As I write this post on the best yoga mats, I have to admit a few things first. I am not a yoga instructor, but rather a student and I have really taken a liking to yoga. I will tell you upfront that I don’t know all there is to know about yoga and yoga mats, but I am certainly learning a lot. So, if you will hang with me for a while, I will explain to you what I have learned, what I am learning and together we can make an informed decision about what yoga mat is right for you.
Manduka PRO Yoga and Pilates Mat
- High-density Closed-cell surface prevents sweat from seeping into the comfortable mat cushion, superior joint protection, and unmatched grip and support, With a Lifetime Warranty offered when sold and shipped by Amazon.com
- Standard: 7. 5 lbs. ; 71" x 26"; 6 mm thick, due to the unique craftsmanship, there may be slight variances in weight and length which can range +/-1”
- Extra long: 9. 5 lbs. ; 85" x 26"; 6 mm thick, due to the unique craftsmanship, there may be slight variances in weight and length which can range +/-1”
- The PRO Series is certified STANDARD 100 by OEKO-TEX️ (12.HUS.17706 | Hohenstein HTTI) to keep you and your family safe from harmful substances.
- To Store: Roll Manduka PRO mats with the top side (fabric-finish) facing outwards. This keeps the corners of the mat flat when practicing.
Manduka is widely known to make excellent yoga mats. This is a closed cell mat, meaning it will not soak up moisture (sweat). These mats are great when they are dry, but are going to be slippery when they are wet. You may want to consider a yoga towel to go with this.
The Manduka PRO is made from eco-certified safe PVC. It is non-toxic and 100% latex free. Where this mat really excels is the weight and density. It’s a very sturdy mat, available in two sizes standard and extra long.
- 71 inches long x 26 inches wide
- 7.5 pounds
- 6 mm thick
- 85 inches long x 26 inches wide
- 9.5 pounds
- 15/64 inches thick (6 mm)
The high-density cushion is great for your joints and will give you a solid base for your practice. This really helps you maintain your poses and get the most out of your session.
Use and care – It is recommended that after each practice you wipe the mat down with Manduka all-purpose mat wash. You will also want to make sure the mat has a chance to completely dry out when you get home.
- Thick 6 mm high-density mat
- Comes in a wide variety of colors
- Available in two sizes
- It can be slippery when you sweat
- It may take a while to break it in and get rid of the initial slippery feel
- Does not come with a strap or a towel (you can buy them separately)
Manduka eKO Yoga and Pilates Mat
- Standard: 7. 0 lbs; 71” x 26”; 5 mm thick
- Long: 8. 0 lbs; 79” x 26”; 5 mm thick
- The eKO Mat provides catch grip for traction - a naturally grippy surface that catches if you start to slip.
- Sealed Cell Surface built for durability.
- Open air bottom to provide additional cushion for joints during your practice.
eKO is another great mat from Manduka. The eKO mats are available in two sizes (see below), but only a few colors choices come in the extra long 79-inch mat. So, that is something to keep in mind. You definitely want to get the right size when you are shopping for a yoga mat.
The eKO series is made from durable natural tree rubber and provides a great grip. The sealed cell surface is easy to clean and offers a lot of support. Lighter weight than the PRO series, this mat really holds its own.
Manduka is serious about the environment as well, they use a zero-waste process to manufacture and no harmful plasticizers. It’s also 99% latex free, making this one of the best yoga mats.
- 71 inches long x 26 inches wide
- 7.0 pounds
- 5 mm thick
- 79 inches long x 26 inches wide
- 8.0 pounds
- 13/64 inches thick (5 mm)
Use and care – It is recommended that you DO NOT (sorry for yelling) submerge the mat. So don’t soak it in the bathtub, or put it in the washing machine. Using Manduka’s Natural Rubber Mat Wash is the best way to go when cleaning your mat. Spray the cleaner on the mat, let it sit for a couple of minutes, then wipe it down. Be sure to let it dry out completely after you are done cleaning and before you roll it up.
