While selecting a yoga mat, keep the following properties of mat material in mind.
1.Tactile texture: The more textured the surface of your mat is, the better it will be for grip. A textured surface will generate more friction on contact, which will prevent slipping. Mat material with more tactile texture will also support your posture balance. Generally, when natural fibers are used as materials that create better tactile texture.
2.Thickness: The Thickness of your mat will be determined by the total quantity of material packed in your mat. A thick mat will provide you with better comfort and cushioning. On the contrary, thickness will reduce the portability.
3.Breathability: The breathability is determined by the density of material in your mat. The higher the density of your mat, the lesser will be the breathability. A breathable yoga mat will promptly absorb body heat and dissipate it. However, a greater density will increase the cushioning. You need the right balance of density. Neither high enough to hinder breathability nor low enough to reduce cushioning.
4.Free of harmful chemicals: Certain cheap variants of PVCs and EVAs can pose potential health hazards. The synthesis of such materials uses chemicals that can cause irritation to the skin, and may even emit toxic gases on reacting with the surrounding. Such chemicals also tend to have a strong bothersome smell. Once again mats made of natural fibers are best when it comes to health.
5.Durability: The performance quality of your yoga mat will determine the durability of its material. Factors like heat resistance, weather resistance, tactile strength, abrasion resistance, compression and elasticity, all build the durability of your material. Mats build from synthetic polymers like PVC, Polyurethane, NBR, PER, and TPE are all very durable.
6.Eco-friendly: Yoga mat materials that are renewable, biodegradable, and leave a minimum carbon footprint on production, are considered eco-friendly. Most industrial-grade materials leave a hefty carbon footprint and take up to 1000 years to biodegrade. Obviously enough the natural fibers win when it comes to eco-friendliness.
7.Flexibility and weight: Lightweight materials like TPE and cotton yoga mats are extremely easy to carry around. Mats made from these materials are also very flexible, that bend and fold easily.
8.Moisture absorption: Porous materials like hemp, jute, cotton, and cork have high fluid and moisture absorption capacity. This property will prove particularly helpful when you sweat a lot on the mat. You need to consider this property even if you reside in a location with high moisture level.
9.Insulation: Most of the natural fibers, rubber being an exception, are good conductors of electricity and heat, which give them a poor insulation ability. The synthetic materials on the other stop the passage of electricity and heat, which is helpful in preventing certain accidents.