Considerations for a Yoga Mat:
For a yoga practice, I recommend a mat such that the feet don’t slip in standing postures. A standard mat is 1/4″ thick, which is fine for most but you may want to consider a 1/2″ thick mat for extra cushioning if you have joint issues.
Pick a mat that you can fit on when you are lying down. The standard mat length is 68″ but longer ones are easily found.
Mats vary wildly in price. If you’re just getting started, you can absolutely get away with a less expensive mat (found at Target, convenience stores, bait and tackle places…) but don’t be shocked if, within a few months, chunks begin to crumble off it. The second time around, students generally then get a higher quality mat that will likely last for years.
I really like Jade Yoga’s Harmony Mat 3/16″ thick. Minimal slippage. Not too bulky to lug to class. Long lasting. Lots of pretty colors to choose from. A worthwhile investment for your practice.
Plus, as a company, they’re committed to being eco-friendly and they plant a tree for every mat they sell. =]
Once you're ready to meditate sitting on the floor...
… you’ll be the most comfortable with the knees level (or lower) than the hips. If this doesn’t happen naturally (yet), raise the hips by sitting on a bolster, bench, cushion or rolled up blanket. [If you’re super tight and the floor is not an option at all, just sit in a chair with a back.]
These are my favorites:
Over the years, I bought tons of these Mexican blankets for the studio. They’re durable and get softer with every wash. Fold it to the desired height and then sit on it.
You might want to order a second blanket to drape over the shoulders for warmth (especially if you’re perpetually cold like I am) or even a third to curl up under on the couch. js
If the hips are tight, a folded blanket might not raise up the seat enough. In this case I recommend a zafu or meditation pillow. Your seat goes on the zafu and you’d sit cross-legged with the calves on the floor.
I’ve had the same Hugger Mugger bolster for over 20 years. It is super comfortable, has completely retained its shape, the fabric shows almost no wear. The handmade (in the USA) covers are available in solids and some fun, snazzy prints (the prints cost more but some of them are irresistible #yolo).
If you are trying to keep your costs down, in a pinch, you can use this round bolster or the pranayama bolster instead to put behind your knees during savasana but, over time, TBH the round one won’t retain its shape if you regularly sit on it during meditation.
To keep the pores on the skin clear and ready to sweat out toxins, use a dry body brush daily before the shower. On this model, the handle is detachable and the bristles have just the right balance between soft and firm. Brush the skin towards the heart.