- Durable, all natural rubber materials provide a solid grip
- Easy to clean sealed cell surface
- Not as heavy as the PRO series
- Manufacturing process is earth friendly
- Non-toxic foaming agents
- Wide variety of colors available
- Not all colors are available in extra long size
- The biggest complaint with this mat is the smell
Jade Harmony Yoga Mat
- GREAT GRIP: Jade Yoga mats provide a superior level of traction. We use natural rubber which has a much stronger grip and more cushion than any of the synthetic rubbers on the market (PVC, PER, TPE, EVA).
- PERFECT FOR ANY ACTIVITY & OCCASION: Our most popular mat! The Jade Harmony Mat is 3/16” thick, providing great traction, cushion, and stability for standing poses. It's the perfect mat for every occasion, for any activity, and for any level!
- SUSTAINABLE: We are committed to giving back to the Earth with every product sold. With Trees for the Future, we have planted over one million trees since 2006.
- SUPERIOR QUALITY: Jade Yoga mats are designed to utilize only high-quality materials to ensure outstanding performances and long-lasting products.
- UNITED STATES-BASED PRODUCTION: All of our mats are made in the United States. "American-made" to us means quality and assurance, giving us much more control over the materials used in our products and the production process from start to finish.
Jade is a family business and they set out to make a better yoga mat. Jade is very committed to the community and the environment. They plant a tree for every mat sold.
Now for the mats. These mats come in a wide variety of sizes, including widths and lengths. They are available in the following size options:
- Lengths available 68″, 71″, 74″
- Widths available 24″, 28″
- Weighs about 5 pounds
- 3/16 inches thick (4.7mm)
These mats offer a really good grip and no break in period. You will love the stickiness as well. Most people really like the fact that this mat is not very slippery when it gets wet. The Harmony series mat provides great traction, cushion, and stability. I really think this is a good mat for beginners and pros.
This mat is easy-to-clean, you can either wipe it down with a damp towel or use a 3/1 water to vinegar solution and wash it in the shower. Make sure you dry it completely and don’t let it sit in the sun.
Jade mats are made from natural rubber, from rubber trees which is a renewable resource. One more great thing about these mats is they are made in the United States. Again, Jade plants a tree for every mat sold. It is really nice to know that this company takes the community and the environment into account in their business operations.
- Very good grip even for sweaty people (this, of course, is dependent on the person). If the mat gets soaking wet, you are probably going to slip.
- Lots of sizes and colors available
- Environmentally conscious company
- Very durable mat
- The texture can make it somewhat difficult to clean
- The mat should not be exposed to sunlight for very long
- It’s a pretty sticky mat, so it may collect material such as fibers, dust, pet hair, etc.
- GREAT GRIP: Jade mats are specially created to provide a superior level of traction. We only use natural rubber on our mats because it provides a better grip and has more cushion than any of the synthetic rubbers on the market (PVC, PER, TPE, EVA).
- EXTRA COMFORT: The Fusion mat is an extra-thick yoga mat, especially recommended for restorative yoga, pilates, core fitness practices, and crossfit! At 5/16” thick, this mat has extra cushion to maximize comfort during all your favorite practices.
- SUSTAINABLE: As Jade Yoga mats come from trees, we decided to plant a tree for every mat we sold. With Trees for the Future, we have planted over one million trees since 2006.
- SUPERIOR QUALITY: Jade Yoga mats are made utilizing only high-quality materials to ensure outstanding performance and long-lasting products.
- UNITED STATES-BASED PRODUCTION: All of our mats are made in the United States! "American-made" to us means quality and assurance, giving us much more control over the materials used in our products and the production process from start to finish.
Another great mat from Jade, the Fusion is a more expensive than the Harmony previously mentioned. The Fusion is great for a variety of exercise options including, yoga, pilates, and even some high-intensity workouts. It’s a mat of all trades so to speak, and this is one of the best yoga mats available.
