You could go into any department or big box store right now and pick up a cheap yoga mat for ten bucks or less. This is in fact what most people do when they first start practicing yoga, but before long they are browsing through sporting goods stores or looking online for a best yoga bolster and thick yoga mat. What is it about the cheap mats that leave people so unsatisfied?
The difference between a thick yoga mat and a cheap mat happens to be much more than the thickness of the materials. There are four main reasons you should save yourself the time and money and purchase a thick yoga mat right from the start.
Proper Body Support
A cheap yoga mat is going to be too thin to offer adequate support to your joints and muscles. While yoga does not require a lot of jumping around like other forms of exercise, it does place enough strain and pressure on your body that you need support to perform each pose correctly and protect your body from injury.
A thick yoga mat will offer more cushioning underneath your feet and support your body more through every pose and every sequence, whether it be lying flat on your back or standing tall.
Depending on the type of floor surface you are practicing on, you will feel it pressing underneath a cheap mat. There is nothing more uncomfortable than rolling across the mat for a floor sequence and feeling your spine or rips pressing into the hard floor beneath.
A thick yoga mat will fix this problem by providing more padding between your body and the hard floor. With a high quality mat you can perform even the most complex floor poses without feeling any discomfort.
Thin yoga mats can even become dangerous, since they are more likely to slide around underneath your feet during moving sequences. This can cause you to lose your balance or even fall to the ground in some stances. At the very least, a sliding mat can break your concentration and ruin the meditative vibes a good yoga workout should deliver.
Since a thicker mat is heavier and more substantial, you should feel more secure and stable while moving around on it.
A thick yoga mat will be more durable than the cheap mats sold through most stores, which is probably the most valuable perk. You may save some money in the beginning if you go with a lower priced thin mat, but in the long run you will likely spend a lot more money replacing that thin mat as it starts to tear apart or wear down.
If you use your mat regularly or have a heavier body weight, you can actually save yourself money by purchasing a thick yoga mat that will hold up much better to regular use.
For all of these reasons, most people who regularly practice yoga end up with a thick yoga mat before long. They are simply more cost effective and much more supportive for the type of movement a consistent yoga practice requires.