Why? The same reason we have good quality food: it nourishes us. Physically and therefore mentally. Don’t do yoga yet? No problem. Whether you need to meditate, do simple floor exercises or pranayama (breathing exercises) at home, finding comfort on a mat beats sitting on a cold hard bare floor that’s not necessarily clean. One of my very first yoga teachers once said to me “Chand with your own mat you will feel a deeper connection to your practice”. This did not make sense to me until after I bought my first mat.
The mat in a way is your private space, in a world where everything is so interconnected and open. I don’t know about you, but there have been many times where I have craved for ‘space’. I used to complain with “I need space”, “leave me alone” by locking myself up in my room. The mat delineates the borders of your personal territory, in what might otherwise be a very crowded class, or life.
Conventional mats are made from PVC, which don’t last long and according to reports, can contain harmful chemicals like lead, cadmium and phthalates which lead to disruptions in hormone production. A good yoga mat will be made from natural rubber, polyurethane rubber (PU) or these days even cork which has its own benefits.
A cheap PVC mat will not provide good traction with its soft and smooth surface. A good mat made of less sticky material will offer a good grip for your fingers and toes. According to your preference there are different textures for you to choose from. Mats also range from 1.5mm to 6mm thickness, again depending on your preference a thicker mat may be more comfortable for you for the protection of your joints in countless asanas (poses).
A good mat will not stretch out after regular use. I have seen mats that are completely worn out and flimsy after being used barely a few months. A good mat will maintain its dimensions and structure. When it comes to design, I have seen mostly plain mats around but personally, I prefer something with some art on it, I can identify with it and feel more connected this way.
You also need to care for your mat as it cares for you. A good yoga mat will not absorb sweat, odors and dirt as much as a low quality mat will, but still regularly wipe your mats down with a few drops of soap and sprays of water. Try to keep your mat away from direct sunlight.
I started this post almost a year ago! Ironically, my sisters idea of @meowyoga.official did not exist then and the timing of posting could not be better than now; the mats are ready and in stock. Below are 2 of the designs, get in touch for more information!