Your Yoga mat is an important investment, both from the point of view of your practices as well as for your health.
It should offer an excellent base for you to practice on while making you feel safe and comfortable.
Yoga mats should be light, easy to roll up and carry. Also look for Yoga mats that are washable, have good adhesion and meet with instructors' approval. Above all they should provide durability and comfort.
Ideally, Yoga mats should reflect the principles of Yoga, so make sure that they have been made with health and safety considerations in mind. The best Yoga mats are non toxic and eco-friendly; an excellent example of this, are Eco-Mats. Their durability, safety and non slip features are admirable.
Reliable Yoga instructors always insist on the importance of the right grounding for Yoga practice. Mats, especially good yoga mats are essential for assisting postures, alignment and overall performance of yogasanas.
In addition, there are also important health, environmental and safety issues to be considered.
What's the point in doing Yoga, with a view to become healthy in body and mind yet use a mat that gives off toxic odors? You will be astonished at how many of the cheaper mats achieve just that. Besides other things, it flies in the face of the yogic philosophy and ethics to settle for yoga products and yoga accessories made more with an eye for profit than health and comfort.
You are sure to find very cheap yoga mats made in conditions far from yogic. We advise you stay away from them. The world is wretched enough without deliberately adding to it by encouraging production methods that support lack of hygiene and profit motive. In the ultimate analysis, economic considerations must bow before moral and ethical standards.