Your Yoga Mat Matters! Feat. Mats for Tall People
Something that isn't discussed very often is how much your yoga mat can make you feel like you can (or can't) do yoga. As a yoga instructor I have flowed and restored on many yoga mats. Mats can vary in shapes, sizes, and materials!
Personally, as someone with leather hands I'm very particular about the types of mats I use. Most regular mats found in big box stores are SLIPPERY. When I first tried yoga on this type of mat I found it weird that my hands kept sliding off. I even asked a teacher why my hands were sliding and was told that my hands weren’t placed/pressing in properly. So I tried the methods I was giving and found that I was still sliding! To be honest I felt like I just couldn’t do it. Down dog felt terrifying because I was always worried about slipping and busting my face. So I didn't even want to try more advanced inversions on my hands.
Fortunately, as I tried different brands of mats I was able to find a mat that allowed for me to find the placement of my hands where I felt that my palms wouldn’t slide! Then I ran into another issue. My shoulders felt squished. It felt like there wasn’t enough room for my shoulders to press down my back, which also made my neck feel uncomfortable. I later found that this was due to my hands being placed 6” apart instead of a distance closer to shoulder width. With that information I placed my hands closer to shoulder width only to feel nervous because the tip of my pinky finger and the top of my ring finger were off the mat so the placement of my hands felt unstable once again.
That's when I thought “there has to be a mat for me” because I saw people as big as me practicing with ease on their mats which looked so much different than mine. It finally clicked that I needed to find a mat as big as me.
So that is why I want to share these mats with you today. As someone who is 6'2" with hands like leather and feet that sweat, I want you to know that sometimes it’s not you it’s the mat.
Below are some of the mats that have made my practice feel more available to me.
Lululemon: The Reversible (Big) Mat, $88
The size (28"W x 84"L) and texture of this mat make it one of my favorites. I use the smoother side which allows for my hands and feet to feel more secure. Another plus is how even when my heels are a bit rough I don’t “cut the mat” and pieces of the mat don’t end up all over my body 🙌🏾
Note: It is the widest mat on the list so if you feel like your mat is too narrow this might be one to try.
B Yoga: The B MAT Strong Long, $104
This 26"W x 85"L mat can take some sweat. As if there was a vacuum within, sweat drips and absorbs quickly so that hands and feet don't start sliding all over! This mat has similar dimensions to the one above but definitely has more of a "grip" to it!
Note: I will say that when my feet were a bit rougher it did cut up the mat a bit and pieces of the mat were on my body but that did not have an affect on the performance of this mat. Also I own the travel version, but I want to recommend the strong because the travel mat is quite thin. So if you’re practicing on a harder surface or have more sensitive knees, the strong might work best for you.
Jade Yoga: XW FUSION, $179.95
Last but not least is this mat from Jade Yoga. Jade yoga mats were the first mats that made my hands and feet feel safe and were the longest mats I owned when I began my yoga journey. This mat is the newest edition to their family. With a size of 28"W x 80"L, if you're tall but not SUPER tall so you know you want extra length but not 85" maybe give this a try. A plus of these mats is that Jade plants a tree for each mat you purchase.
Note: I will say that, similar to the mat above, when my feet were a bit rougher it did cut up the mat a bit and pieces of the mat were on my body but that did not have an affect on the performance of this mat.
There you have it! My relationship with yoga mats as well as a few to get you started on your journey. Now I will say these are investment pieces but personally they are worth the investment 🙏🏾
If you have mats you love, let me know what they are in the comments 💜