“Yoga is the perfect opportunity to be curious about who you are.” – Jason Crandell
Regardless of whether you are a yogi or not, you have probably heard of all the advantages from adding the practice of yoga into your life. It offers many health benefits, from improved posture and building strength to dealing with recurring stress, so you can be at one with yourself and rule the world.
Despite the enormous popularity among women, yoga is not just a woman-thing. Simply said, yoga is for everyone. It has become quite the frenzy in the Western part of the world that one instantly pictures overcrowded yoga studios just thinking of the matter. Completing this picture are of course yoga mats, the trendiest yoga accessories, which are turning into some sort of a synonym for yoga itself. The question that appears immediately is why are yoga mats so important?
When we think of the very beginning of yoga, we imagine yogis practising on a bare floor or grass, but even then people used certain rugs made of animal skin. The idea of a yoga mat as we know it today was first brought up in the late 60s of the last century. Nowadays, yoga mat products are very versatile and choosing the perfect yoga mat can be a somewhat special experience; you have to remember it all gets down to the type of yoga you practice.
For instance, not every exercise mat is suitable for hot yoga (such as Bikram) – once the humidity increases, if the mat material is not fit for humid conditions, your exercise can turn into a wet slippery challenge. On the other hand, Hatha yoga requires mats that provide firmness for the limbs in some asanas. The best yoga mats that would serve you in the long run are the ones that are made of quality materials, so fret not about spending a dollar or two more: investing in your mat means investing in your health. Remember, the importance of yoga mats lies in certain aspects you should bear in mind once you start practising and those are balance, flexibility, cleanliness, cushioning and the asana.
When you first start with yoga, you get to see some poses last longer than others, which can lead to numbness, especially if practising directly on the floor. The purpose of the yoga mat in this instance is to serve as a cushion. For beginners, balance and flexibility need more perseverance and techniques to master. If not for yoga mats, beginners would face poses that require a lot of physical effort. The mats simplify this by allowing easier balance (with less chances of slipping) and more focus on flexibility than on strength.
Assuming you are already familiar with the word asana, you know just how important it is to learn how to do asanas properly for best outcome. One of the crucial ones, the savasana, can be done so much better when using a yoga mat. Every muscle of your body can relax without getting stiff. Along with all this, yoga mats are very personal. Once you place them, they serve as your own spot, the spot that no one else gets to use, your own place where you can work on yourself primarily. It can also be your motivating object in case you feel like quitting your yoga practice routine.
Cleanliness is essential, especially in cases when yoga is taking place outdoors or spaces where the condition of the floor is questionable in terms of how often cleaning takes place. Having a yoga mat is the end of your worries when it comes to germs as it is very easy to wipe clean.
Of course it is all individual, and some people may prefer practising without the mat, but lately they are becoming more of a necessity, especially if we consider the above mentioned aspects. Now go get that mat and do some yoga. Namaste!