Why should you BYOM?

That’s Bring Your Own Mat, btw. Don’t have one? Well here’s the definitive guide to rectifying the sorry situation you’re in. But wait, you might be asking yourself why you should have your own mat in the first place. You might be doing  fine on the ones at the gym, you’re not that fussed about doing yoga on your own cos’ it kinda sucks, and you think that lugging a mat around is just another hassle in life. I’ve already proved that owning a mat makes you 10% healthier, but if that isn’t enough of an incentive and you’re still not convinced, read on:

The hygienic option

The most compelling reason to have your own mat is one of hygiene. If you’ve noticed as you settle into child pose that the mats at the gym have started to smell pretty bad, and if you’ve thought about where the B went in the LBT class that ended right before yoga, and now think about where your nose is, and why the mat is slightly moist, and because you’re being really mindful you think about the whole process of smell, of how tiny particles from someone else’s sweaty ass are currently swilling around inside your nostrils, you might suddenly think that having a mat of your own has soared to the top of life’s priorities.

You wouldn't want to do child pose on this guy, so why do it on the mat that he's left most of his bodily fluids on?
You wouldn’t want to do child pose on this guy, so why do it on the mat that he’s left most of his bodily fluids on?


Mat methodology

So now you want to buy a mat. But there’s almost too much choice out there. As with everything these days, the range goes from something you can pick up in TK Maxx for under a fiver to something with triple-layer construction, triple-figure price tag, and enough inspiring copy on the packaging to make you feel like you’re practically enlightened already. It’s overwhelming, but don’t go on the price alone. Ask yourself a couple of questions first:

  • How often are you going to use it? A couple of times a week? Every day? Once, then never again?
  • What sort of yoga are you using it for? Gentle hatha, or fiery vinyasa?
  • Where are you going to use it? At home or in the studio?
  • How much cushioning do you want? Thin and light, or thick and heavy?
  • Do you care about the environment? If not, who the hell are you? Why do you hate polar bears and rare jungle tree frogs?

red eyed jungle tree frog

Anyway, back to the point. If you’re new to yoga, maybe don’t empty the piggy bank for a top-grade mat that might – despite your excellent intentions – sit unused under the stairs. If yoga’s something you do a couple of times a week,  then maybe think about going for something more durable than the entry-point mats. And if yoga is something you do everyday, you probably don’t need me to tell you to go for something sturdy and long-lasting. There’s no point spending £20 on a mat that’ll wear out in a year of daily practice. You’ll just be filling the planet with more toxic plastic.

The mats

So I’m still waiting for one more mat to arrive in the post. I’ve got three lined up, rolled out, and fully tested – but to keep things simple, I’m going to put the whole lot into a single blog and leave it at that. This week, fingers crossed, the postman will arrive with the last mat. He must think I’m some sort of yoga enthusiast or something.

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