Hi, my name is Mat

by Stacey

nametag Looking for a great gift for the seasoned yogini in your life? Or maybe you’re thinking ahead to next year, when you’ll finally start taking that yoga class you’ve always wanted to? Either way, a yoga mat may be just the perfect thing to stash under the tree (it’s a bit awkward to fit into a stocking) or give to yourself as a present for the near future. Even if your yogi already owns a mat, an extra one can come in handy for home practice the day after they left theirs at the studio (a good yoga buzz will cause that to happen sometimes). Yoga mats come in all shapes and sizes, a rainbow of colors, and a riot of prints. You can spend a little or a lot and still get a good mat that will serve as a vehicle for change and transformation. Here are my suggestions for some great mats at a variety of price points:

Budget-Wise – The best deals I’ve seen for mats have been at Marshalls and TJ Maxx. I’ve found trendy names like Wai Lana and Gaiam in a variety of colors and prints for as low as $10. I recently purchased an acupressure mat and pillow by a discontinued brand at a fraction of what I would have paid elsewhere. Look for mats that are ¼” (5mm) thick, as they offer good traction and enough support without being too squishy.

Pretty Prints – As a yoga teacher, I see all kinds of mats and Gaiam seems to produce the prettiest artwork, priced at $15 and up. Patterned yoga mats can be helpful for alignment, as you can line your feet or hands up with the design. Just remember that your mat is probably going to be what you look at the most when you’re in class, so pick a print that isn’t too distracting. That trippy tie dye mat may look cool on the shelf, but the psychedelic pattern may wreak havoc with your concentration in class!

Solid Choices – Solid colored mats are always a safe choice, especially if you know your recipients favorite color. The Prana E.C.O. mat is two-sided, with different colors and textures on each side. It’s the yoga mat that is used in classes at Kripalu. At $48 retail, it is a more expensive, albeit eco-friendly gift – but your favorite yogi is worth it, don’t you think?

Novelty Acts – For the yogini who has everything, why not mat that is a bit of a conversation starter? Mandala offers a round mat that can bring a new perspective to the usual yoga practice, priced at $69. Is your yogi larger than life? An extra-wide or extra long mat from Jade Yoga may be the perfect size. These mats retail for $79.95. Looking for the Nike Air of mats? The $94 Manduka Black Mat Pro is the choice of yogis who like to push the boundaries of their practice. And for the yogi who really wants to stand out in the crowd, upload a photo to Yogamatic and create a custom printed yoga mat. Prices start at $89 for mats and yoga towels start at $79.

Better Than Basic – Want to go upscale but are downsizing on costs this year? There are several wholesale yoga suppliers who sell to the public, offering excellent quality and customer service. While their colors may be more limited, their styles are often comparable to the name brand companies and sold at lower retail prices. Check out YogaAccessories.com, YogaDirect.com, and BarefootYoga.com for inspiration.

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