The Jade Fusion mat does come in the following sizes:
- 24 inches wide
- 68 inches or 74 inches long
- Weighs 8.5 pounds
- 5/16 inches thick (8mm)
So, as you can see, this is a heavy duty mat. It definitely weighs more than the Harmony but will provide excellent cushion and support, with the added thickness.
One thing you will want to make sure is that you get a mat that is the right size. If you are over six feet tall, I would definitely recommend the 74-inch mat. You will have to figure out what size and color you want, as not all colors are available in all sizes.
Again, Jade mats are made from sustainable, renewable resource with natural rubber, from rubber trees. For every mat that Jade sells, they plant a tree, which is very cool. These are also made in the United States, which honestly is kind of rare these days.
You will not be disappointed with the performance, cushion, and grip. I really think anyone can benefit from using this mat. One thing to note is it’s a heavy mat, so may not be as portable for some people. If you are used to a lightweight mat and prefer to throw it on your neck or shoulders, then this mat may not be for you.
As for cleaning, Jade recommends wiping with a damp towel. For a deeper clean, they recommend a 3/1 water and white vinegar solution. You can clean it in the shower, making sure you get all the solution out. Then you will need to make sure it dries completely before you fold it up. Also, do not leave this mat in the sun.
- Very durable mat
- Thicker than the Harmony if you need extra cushion
- Environmentally friendly company
- Great grip, cushion, and stability
- It’s expensive $$
- It’s heavy so it may not be a good choice if you need a really portable mat
- Smells like rubber for a while
- Not all colors available in all sizes
Gaiam Premium Print Yoga Mat
- LIGHTWEIGHT & THICK YOGA MAT: These durable, yet lightweight exercise yoga mats are extra-thick for the additional cushioning your joints need during any yoga or fitness routine
- STICKY NON-SLIP TEXTURE: Yoga mat features a textured sticky non-slip surface for excellent traction and superior grip and a stylish design to keep you motivated and focused
- NON TOXIC & 6P FREE PVC yoga mat is a healthier choice for you and the planet and free of DEHP, DBP, BBP, DINP, DIDP and DNOP (Note: For best results unroll and air out your mat for 2 3 days before use a harmless odor may be present when unwrapped)
- FREE YOGA CLASS: Yoga mat purchase includes a free bonus downloadable yoga workout to help get you started
- DIMENSIONS: 68"Length x 24"Width x 6 millilitre Thick
Definitely a more affordable option, the Gaiam Premium mat offers a great tacky feel and it’s latex free. Feed your creative side as this mat is available in a lot of different prints and solid colors. Have fun with your selection and pick something that really fits your personality.
The mat is made from PVC but it is free from all these things, Phthalates DEHP, DBP, BBP, DINP, DIDP, and DNOP and it’s latex free for those who have issues with latex.
The Gaiam Premium Print mat does come in the following sizes:
- 24 inches wide
- 68 inches long
- Weighs about 3 pounds
- These mats come in 5 mm or 6 mm thickness (about 13/64 inches)
I would definitely recommend airing this mat out for a few days after you get it, and before you start to use it. They tend to smell, but it’s supposedly a harmless odor :).
Cleaning is easy, using either Gaiam’s Yoga Mat Wash or a damp cloth with cold water and mild detergent. You don’t want to expose this mat to the sun, for long periods of time, or it will get brittle.
I would recommend using a yoga towel to help if you slip, or are a sweaty yoga person. It’s a good light-weight mat, with decent traction and overall good stability and cushion.
If you are taller than 6 feet, I would choose a mat that is longer, this may not be the one for you. Although it is fairly thick if you have bad knees or wrists you really might want to choose another mat. This is a solid light-weight choice, so it’s easy to tote around.
- A wide variety of colors/designs available. Express yourself!
