Benefits of Having a Yoga Mat
Using a mat can also help protect you from germs if practicing in a studio, gym or school. If you don’t want your bare feet touching the ground that countless other pairs of feet have stepped on, using a yoga mat is probably a good idea. However, if you don’t keep your yoga mat clean and sanitized there’s a good chance it’s even less clean than the floor.
Reasons to Do Yoga Without a Mat
Some people prefer not to use mats because they feel that they are hazardous to the environment, and many companies are trying to cash in on the popularity of yoga by making cheap, poorly made mats. If you feel strongly about these subjects, consider taking yoga outdoors — performing yoga on uneven but comfortable terrain, like sand, grass or even a large, smooth rock can help strengthen your feet and balance. As mentioned before, you can save money while making your practice comfortable indoors by using folded blankets or towels.
Mats can make some people feel restricted in their movements, while others feel it gives them great guidelines for foot placement. The only way to find out what’s best for you is to practice with and without a mat, and make a decision based on your experience and priorities.
*Photo courtesy of Anna Gannon. www.annagannon.com