Yoga is a great physical activity that requires a basic item to be practised, the yoga mat. Yoga mats are available in a relatively standard size and are generally made from a few common materials. Rubber mats are the most common. The thickness can vary and depending on style of yoga or personal preferences one can pick the right one for them. Available at many different prices, one can figure their budget and decide what they are comfortable spending on a yoga mat.
The basic yoga equipment
Yoga is a physical, mental and spiritual discipline that originated in India from the sixth and fifth centuries BCE. The yoga mat is the most simple item needed to do yoga a bit more conveniently. A hard surface could be painful for the joints. Yoga mats are designed to be relatively soft and help with grip in positions where losing grip might cause injury. Before there were modern materials yoga was practised on the bare ground, grass, a rug or the skin of an animal.
Materials used for yoga mats
Available in a variety of materials today, including rubber, plastic, hessian and cork. The various types have a tradeoff between grip, cost, softness and weight. The two more common types are the rubber and cork ones. With cork being a more expensive option, it has good grip, a pleasant texture and the property of being somewhat self-cleaning due to the phenols present in cork. Rubber mats are the easiest to find. Smooth mats have the best grip and thus work better for the more intensive styles of yoga. Mats with texture generally have more padding and also depending on the material have enough grip. These can also be more useful with yoga in which positions have to be held for longer.
Yoga mats often have different graphic designs on them and there are mats that are 'alignment mats'. These ones have a design that helps with proper alignment of hands and feet, helping yogis in practice. The general length and width are somewhat standard, at 6 feet long and 2 feet wide. Yoga mats are available in varied thicknesses, this can be chosen depending on how comfortable one is with less or more padding. The prices vary a lot, depending on the material, quality and brand. Prices start from being very expensive to cheap.
The fact that one sees yoga mats so often today has been referred to as "One of the most ubiquitous symbols of yoga's commercialization".