- Budget-friendly mat
- Light-weight mat, easily portable
- Great support and comfort
- Not available in longer sizes
- Can be pretty slippery when you sweat
- Smell is pretty strong at first
Non-Slip Yoga Mat
- New Eco Friendly Material – More expensive but worth it. TPE is the latest technological improvement to the traditional yoga mats. No latex, no PVC, or any heavy metal. Our mats are made of SGS certified TPE material which is non-slip, odor-less and excellent in cushioning, unlike those cheap & traditional non-green PVC, NBR or EVA yoga mats. They are truly eco-friendly, healthy.
- Body Alignment System: The alignment lines help you to focus and adjust your hands and feet to the accurate position, and keep body in proper alignment.
- Perfect Performance –6mm in thickness offers the most comfortable experience for all level yogis. Double layer structure design provides optimal grip, excellent cushioning and double-sided non-slip texture, best suitable to practice many forms of Yoga.
- Extra Large Size: 72"(183cm) x 26" (65cm); Thickness: 6mm; Weight: 2.8lb (Approx). Longer and wider than regular yoga mats, ideal almost for everyone. Velcro strap and Carrying strap included.
- Specialized Yoga Brand: Being a professional yoga product manufacturer for over 10 years, we have been and still continuing to source our planet for the best materials to guarantee our customer total satisfaction. Please visit Heathyoga Amazon store for more product offerings.
If you are looking for an affordable mat for your practice this might be the ticket for you. This mat is longer than most, at 72 inches and at 25 1/4 inches wide, it’s great for a variety of sizes of people.
This mat employs a closed cell surface, which really helps to keep out moisture and bacteria. This also means it is easy to clean and take care of. It is recommended you clean the mat with either a soap and water or water and white vinegar mixture.
At 6 mm thick, about 15/64 inches, it’s pretty thick for an inexpensive yoga mat. This will provide you with a good deal of support and stability for your joints.
This mat is made from recyclable thermoplastic elastomers (TPE) and does not contain PVC, latex, or other toxic chemicals.
It is designed to be grippy, and not a slippery mat. You will notice it has a wavy underside, and textured surface to keep not only the mat itself from sliding on the floor, but also keep you from slipping on the mat.
Weighing in at about 2 pounds, this is an easy to carry, portable mat that may be a good option if you are on the go. Throw it over your shoulder and away you go. This mat is also available in a wide variety of colors so you should definitely be able to find one that fits your style.
- It is a pretty thick mat, which is comfortable for knees, elbows, and all of your joints
- It’s a 72-inch mat, so it’s good for most people, just not super tall people
- Even though it is touted as a non-slip yoga mat, some people do find it slippery when they sweat. You may want to invest in a yoga towel.
- From the images I am seeing, it does not look like it rolls out completely flat after being rolled up
- Does not come with a bag, or a strap
Manduka PROlite Yoga and Pilates Mat
- 4. 7 mm thick high-density cushion for joint protection and unmatched support
- Standard: 4 lbs.; 71" x 24"; 4. 7 mm thick
- Long: 4. 5 lbs.; 79" x 24"; 4. 7 mm thick
- Closed-cell surface prevents sweat from seeping into the mat
- Proprietary dot pattern bottom layer
If you are looking for a lighter weight Manduka mat that will really meet your needs, the PROlite might just be for you. Manduka PRO series mats are made from high-quality PVC and are manufactured free of toxic chemicals, dyes, and phthalates. You can rest assured that these yoga mats are high quality.
The PROlite mat comes in the following sizes:
- 24 inches wide
- 71 or 79 inches long
- Weighs about 4 to 4.5 pounds depending on the size
- These mats are 4.7 mm thick (about 3/16 inches)
You will love the high-density mat which will help your joints, and provide ample cushion. This is a lighter-weight mat from Manduka, so it’s easier to tote around. Now, it’s not as light as some, but it’s definitely a good option if portability is your goal.
