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Why Do I Need a Yoga Mat Anyway?

Sad but true: there are many sports equipment companies who try to get you to buy sport "accessories" that you really do not need in order to be able to do the activity, but yoga mats absolutely do not fall in that category. If you have ever tried to do yoga on a hardwood floor, maybe even a carpeted surface, you know the obstacles you run into - sore tailbone, strained wrists, and the risk of slipping. Nothing heels a downward dog faster than slipping. The good news is that you don't actually have to worry about any of this with a really good yoga mat beneath you.

There are lots of beautiful pictures out there of perfectly symmetrical poses done by yoginis on a beach with no yoga mat. There are even some urban twist photos of buff couples doing incredible couples' yoga directly on the hot tar roof of an inner city building. Seriously? Have you ever tried that? Hope not! Sand, believe it or not, is slippery, painful, and always shifting when you shift (which is terrible when you go to repeat a pose only to find a divet in the sand where your hand should go). Tough-guy sidewalk yoga? Three words: concrete, head, ER. Yoga mats are essential because they provide just enough padding to hopefully prevent a serious injury, and they offer a textured surface (often with a little tacky feel) so slipping isn't an issue. If you use them correctly (not on uneven surfaces like grass, sand, or thick pile carpet), yoga mats will help you stick with your practice for a lifetime. Now that's no accessory; that's a must.

If you're just beginning a yoga practice, you might think you have to have the strap, the block, and the high-priced instructor, but all you really need is a good yoga mat. For beginners, we suggest a mat with a little more padding. Our 5mm yoga mats are easy to care for, come in some pretty awesome colors and patterns, and are extremely affordable. These are kind of the middle ground in terms of thickness. Our Manduka Pro Lite yoga mat also comes in the 5mm thickness but has a fabric-like surface that keeps moisture away from your hands - and this guy comes with a Lifetime Guarantee!

Our thickest yoga mat, the Manduka Pro, is a whopping 6mm thick - that's twice the thickness of our thinnest mat. This is the creme de la creme of yoga mats. The textured finish prevents slipping, the padding ensures comfort yet stability, and it too, is guaranteed for life. All our mats are easy to care for: brush off debris and wipe down with a damp cloth if necessary (maybe even a few drops of essential oil). That's it. No, that's *really* it - you don't need anything else. If you want yoga to become a lifelong activity, all you really need is a yoga mat.

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