Metro Gift Guide: Choosing The Right Yoga Mat For Your Workout Needs
Here’s everything you need to know when picking out the right yoga mat to give yourself or your loved ones this Christmas
So your New Year’s resolution is to be more active. What better way to psyche yourself than by getting a new yoga mat for your yoga practice or home workouts?
For beginners, it’s important to know that not all yoga mats are made equal. There are so many different kinds of yoga mats now available, and you should know that choosing the right one for your type of workout goes beyond the aesthetics of it. You will find that there’s a yoga mat that will perfectly suit your practice, your needs, budget, values, and lifestyle.
If you’re looking to get yourself your very first yoga mat or if you finally want to invest in a good one after ruining your 150-peso yoga mat you bought somewhere, here are some important things to consider.
Do you need a thick or thin yoga mat? It depends on how you’re going to use it. Some people complain that their knees still hurt even though they’re using a yoga mat for their workouts or practice. This is because thinner yoga mats offer little protection from the hard floor. Especially if you’re using it on tiled or concrete floors, you’ll find that a thin yoga mat—usually at 1/16 inches—will not be too comfortable. However, thinner mats like these are travel-friendly since they’re so much lighter to carry around.
On the other hand, thicker mats are also quite difficult to manage. The thicker your mat is, the harder it is for you to balance, especially if you’re using it for yoga practice. However, if you need more support for your joints, you’ll benefit from thick ones at around 1/4-inch thick. Thicker ones are also bulkier and heavier, so consider that if you don’t have storage or if you want to lug your mat around.
For something in between, you can start with a regular mat that’s around 1/8-inch thick. Then, you can go thicker or thinner as you figure out your needs.
There are many different materials used in yoga mats. The most popular is PVC or vinyl, which is the typical yoga mat you’ll see everywhere. It’s the cheapest and most resilient option, and delivers under any kind of condition and environment—outdoors, heated studio, and gentle or vigorous workouts. However, it’s made with a non-eco friendly material that can’t be recycled.
Another option si TPE, or Thermal Plastic Elastomer, which is a mix of rubbery materials and plastic materials, which do no harm to the environment after discarding. TPE are also usually very nice to look at and provides good cushioning, but they can get worn out faster than PVC.
Natural rubber or PU is one of the most eco-friendly options. Since it’s made with natural rubber, you don’t need to worry about harming the environment. It also feels very premium, with a good support that’s not too hard to too soft. However, if you are sensitive to latex, you may have a potential allergic reaction to natural rubber.
If you’re the type of person who considers how much waste you’re contributing to the environment, it’s also important that you’re aware of how eco-friendly your mat is. PVC, which may be the cheapest and strongest of all mats, is non-recyclable and highly toxic to the environment because it’s made of plastic. According to the Tree Hugger, producing a PVC yoga mat requires 23 kg of petrochemical and mineral inputs, uses 925 liters of water, and 15.8 kg of air.
For an eco-friendlier option, there’s TPE. Although it’s not 100-percent natural, TPE is less harmful to the environment and can actually be recycled. Manufacturing a TPE mat also leaves way less carbon footprint compared to PVC, at 10.3 kg of petrochemical and mineral inputs, uses 264 liters of water, and 3 kg of air.
If you want the most eco-friendly mat for you practice, consider natural rubber or pure cotton. Compared to TPE and PVC, these natural mats release way less greenhouse gases and are completely biodegradable. Their downside, however, is that they wear out faster than PVC and TPE mats, and can cost much more.
More recently, there are now even better and natural options like hemp and cork. These mats are becoming yogi favorites, since they’re the most sustainably produced and gentle to both the body and the environment.
Given this information, are you now ready to choose your yoga mat for your practice or workout? Here are some local stores in the metro that offer different kinds of mats to match your budget, preference, and needs.
Greta’s Junk Shop
We’re starting off with the most popular and affordable of them all: the PVC mat. But at Greta’s Junk Shop, the mats are not just plain and boring. These yoga mats will inspire you to work it with its eye-catching kaleidoscopic design.
These mats come in different styles, but only one size: 61 cm x 73 cm x 5 mm.
Due to the rubber material, it’s best to wipe and ventilate it first prior to use if you’re sensitive to the smell.
Shop for this mat at Greta’s Junk Shop, a section in Gretchen Gatan’s blog, Greta’s Junkyard.
Natural rubber is one of the eco-friendliest options when it comes to choosing a yoga mat and when you’re ready to make this commitment to nature, you’ll love how equally beautiful the yoga mats are at Natura Yoga.
Natura Yoga mats are made with high-quality natural rubber so it’s non-toxic, eco-friendly, and has no strong odor upon purchase. On top of the natural rubber material is a microfiber surface so you’ll have good grip even as you sweat.
What’s even better is that a portion of every purchase goes to helping conserve the forest.
Each Natura Yoga mat is 183 cm x 61 cm, and is 3.5-mm thick. It also doesn’t need a special yoga mat cleaner to clean, because you can just gently wipe it down with a small towel soaked in water and mild liquid detergent, and then wipe it again with just water. Air-dry indoors afterwards.
For the aesthetic conscious, you’ll love that the Natura Yoga mats are some of the most beautiful mats we’ve seen. They always come out with new designs in partnership with local Filipina artists. Two of their most recent collaborations are the breathtaking Terracotta Valley mat, designed by graphic and visual artist, Christine Dy; and the Summertime Escape mat with Mia the Hoooman.