The closed-cell surface means the mat is resistant to moisture and bacteria. It is easy to clean as well. Manduka recommends you use Manduka All-Purpose Mat Wash, which is formulated specifically for Manduka mats. They do not recommend soaking or submerging the mat in water.
Manduka has really made a commitment to designing and manufacturing a quality product, that is environmentally conscious.
This mat has great grip! But if you are seriously sweaty (as I am), I would recommend a yoga towel. The more you use this mat, the more the grip will improve.
- Great thickness and not too heavy
- Available in a lot of colors
- Sizes are available for taller people
- Closed-cell surface keeps moisture and bacteria from creeping in
- Some people report the mat is pretty slippery, most people say it’s not. I would recommend a yoga towel.
- Pretty expensive
- Does not come with a strap or a towel (you can buy them separately)
Aurorae Printed Extra Thick
- 5mm Thick, 72" Long, 24" Wide with Focal point Icon to help your Focus and Exciting Original printed Designs
- Our mats are Durable, Lightweight, Odorless and Easy to Care for/wash. Please make sure you read our yogi tips and care instructions that are printed on the back of our Aurorae paper wrapper.
- Mats have been tested and Safe/Non Toxic. No Phthalates, Phenols, PAHS, Latex, Silicone or Rubber
- Aurorae all-purpose yoga mats are for men, women and kids. At 72"x24" and 5mm Thick, it's great for Pilates, aerobics, outdoor activities like camping or fishing
- We are a Small Family Business that works in the spirit of Yoga.Your Satisfaction is our Goal. 2 Year Guarantee. Check out our latest NEW Yoga Mat developments on Amazon: 1) Aurorae Exciting New PRO Natural Cork/Rubber non slip Yoga Mat. Made from Portuguese Cork and Natural Rubber 2) Aurorae Super Sized "ULTRA" Super Sized Extra Long 78"; Extra Wide 26" and 1/4" Thick for comfort and Safety. Non Slip Rosin and Carry Strap included with "ULTRA" Mat only
This affordable yoga mat comes from a family business that wanted to create environmentally-friendly products. Aurorae mats are made from a new resin that is eco-friendly and does not emit gases or chemicals. It is also made without harmful toxins.
The Aurorae mat comes in the following size:
- 24 inches wide
- 72 inches long
- Weighs about 4 to 4.5 pounds depending on the size
- These mats are about 5 mm (1/4 inch) thick
This is a nice long mat that will fit short and relatively tall people. Even though it’s pretty thick you will still maintain balance and performance as you practice. It is thick enough to provide ample support for your joints.
Since this mat is a closed-cell surface, it is easy to clean, and will not let moisture and bacteria creep in. Aurorae also makes an Organic Yoga Mat Cleaner made with essential oils, to clean your mat.
They also suggest that you wash the mat with a non-oil based soap or detergent. One tablespoon of soap mixed with warm water and a soft brush should do the trick. Make sure you rinse the mat out thoroughly. You will also want to make sure you hang the mat so it can dry completely before you use it again.
In addition, this mat comes with a non-slip rosin and a carry strap. These mats are available in a wide variety of different colors, so you can find one that fits your style.
- Available in a wide variety of colors
- It’s a longer mat, great for shorter, or taller people
- Durable and easy to clean
- Enough cushion to help keep your joints happy
- The biggest complaint is about people slipping when they are sweaty (I recommend a yoga towel)
- Although the length is pretty good, some taller people will need a longer mat
Aurorae Synergy 2 in 1 Yoga Mat
- The Synergy Hot Yoga Mat is Aurorae’s most recent development and is US Patent Protected due to its unique design and manufacturing. As a special hot/active yoga mat, Synergy combines the best of both worlds all wrapped in one unique yoga mat.
- You’ll experience no more slipping or bunching of your towel as you move on top of your mat. The wetter this mat gets the better the grip as Towel and mat are bonded together
- 1st product of its kind that bonds our 5mm patented PER yoga mat as the bottom surface with our lush, non-slip microfiber towel as the top surface.
