5 Signs It's Time to Get a New Yoga Mat
A well used and loved yoga mat will show signs of wear over time. But at what point does that wear become counterproductive to your practice?
If you’re wondering whether it’s time to say goodbye to your old yoga mat, here are 5 clear signs that it’s time for an upgrade.
1. Your Yoga Mat is Thinning
Is your mat thinning out in the middle where you usually stand? Or maybe even have an imprint of your body, like a memory foam mattress? If so, then it’s time for a new mat.
If your mat is too thin, then it’s not offering the cushion you need to support and protect you in your practice. You’ll probably notice this most in positions where your knees are in direct contact with the mat, like table top.
But if your mat is thin in some areas and thicker in others, it can actually be harmful. Proper alignment is critical for practicing yoga asana correctly and safely. If you’re not practicing on even ground, then your body will naturally seek ways to compensate and find balance, which can put you out of alignment.
Practicing on uneven ground every now and then is not a big deal (for example, if you’re practicing outdoors). But if you're practicing on an uneven mat every single day, then this can add up over time to exacerbate skeletal problems. This is especially true for yogis with spinal issues like scoliosis.
2. Your Yoga Mat is Crumbling or Disintegrating
Is your yoga mat crumbling, disintegrating, or generally just falling apart?
If you’ve ever practiced at a yoga studio or gym with shared, low cost mats, then you’ve probably seen this before. These cheap yoga mats will start to lose chunks of their material, especially on the bottom or heavy use areas, like where you stand in mountain pose.
If you’re using one of those yoga mats with a bright colored, popcorny texture (like those that are commonly sold in sporting goods stores), then this is almost guaranteed to happen.
Cheap yoga mats are cheap for a reason- they’re not built to last. Not only does this end up being a waste of money, but it’s environmentally unfriendly.
If your yoga mat is falling apart, then it’s definitely time to invest in a higher quality one.
3. Your Yoga Mat is Losing Grip
Has the surface of your yoga mat smoothed out over time, making it less grippy?
Practicing on a slippery mat is difficult, frustrating, and dangerous. If you’re unable to ground your hands and feet on your mat, then you’re going to struggle to find proper alignment in your asanas. If you’re constantly worried about slipping and sliding, then you’re not being present in your practice. And if you’re doing a particularly sweaty or flighty flow, like a Hot Yoga Style practice, then there is potential to banana peel or faceplant.
*Side Note: most experienced yogis have had their fair share of faceplants. Sometimes they can be a good learning experience, but why not avoid them if we can!
One solution for this is to use a yoga towel on top of your mat. However, towels don’t allow you to have the same direct feedback as with the naked mat, and oftentimes they get bunched up and just become another distraction. Overall, you’re better off upgrading your mat for something with better traction.
For unparalleled, gecko level grip, go with a Cork Yoga Mat.
4. Your Wrists Are Hurting from Your Yoga Practice
One of the most common issues people struggle with in their yoga practice is wrist pain in downward facing dog. If you’re familiar with Vinyasa yoga (a style of practice with a loooot of downward dogs and chaturangas) then you have likely experienced this first hand.
Wrist pain is most often a sign of misalignment in your downward facing dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana.) To set up this pose correctly and effectively alleviate pressure in your wrists, follow these tips:
- Make sure your index finger (not your middle finger) is pointing towards the top of the mat. This will create a slight external rotation in the wrists.
- Ground down through the “L’s” of your hand (index finger and thumb). This will allow you to push away from the mat using the joints of your fingers, instead of the base of your palm.
- Create an external rotation in your shoulders. To do this, try rolling your shoulders away from your ears. This will help to keep your other arm muscles engaged.
- Avoid dumping your weight towards the mat. Instead, imagine yourself lifting away from the mat and up through your hips.
However, even in perfect alignment, yogis with sensitive wrists can still experience discomfort or pain. If this sounds like you, then you’re going to upgrade your yoga mat for a more supportive one.
Our cork yoga mats have a pourace, flexible surface and a 4mm layer of rubber padding underneath, offering a great amount of support, cushion, and protection.
5. Your Yoga Mat No Longer Serves Your Practice
Even if your yoga mat is still in great condition, it just might not be serving your practice anymore.
Maybe you bought a cheap yoga mat because you were new to the practice, and now that you absolutely love yoga, you’re ready to invest in something higher quality.
Or, perhaps you’ve recently become conscious about the environmental burden of your yoga mat, and you want to switch to a more sustainable alternative.
Your yoga mat is your partner in your physical yoga practice. It’s important that you feel safe and connected to your mat, and that it offers exactly what you need for your yogic journey. If you’re not vibing with your mat for one reason or another, then it’s time to get a new one.
What Should You Do With Your Old Yoga Mat?
Don’t throw your yoga mat out. Instead, try repurposing it one of these creative, environmentally friendly ways!
Are You Ready for a New Yoga Mat?
To shop our cork yoga mats & blocks, click here. 🦎