A Yoga Mat for Runners

 All yoga mats are not equal . . .

As a run coach and avid runner, I only recently got into yoga as a way to recover and stretch. I don't go to the vinyasa classes; I prefer the basics and yoga for runners classes.  As a way to improve my declining mobility and flexibilty resulting from limited cross training, I decided to dedicate my New Year's resolution to creating a habit of doing yoga once a week by the end of 2012. Although I haven't excatly kept up with this resolution every single week this year, I did learn quite quickly that certain yoga mats can make or break the class (I was in the market for a new mat to kick off the resolution). 

First there's the issue of borrowing one from the studio that has an odor that lingers the entire class (and it's not yours).  There's the mat that's too short.  The one your friend said she would bring, but forgot.  I picked up a cheap one from a local athletic store and the mat was so slippery and smelled like plastic that I threw it out.  Next, I tried a very thin, light, easy to roll and transport matt which I realized is so thin I might as well be directly on the hard floor. Then I discovered the Northern Lights Yoga Mat by Aurorae Yoga

For the last few weeks, I've used the Northern Lights Yoga Mat for my basics yoga classes and for my post run stretches (I used to throw down a towel on the floor everytime I stretched after a run which required an extra load of laundry every week just for post run towels.).

Unlike other mats I've tried, this one is padded to a degree that provides enough support for my knees and ankles while stretching, doing strength work at home or working on my flexbility in yoga.  It's LONG, so tall people like myself aren't constantly adjusting to get our body back on the mat.  Despite the extra length and padding, the mat is still as light as the other mats I tried and easy to transport from my apartment in Brooklyn, NY to a yoga studio in Manhattan.  Plus, it's odorless!  Even new mats have a tendancy to smell like rubber or plastic when you begin to use them.  Not this one.  Check it out for yourself, runners.  The best part? It's 33% off right now.

by Jessica Green of Hot Bird Running.