Yoga has become popular as a form of physical exercise that promotes improved control of the body and mind and enhanced well-being. During ancient times, Indian yogis practiced directly on the grass or dirt. Rugs made out of tiger or deer skins were also used; although, the scarcity and high price of them meant that they were never particularly widespread.
When yoga became popular in the West, rubber, cotton and towel mats were used. A yoga mat is a type of mat that is made specifically for yoga practice. Yoga mat provides a cushioned and non-slip surface, which makes it easier to perform yoga asanas comfortably and safely. However, a yoga mat is definitely not a necessity for a fulfilling yoga practice. Some may as well practice on a bare floor if they find it comfortable. Most practitioners though use a yoga mat for a few reasons. Hygiene is a major factor why people opt to use mats. The mats that can be rented or used for free at the studio do not seem to be cleaned very often. No one would appreciate it during the Dolphin pose or low plank. Even if the studio floor is often cleaned after sessions, there is will still be a risk of diseases. These factors would make it clearer to understand why most practitioners prefer their own mats.
There is a wide variety of yoga mats now that are being sold worldwide. They come in a vast array of styles, colors, and patterns. Some are eco-friendly, while others are designed to be easy to use and carry around anywhere. The main purpose of a yoga mat is to help practitioners maintain the grip of the feet and hands while being able to extend the body into any position. The standard size for a yoga mat is 68 inches long and 24 inches wide, but there are no fixed measurements set by yoga professionals. While there is a wide variety of mats to choose from, there are also help guides for practitioners to know where to start when choosing a yoga mat, and the perfect length.
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Different Lengths for Various Heights
The first thing to consider is the practitioner’s height and size. The person may end up with their knees and hands going onto the dirty and hard floor in many positions with a small mat. The long yoga mat, in this case, can make a huge difference in the ability to enjoy the yoga experience more. The standard length of a yoga mat is equivalent to a person who stands at 5’8”. For practitioners beyond that height, or simply want a longer mat, there are longer yoga mats that come in lengths of 71 inches, 72 inches, 74 inches, and 84 inches. There are even extra-long mats that are beyond 7 feet long.
It is suggested that the practitioners find a mat that allows their head and feet to be on the mat when lying flat. Extra-long yoga mats will be slightly heavier to carry, and a little bulkier when rolled up, but this is a small con compared to the pros of being comfortable during the yoga practice.
Yoga mats with 28 or 30-inch widths are also available. These are wider than the 24-inch standard width but are great for those who want a little more wiggle room for poses on the back of the mat. Also, wider mats are perfect, if you need extra space for poses such as a wide legged forward fold or gate pose, where hands, legs, and feet tend to go off the mat.
Knowing the Perfect Length through Yoga Poses
To check the length of the mat reliably, practitioners may do a Downward Dog pose. The hands and feet should be on the mat in such a pose. If they find their toes hang over the edge in this position using a standard sized mat, they should try one at 70″ or 73″ inches. This should keep them from sliding out of Downward-Facing Dog, even during vigorous flowing Ashtanga practice. Short yoga mats might make it difficult for practitioners to relax.
Another position that practitioners may try before buying a yoga mat is the Corpse Pose. Since it is really important to consider a mat that is long enough, this pose could be tested to ensure that when lying on the floor the face or head would also be on the mat and not on the bare floor. This could be for several reasons: for cushioning, to keep the head off of a cold floor, or just for comfort when in a public studio. This can be one of the most important options to consider, especially when using a yoga mat for Restorative Yoga.
The practitioners may also test a Chaturanga Pose. If the face goes over the mat while doing the pose, a longer mat is suggested. This may also help them determine if they need to redirect the placement on the mat.
Considering Where to Do Yoga
Where to do yoga also makes a big difference in choosing the perfect mat. If practitioners intend to primarily do yoga at home, for example, they do not need to worry about a lightweight mat that they can transport easily. However, if yoga classes are done outside the home, a mat that is not too long and can be carried around easily is a better choice. For practitioners that travel a lot and do yoga when on the road, they may look into a shorter and lighter weight mat. Others invest in a second yoga mat that they can bring on trips.
People come in all shapes and sizes, therefore, not all mats are created equal. This is why it is important to know how to find the perfect length. Having these factors to consider, choosing the perfect mat can never be hard. Yoga mat length is only one of the factors to consider in choosing the right one; along with texture, color, material, thickness, and other various things. Among these considerations, comfort is what always matters.