Buying a yoga mat

images4IY14NLYIf you are a yoga beginner perhaps you’ve been to a yoga class at a studio or gym and used one of their mats.  You probably wished you had your own because who knows how clean those mats are.  That was me so I dashed out to a sports store before my next class and bought the cheapest blue mat I could find.  The mat was kind of slimy and had no traction.  Not useful for yoga – yet it was marketed as a yoga mat!  Next I ordered another one online.  It was better but still not that great.  Finally, at a yoga fund raiser I just observed what other yogis were using and bought another one – my final yoga mat – which I am happy with.  I think many beginners go through this.  You agree that this is a waste of time and money I’m sure.  I mean, the yoga mat is such a key element in yoga.  The wrong one could turn someone off of yoga.  The right mat is so important so here are a few tips to consider.

Environment and health – the materials that your mat are made of are important.  You do not want a mat which emits toxic smells as you practice something that is so good for your body.  In the same token, yogis are as a group, environmentally friendly.  Look for mats which are free of PVC.  Most cheap mats are made with this.  Look for mats made of natural materials.  Ones made of natural rubber are long lasting, made of a sustainable substance, and offer good traction and cushioning.  Other natural materials include cork and cotton.  These sound very natural but cork mats are not particularly long lasting.  Cotton mats offer little traction.

Length – if you are tall you will probably want to buy a longer mat.

Some trusted mat brands to consider – tried and true by yogis around the world.

Manduka  – I bought their Black Mat PRO thick mat.  It is great to practice on.  Good grip; good amount of cushion.  I am short so I bought the 71″ length.  There is an 85″ one available.  The mat weighs about 7lbs so a little heavy.  It costs about $100 but it is well worth it.  It is also guaranteed for life.  Additionally it is 100% latex free.  And manufacturing releases no emissions; environmentally responsible.

Prana – this company also sells sustainable merchandise. Their mats are priced between $30 and $90.  Their Nomad travel mat is a great option if you travel extensively.  There is a little less cushion though so bear that in mind for kneeling poses.  These mats are all made of natural materials.

Jade Yoga –  this company is committed to manufacturing the best, earth friendly, and quality yoga mats in the world.  They offer a variety of mats that are priced between $55 and $120.  They also offer an extra wide (28″) mat.

To your health.


Laboratory workers: wrist injuries and yoga solutions

One of the most common types  of workplace injuries found in laboratory workers involve the wrists.  Manipulation of small specimen tubes, pipetting, and keyboarding are tough on our wrists.  Over time this can lead to problems such as carpal tunnel syndrome.

Take the Pain Out of Pipetting is a pamphlet from the California Department of Health Services which provides information about how to help ease your pain at work.  It also explains some laws regarding Repetitive Motion Injuries.  Check it out!

In the meantime you probably want to ease some pain.  Or interested in some simple ways to help prevent wrist problems from even starting.  Either way I suggest watching and following along with Tara Stiles as she leads you through a short 5 minute video.  Don’t worry, you will need no yoga experience at all to reap the benefits!

Some tips:

  • breathe fully and deeply as you try the exercises
  • do what feels good for you
  • if 10 reps seem too many, try 5

To your health

P.S. I’d love your feedback if you have a couple of minutes.  Please contact me with any comments, ideas, or just to say hi!