- Our mats are Durable, Lightweight, Odorless and Easy to Care for/wash. Mats have been tested and Safe/Non Toxic. No Phthalates, Phenols, PAHS, Latex or Rubber. Please make sure you read our yogi tips and care instructions that are printed on the back of our Aurorae paper wrapper.
- We are a Small Family Business that works in the spirit of Yoga.Your Satisfaction is our Goal. 2 Year Guarantee. Check out our latest exciting development “Synergy On-the-Go” foldable, lightweight, 1.3lbs yoga mat, for yogis on the move.
This is a new concept from Aurorae and I think it’s very cool. As the name indicates, this mat is a 2 in 1 yoga mat, meaning the bottom of the mat is made from their PER material that Aurorae uses and the top is actually a towel. So the two surfaces have been fused together.
Here is why this is such an interesting and unique mat. You don’t have to mess with a separate yoga towel, that can bunch up. Since the mat and the towel are bonded together, this mat really provides a great benefit rolled into one.
Spoiler alert…you can throw it in the wash!! Aurorae recommends that with the Synergy mat, you use a front-loading washing machine to wash it. If you have a top loader with an agitator, they do recommend that you hand wash it.
Never put the mat in the dryer, but hand it out to dry.
The dimensions of this mat are:
- 24 inches wide
- 72 inches long
- 5 mm thick (about 3/16 inches)
- 1.6 pounds
This mat is a great option for people who sweat a lot, or take a power yoga or hot yoga class. Or, if you are me and sweat no matter what. In addition this mat is really light-weight at just 1.6 pounds.
Of course, it is made free from latex, silicone, phthalates so you can rest assured it’s eco-friendly. It is Oeko-Tex tested and approved.
- Bonded mat and towel means the yoga towel won’t bunch up
- Machine washable
- Light-weight and portable
- The biggest pro is that you can kill two birds with one stone, having a mat and a towel built together.
- Lint, debris and other stuff will get stuck to the micro fiber towel
- The biggest complaint is the smell
- If you use it a lot and sweat a lot, you may find yourself having to wash it frequently, so it may be somewhat high maintenance
Gurus Natural Cork Yoga
- NATURAL AND SUSTAINABLE - Gurus best-selling Roots Natural Yoga Mat is 5 mm thick and is made from sturdy and supportive layer of sustainably sourced rubber. It is topped with a thin and flexible layer of natural cork. The cork material keeps your mat odor-free without using cleaners.
- NON-SLIP AND WATERPROOF - Cork naturally displaces moisture and get grippier when wet, so you don’t have the same slipping issue you have with other mats. Cork yoga mats are grippier and have a better non-slip effect when wet. Even during your sweatiest practices, this mat works perfectly without a towel.
- IMPROVES YOGA PRACTICE - Our 72x25 inches yoga mat gives you the option to use either the cork or rubber side depending on your practice, location, or mood. Both sides offer traction that helps improve your yoga practice. Men, women, and yogis alike love taking advantage of both non-slip surfaces.
- GREAT FOR INDOORS & OUTDOORS - The cork layer of the Roots Yoga Mat does not absorb heat the way rubber and foam mats do, making this mat ideal for outdoor practice. The natural rubber backing grips almost any surface so you can practice even outside the studio.
- GURUS GIVES BACK - We have teamed up with Trees For The Future, a non-profit that plants trees with rural communities in the developing world, to plant a tree for every Gurus product purchased. This ensures that every product made gives back to the natural resources that helped create it.
I was really interested in checking out a cork yoga mat. The Gurus Natural Cork Yoga mat seems to fit the bill. So here is the deal, this mat is designed to be used on both sides. Basically, it is a cork top applied to a natural rubber bottom, with non-toxic adhesive and fabric. The cork is all natural and sustainably sourced and the rubber side is an open-cell naturla rubber.
