I need to say this - get your own mat. If there were one thing I would recommend you invest in - it's a mat. Our mats are a place we move, sweat, cry and find peace ☮️ As you nestle down into swan pose with your face pretty much on the mat, connecting with that mat and yourself, your energy on the mat and your scent. Just think how much you want to be connecting with your own space, scent and energy.
Here at TYPP we offer free use of our mats when you attend a class, each mat is disinfected after each use - but even then there is something to be said about having your own.
Lulu mats are great, made of natural rubber, and thankfully have an antimicrobial additive that helps prevent mould and mildew. As much as lulu mats are awesome - it's not your own mat. The mats we have in TYPP come in different sizes, thickness and colours. Some people love a really thick mat - like a big mattress, others like to feel more connected to the earth and want to be on a very minimal mat, and many connect their energy with different colours. Some of you, if you're like me, don't really care about any of that - you just want it to be comfortable and clean.
If I'm being frank, deep inside a small part of me sinks inside using a mat that's not my own. I think it comes from being a weird clean freak - I love to clean, I love seeing things sparkle and get a sense of calm and relaxation when I clean 🧽
When I'm using a mat that isn't mine - there isn't much quiet happening in my head - I'm internally freaking out!
Yoga and Pilates is a movement-based exercise, so your skin will most definitely be in contact with the surface of the mat. You will also be sweating as you move around. And of course, the sweat drips down onto the mat. Yeah, we disinfectant the mats, but... having your own mat, your place and scent, your sweat - now there's a place of calm and peace of mind. 🙏🏻
I spoke to Megan on this. Megan, as well as being a Pilates teacher, is a Yoga teacher and currently doing her Iyengar yoga teacher training - I wanted to know what her take was on mats from a Yogi's perspective.
“If you have been practising yoga for more than 6 weeks your yoga teacher, especially your Iyengar trained yoga teacher, will have recommended that you start a home practice. Once you have your own mat, you have your own personal yoga space. You wouldn’t borrow someone else’s trainers to run in, not just for hygiene reasons but because the shoes wear around your foot shape. Yoga mats are the same – they adjust to your practice. I’ve listed some other reasons why you should bring your own mat below:
A familiar mat that you have chosen and used for your practice connects you to yoga and is part of your home yoga ritual.
You can choose the mat that best suits your practice and your budget.
Hygiene – the practice of yoga literally embodies the concept of physical and mental hygiene. Yoga does not just comprise the physical exercises that we in the West are most familiar with. It is a whole system of knowledge and practices from the Vedas, the Indian scriptures that many experts now believe may be the oldest scriptures on our planet, dating back possibly more than 10,000 years. A handful of subsequent scriptural texts explained the philosophy behind this larger yoga system.
One of the best known of these yoga scriptures is the Yoga Sutras by the sage Patanjali, written in the second century BC (“Yoga Sutras”).
Patanjali divided Yoga into Eight Limbs, the purpose of these Eight Limbs is to provide us with a structure for our lives, which if followed, will enable us to drop our poor habits.
One of the Eight Limbs is SAUCHA. Saucha translates as cleanliness or purity, external and internal.
Saucha reaches beyond that immediate meaning of personal hygiene – it means constantly keeping our energies clean so that we can literally see better and feel energetically lighter. (Image from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yoga_Sutras_of_Patanjali)
There are subtle levels of energy that we accumulate throughout our day on our clothes, hair, skin and yoga mat. The simple act of cleaning and caring for yourself and your mat will help you feel fresh and clean.
Saucha also means leaving your shoes at the entrance before you walk into a yoga studio – there are vast numbers of carcinogens and toxins. A study conducted by the University of Arizona showed that within 2 weeks new shoes were found to have 440,000 units of bacteria (including E.coli), some of which could lead to such conditions as pneumonia and bloodstream infections.
When you walk into a yoga studio, there is calming and peaceful energy. When we learn how to handle our mats with care after class and keep our yoga place clear and clean, we bring the essence of respect for all things into our practice. This is yoga."
I hope this has given you time to think about getting your mat and having your very own sanctuary. I had some of the team in TYPP to give their best recommendation for mats - this is what they would recommend if you asked them in person the best place to get your mat and what they look for in a mat. Here you go, hope this helps you find your perfect one.
Megan loves https://ekotexyoga.co.uk/collections/yoga-mats, a Scottish company with mats to suit all budgets.
Fi really loves her Manduka mat. She did admit it is expensive but looks at it as an investment - it's lasted her years and years and is still going strong. https://www.manduka.com/eu/
Finally, Ali loves the Airex mats https://www.my-airex.com/en/products/pilates_yoga/ Ali loves that they have great floor grip and feels secure on the floor (some mats can slip about) amazing cushion on joints, easy clean & roll up easy. If you like a comfortable squishy mat then Ali recommends as she loves the cushioning support for those boney areas. 😃
Why not come along and show us your mat, what did you choose and why?
If you haven't been over to us before we're in Kinning Park in Glasgow - you can have your first Yoga or Pilates class with us for free - click over here
Sarah Jane (SJ) & team #TYPP