Whether you're hitting up the hot yoga studio, practicing some meditative asanas or doing your daily Pilates workout, a good yoga mat is a critical piece of gear. Yoga mats provide cushioning to protect your joints and spine from hard floors and also help you hold your pose more easily. A brightly coloured or patterned mat can even help express your personality when you're participating in group classes or workshops. Walmart Canada's wide selection of exercise mats lets you find the one that fits your needs.
Not all yoga mats are the same, so it's important to understand what goes into creating one. Three main materials are used to make yoga mats. The most common is PVC, which offers plenty of padding and has the added benefit of being slightly tacky, which gives you a better grip during hot yoga or other intense workouts. Closed-cell foam is also a common part of the construction. Some yoga mats use it alone, while others coat it with a layer of PVC for easier cleaning. Rubber mats are also a popular choice due to their eco-friendly construction, but they tend to be heavier and can weigh down your yoga bag, although some people engaging in strength-training might see that as an added benefit.
Those various construction materials can create a big difference in the feel of a mat. Thicker foam exercise mats may be more comfortable for people with joint pain or other challenges, but they can also make it more difficult to hold certain poses since there's more give in the surface. Thinner mats with a stickier surface give you a better grip, but some people don't like that sticky feel under their skin. Ribbed and textured surfaces create a compromise, letting you choose a mat with a less sticky feel while still getting the grip you need to safely and effectively complete your yoga or Pilates routine.
When you're choosing a yoga mat, don't forget to think about how you want to carry it. Unless you're doing your routine at home in front of an exercise DVD every day, you'll probably be toting your mat to class and workshops and retreats. Some mats come with a built-in carrying strap that makes it easy to roll up and go. A special yoga bag designed for your mat is another good choice. These come in a variety of colours and patterns to coordinate with your mat. Look for one with mesh inserts or vented sides to help prevent moisture build-up if you don't always remove your mat as soon as you get home.
Another option is a larger duffel-style yoga bag, which can be a great choice if you like to bring your own blocks, balls and other exercise accessories. Some come with a special pocket that fits a rolled-up mat, while others are simply large enough to accommodate everything in the interior pocket. These also work well as storage to reduce clutter in your home gym.
Style may not be everything when it comes to exercise, but it's still a fun way to express your unique personality. Fortunately, yoga mats come in a variety of colours to match any look. Create a peaceful, meditative feel with a subtle blue or green one, or get a little sassy with a bright pink or red option. Black yoga mats have a neutral look that's great for men and women alike. Choose branded gear from companies like Everlast for a classic gym style, or look for a mat with floral designs or abstract patterns for a more peaceful, yoga-inspired air. Buying one as part of a full yoga or Pilates kit can help you easily match all your workout gear.
Whether you're shopping for your first yoga mat or just looking for a new colour to coordinate with your favourite workout clothes, Walmart Canada can help you find the right one.