Natura Yoga is currently on their last sale of the year so hurry to their Instagram page to reserve your mat.
If you’re looking for a mat that can power through any exercise just like you, you’ll love this Dual Power Exercise Mat from Manila Athletica. It’s made with TPE material so it’s eco-friendly, made durable so it doesn’t flatten even with long-term use, and provides extra cushion with its 6-mm thickness. The mat doesn’t absorb moisture or sweat, making it easy to clean with one wipe.
It’s also reversible so you can choose what color and side you feel like using for the day.
It’s available in 5 two-tone colors, and 3 sizes to fit your needs: 183cm x 61 cm, 66 cm, and 80 cm.
Pre-order your mats at the Manila Athletica website.
Flow Manila’s promise is to “help you move in style” and that’s definitely a promise well kept with their vegan suede yoga mats. These mats are locally made with vegan suede on top and premium TPE at the bottom so it doesn’t slip on the floor. It’s available in one size at 70 inches x 24 inches x 6 mm, so it’s thick and provides cushion but light enough to carry around.
Each mat is also a feast for the eyes! If you’re looking to customize your own mat, they can do it for you. Customize with your name or with a motivating quote to keep you moving.
Duyan proves that if there’s initiative to go environmentally friendly, there’s definitely ways to accomplish it. Despite the fact that PVC has been touted as one of the least eco-friendly materials for yoga mats, Duyan has found a way to provide mats made from high polymer eco-friendly PVC. It’s also made with closed-cell technology to prevent sweat and dirt from getting absorbed into the mat’s surface, keeping the mat hygienic and durable.
At closer look, the mat shows a unique dotted texture at the bottom to keep the mat from sliding.
Although it’s available in just one length, 183 cm x 61 cm, it comes in two thickness variants: the Oasis at 4.7-mm thick and Nirvana at 6.3 mm.
The colors are all in muted natural tones, which looks superb in practice. And if you’re planning to give a Duyan mat as a gift, they have a special holiday packaging to make your gifts extra special.
You can submit your orders at @duyan.mnl on Instagram.
For something more minimalist but highly functional, you can check out the Jewel line of suede mats from Mizpah. A brand based in Cebu City, born from the friendship of a group of yoginis and home fitness introverts, Mizpah’s promise is to provide only the best to help you achieve your fitness goals.
The Jewel yoga mats come in classy colors inspired from the shades of semi-precious stones, and comes in two thickness variants, 4 mm and 1.5 mm. They’re also functionally designed with a minimalist center guide to help you keep your balance and alignment during practice.
Since it’s made with a velvet-like finish, the mat actually performs best when there’s moisture so it's ideal for intense workouts and hot yoga.
A tip from Mizpah: you can spray the mat with a water solution that's sparingly infused with your favorite blend of essential oils to transform your practice into an aromatherapeutic session.
Shop for Mizpah’s yoga mats on their website, Mizpah.cc.
Being a yogi is not just mastering the physical aspect; it’s also very much an alignment of your mind and spirit with what’s good for your body and the Earth. This is why if you’re very much concerned about how your yoga mat is sourced, you’ll like these Flow hemp mats from Flow Fitique.
These Flow hemp mats are made out of sturdy, sustainable, and mildew-resistant natural hemp, so you’ll feel more connected to nature and find better grip. The hemp is woven into a PVC rubber so the mat doesn’t slip.
Since it’s made with natural fibers, you’ll notice that there will be shedding. So when this happens, Flow Fitique advises to give your mat a quicky dry wipe or use a light vacuum.
The hemp mats are available in a variety of natural colors, and at closer look, you will be able to appreciate its amazing rugged texture.
Order your hemp mats at the Flow Fitique Instagram page.
Cork mats is one of the newest comers in the yoga mat scene, and it’s getting rave reviews from yogis around the world—and for good reason! Cork mats are highly eco-friendly and eco-sourced, since it’s made with cork that is harvested through stripping down tree barks. This means that there’s no cutting down of trees involved, because the bark only naturally regrows.
Cork mats are also becoming a favorite for those who sweat a lot through powerful yoga sessions or even hot yoga classes like Bikram, because it can stay grippy even when drenched in sweat.
If you’re concerned that your mat will go icky because of how well it absorbs moisture, you’ll be pleased to know that cork has antimicrobial properties, which helps repel mold and mildew away, which means it’s practically self-cleaning and doesn’t smell.
If you’re ready to invest on a mat that will last you a lifetime, get your very own Manduka Pro. This mat is what all the pro yogis are using because of its durability and eco-friendly promise. It comes in different sizes to suit your height, at 6mm-thickness for high-density cushioning, and is covered by their lifetime guarantee. This means that they promise that the mat won’t wear out from yoga practice and if it does, they’ll get you a new one free of charge.
What’s even more interesting about the Manduka Pro is that it’s made with non-toxic, emissions-free, and latex-free PVC. Compared to regular PVC manufacturing, Manduka makes sure that the way they produce their mats are certified emissions-free by the OEKO-TEX, a European association for textile industries. Since it’s durable and guaranteed to last a lifetime, you’re also reducing the waste you add to the landfills.
To make sure you can make the most out of your Manduka mat, they only recommend using their proprietary mat cleaner or water.
You can get your Manduka mats from Certified Calm on Instagram.