While Yoga has existed for over five thousand years, if you think of modern Yoga as we know it today, one of the first things that comes to mind is the yoga mat. More than just a tool we use, it is also metaphor that represents the space where our minds can be free of the daily pressures and stresses of daily life.
But they are more than that, when it comes to the standing postures, attempting them on other surfaces, such as sand, grass and do on, requires a lot of strength just to stop your feet from sliding apart, and that takes away from the Yoga experience itself, and can even cause problems. When bracing yourself to avoid sliding on these kinds of surfaces, extra pressure can be places on joints, especially knees and ankles, and this in turn can cause damage over time, something that the solid footing of the yoga mat avoids. That is why the yoga mat we know and love has become such essential equipment from everyone from beginners to the masters.
However, there is a problem with the yoga mat, and its one you may have come across before, and that is when you put it on a surface that allows it to move, and the most common instance of this is carpet. Many of us want to practice at home, but putting a yoga mat down on carpet leads to all kinds of problems, as anyone who has tried will know. As soon as you put weight on your hands or feet to attempt a pose, the mat will sink and move under you, and this puts us back in the position of bracing the body against movement, and the potential damage we can do to ourselves by doing so.
There are things that can be done to combat this though, placing the mat on a thin rug can help ease the movement problem, and depending on the carpet, some people do find short sessions bearable without the mat at all. However, for the safest and most effective practice you should be using a mat, so what do you look for?
The key to finding a good mat that works on carpet is looking for a grippy underside. Some mats have pronounced ‘simples’ on the lower side that grip well with the manmade fibers of the carpet and so stay put rather than sliding around, and these are the best bet for using in a carpeted room. The other factor is support, mats have a tendency to sink in to the carpet as pressure is applied, however here a thicker mat that has more support can lessen that effect, providing a more stable, safer and more enjoyable yoga experience at home or anywhere there is a carpet.
The Best Yoga Mats for Carpet
Choosing mats is always a personal thing, and it is worth remembering that thicker mats tend to be heavier if you plan on carrying your mat to the studio to use in classes as well, but here are a couple of the best mats available today that are particularly suitable for use on carpet.
Probably the number one name in yoga mats, Manduka have been selling what many consider the best mats on the market for a long time. The PROLite is 100% latex free, completely nontoxic and uses an environmentally friendly emissions free manufacturing process. It also, importantly, has a proprietary molded grip pattern on the bottom of the mat that means it stays stable on almost any surface, including carpet.
The higher density, closed cell construction offers support while minimizing the ‘sinking’ effect deeper carpet can cause, with a lifetime guarantee and a wide range of colors and sizes to suit all needs and tastes, this is not just the bets mat for carpets, many see it as the best yoga mat for any use.
PrAna Revolution Mat
A completely natural rubber product, the Revolution Mat is completely biodegradable and made from non-amazon tree rubber that is both environmentally sound in manufacture and incredibly effective in use. Giving high levels of grip for the feet, the natural rubber also resists movement when used on carpets, providing a stable foundation for in-home yoga practice.
At 36 inches wide and 86 inches long, it’s a large size, so even if you move around a lot, you will stay on the mat, and its extra thick, dense construction means that the problems of carpet sinking as you distribute weight is all but removed as well. It’s a heavy mat, but as a solution for practicing on carpet, it’s fantastic.