My entire body is completely sore from dance rehearsal this week. The company director has been giving us Horton technique in our warmups this week, and it is one of the most strenuous sets of exercises ever! My Sun Salutation this morning felt extra great because I got to stretch out all my aching muscles. I love Yoga!
Working at YogaDirect.com, we get a lot of questions from customers looking to purchase certain items we sell on our site. One of the most popular questions asked is regarding what size mat is best for Yoga class. Choosing a Yoga mat, in my opinion, is a very personal decision. Because a Yoga mat acts as a barrier (and personal space) between yourself and the ground, it needs to provide you with enough cushioning, traction, and protection for your own body to safely and efficiently practice Yoga. When choosing a Yoga mat, you should consider its length, thickness, and width.
Your Yoga mat should be proportional to the size of your body. Standard sized Yoga mats work for Yogis under 6ft tall. If you are taller than 6ft, you should consider purchasing an extra long Yoga mat (see one here at YogaDirect.com). There is nothing worse than going to relax in Savasana, only to find that your head or feet are hanging off the end of your mat.
As far as thickness of the mat goes, I always say that it depends on the floor you practice on, as well as the type of Yoga you do. For instance, Bikram Yoga studio floors tend to be carpeted (yucko for mildew), so you may prefer purchasing a 1/8" thick mat (see one here at YogaDirect.com) because you won't need the extra cushioning. However, if your class is held on bare floor, you might want a thicker 1/4" mat (see one here at YogaDirect.com). Also, if you have knee or back problems, having an extra thick mat will be ideal, because it will provide you with extra support in kneeling or laying postures.
Finally, when it comes to the width of the mat, that all depends on how much personal space you are looking for. If you go to a crowded studio, it is always nice to have a wider mat (see one here at YogaDirect.com) on hand if you don't like smooshing up really close to the Yogi next to you. Color is also something to think about when choosing a new Yoga mat. If it is your first time in class and you are a bit modest, it's probably best to stick with a neutral or darker colored mat. For myself, however, I prefer brighter mats because they energize me. The one is use at the moment in my Bikram Yoga class is the 1/4" thick Zen Green Yoga Mat from YogaDirect.com. You can get one by clicking here.
All in all, choosing a Yoga mat is a very personal decision and is totally left up to you. You are, after all, the ruler of your own personal space!