It was my partner who actually chose my first yoga mat, he’s pretty amazing at researching good deals on high quality brands and he knew I wanted a yoga mat to call my own so that I may begin my yoga journey from student to teacher.
I had dabbled in yoga since I was 19 and in my mid 20’s I was beginning to be serious about it, alongside fitness and holistic health; coupled with a sudden career change I decided there and then at age 26 I wasn’t going to chase work experience centered around Art Therapy anymore because I was tired of rejection after rejection after rejection and I knew this rejection was more the universe telling me this was the wrong path and it was trying to steer me on the right road, so I stood proud and mighty and said “I want to be a community art tutor and a belly dance and yoga teacher! I want to teach holistic things!” My Mum said “I think that’s a fantastic idea”, others said “Are you mad?”, Jon was pretty neutral and said “Well if that’s what you want, I’ll help you buy your first mat on the condition you show up and work your butt off in yoga class.” This first mat was a Christmas present to start yoga classes in the New Year (How Original of me, ha!)
I am now 31 with bundles of knowledge in health, wellbeing and fitness, I’m a proud kids and (soon to be) teens yoga teacher and I still practice with this first yoga mat purchased 6 years ago.
So what was Jon looking for when buying a Yoga mat for me? He wanted something that is a great starter mat for beginners, something of a reasonable price- just in case yoga doesn’t end up being a part of my life and the mat is shoved in a dark corner of the basement to be forgotten- there is no point in spending obscene amounts of money on something you are just starting out in, unless you are absolutely certain you are going to stick with it. And the colour was important too because he knows I dislike the pink tones and wouldn’t like anything too girly.
The Tree of Life Yoga mat by Gaiam ticked all the boxes. It’s a wonderful beginner mat, non slip, plenty of cushioning for knees and wrists not used to stretching on floor surfaces, there is no chemical smell, the texture is very grippy making it easier for the yogi to transition from one move to another with ease and at about £20 on amazon it’s a bargain price for anyone wanting to give yoga a try, if you are on a budget or for those who want to start up a gentle home practice, it’s also great for newbie teachers who again need to buy equipment on a budget to start up their business. The Gaiam tree of life yoga mat has a very pretty design on it, thus would make any church hall, community centre or old office space look and feel more aesthetically pleasing to your students walking in the room for the first time.
I have been practicing yoga now for almost 6 years, attending classes in Hatha, Vinyasa, Hot, Yin, Budokon, restorative and Ashtanga. I feel I am now ready to research a more professional mat that helps me advance in my practice. The Gaiam mat is wonderful and I want to buy more, perhaps maybe 7 more for future classes and students, but now as a kids and young adults teacher (with aspirations to do a 200hr yoga teacher training) I want something that helps me have better alignment, is eco-friendly and gives me extra support as I gain confidence in arm balances and inversions, but I am not sure where to start?
I discovered this brilliant reviews company who published an article recently about the 10 overall best yoga mats they highly recommend. Written by a yoga instructor, the article discusses a wonderful array of yoga mats in depth. Drawing from previous experience, many years teaching and over 50 hours analyzing yoga mats and their reviews from students and teachers alike, this article gives an extensive review that helps us yogis choose the right yoga mat for our personal practice from what is the best eco-friendly, best grip, most durable, best budget beginner mat to most low maintenance and best non-slip mat. This review offers much variety to help you ponder what is best for you and from reading it, I feel that the Lifeforme Mat is going to be next mat because for me as a dyslexic I value the alignment markers etched directly on it’s surface and it helps that it is non-slip and eco-friendly.
If you wish to read the full article click here: Best Yoga Mat on Reviews.com
As stated in the review article, your yoga mat is something you invest in, it’s going to be your buddy in class and at home and it is advised you do a bit of research first. Take your time though, ask around, ask your teacher and play with a few different styles before you make a purchase. I adore my Gaiam tree of life mat, it’s been a brilliant companion to my practice when I first started out and I’ll still keep it for when I teach my own classes but I am ready to buy something a little more professional as I feel its going to really help me advance in my practice- especially since I feel like I am ready to try more challenging asanas like arm balances and inversions. My birthday is coming up this October, I might buy my new mat as a birthday gift to myself very soon!
“When a yoga mat feels just right for you, it can make all the difference in your practice.”-Reviews.com