want a light-weight mat to take with you. Consider this one, for example, the Manduka eKO SuperLite Travel Yoga Mat, weighing in at 2.1 pounds. It comes in four colors, provides excellent grip and even folds small enough to fit in a large purse. When the eKO finally wears out, rest assured that it won’t leave a footprint in the local landfill.

Another great option is the Clever Yoga Mat, which is eight ounces lighter. It’s also available in a variety of colors and comes with a lifetime warranty attached. Just think, you’ll never have to pay for another mat again. How cool is that?

This particular mat is reversible and has plenty of traction, on both sides. Wood flooring is quite common at most yoga retreat locations. The last thing you want is inadequate grip that may result in injury, to you or the person next to you.

The material used in the construction of your yoga mat is important, whether you’re at a retreat or at home. Obviously, you want something of good quality that holds up to repeated use. This doesn’t mean opting for the most expensive mat out there. It simply means doing a bit of research, BEFORE you make a purchase.
Statically, the most sought-after yoga mats are those made of natural materials. This totally makes sense, when you think about it. Who wants to breathe in toxins, during every session? In addition, toxic mats are not recyclable.

Natural rubber is a fantastic choice, for several reasons:

• extreme durability
• more cushion protection for knees and elbows
• completely biodegradable
• supreme traction – even when wet

As a rule, mats made out of natural rubber are a bit more expensive than those that aren’t. But, when you add up all the benefits and the fact they seldom need to be replaced (with normal wear-and-tear) these mats are definitely worth the extra expense.

Yoga mats are manufactured in more than one thickness. The standard-sized thickness is 1/8 inch. However, for the sake of portability, you might want to consider a 1/16 inch mat. These thinner mats roll or fold up easily. There are a few that are sold with a strap or carry bag. Unfortunately, there is a downside to this… less cushion (and comfort) between you and the floor.

Hopefully, this information gives you a little extra insight, in regard to making your purchase. In the end, you want to opt for a yoga mat that makes a sensible travel companion. It’s no fun, trying to cram a mat in your suitcase or lugging it around, in the event it won’t roll up properly.

Yoga retreats are meant to be relaxing, not stressful. Once you’re there, you’ll probably wonder how you ever got along without participating in one before. I, for one, am beyond excited. Let the reservations be made and the retreat excitement begin!

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