The dimensions of this yoga mat are:
- 25 inches wide
- 72 inches long
- About 4 mm thick (about 5/32 inches)
- About 5 pounds
The cork side is non-slip and the grip is actually supposed to get better as it gets wet, so they say you don’t really need to use a towel. This is great if you sweat a lot during your practice. The rubber side makes the mat versatile in that you can use it inside or outside. Actually cork doesn’t absorb heat like other materials, so it’s great for outdoor use.
As for care and washing, since cork is naturally anti-bacterial, you shouldn’t have to clean the mat after every use. You definitely wan to let it dry completely though before you roll it up. To wash it, just hose it down, literally, with a few drops of mild soap. Be sure to let it dry completely.
This is a very intriguing option for a lot of people. The non-slip factor seems to really be legit. You can also use either side, the cork side, or the rubber side, depending on your preference.
- Non-slip cork is durable and sustainable
- Dual use, either rubber or cork side
- Easy to clean and doesn’t need to be washed after every use
- Customers who have used it really like it
- Use it indoors or outdoors
- It’s kind of expensive
- There are not a whole lot of reviews, but the reviews are very positive
- Not available in multiple sizes
How I got into yoga
Yoga is something that I have taken up somewhat recently and it’s due to the fact that my back is pretty messed up. I injured my back (the most recent time) at the end of 2015 and I spent the first 5 months of 2016 recovering. Please feel free to read my full story.
In a nutshell, have been dealing with back problems, disc issues, since 1999. I have had time in my life where I couldn’t dress myself, because I couldn’t bend over. More recently, dealing with a sprained SI joint (pelvis area) and spinal stenosis, I was not able to stand up straight for about 4 months.
Finally, after my last injury, I decided to work with a chiropractor, something I had not done previously. My chiropractor is a huge advocate for strengthening your body, and core to hopefully prevent injury. So after I was recovered enough to start working out again (about 5 months after my injury), I did. I have a very different routine now than I did previously. Less weight (a lot less weight) and a more reps (a lot more reps).
I finally got to the point that my chiropractor told me yoga would be a great next step for me. This would help me with core strength, flexibility and balance. So off to yoga I go, check out my experience as a beginner here. I have read and heard a lot about how good yoga can be for people with back problems, check out this post.
Things to keep in mind
There are a lot of different choices when it comes to yoga mats. There are different colors, densities, sizes, so it can be very overwhelming to choose just the right one. You and your mat are gonna go through a lot together, so you need to find a mat that fits you.
Yoga mat thickness and density
A mat that is denser will offer more stability and protect your joints better than a mat that is less dense. A thicker mat may offer more padding, but potentially less stability. Again, these are just some things to note and keep in mind while you are shopping for the right mat.
Do you need a portable mat?
Of course, any mat is portable, it just depends on if you want a lightweight mat that you can put in a suitcase, or throw over your shoulder.
If you are on the go a lot, you may want a mat that is more portable, or light-weight. These are great if you travel, or maybe ride your bike to a yoga class. Lighter weight can work great for some people. A lighter weight mat is not going to be as dense. So it will really depend on your needs. If you are more comfortable on a more dense or thicker mat, a travel mat may not be a great option.
If you practice at home, or in a studio and are okay with a heavier mat, you may want to get a mat that is denser. A more dense mat can help out with your joints, almost like a shock absorber. So if portability is not an issue, a heavier mat may be your answer.
You really have to decide what is most important to you and you may have to give up something to get something else.
Are you a sweater?
I am a serious sweater, okay, I am not exactly sure if I AM a sweater (sorry bad joke)…but I do really sweat a lot. There that’s better. Some mats perform better under wet conditions than others. But the best thing you can do is invest in a yoga towel.
A yoga towel is basically a thin towel that covers your mat. These usually come with some sort of grip on them to help hold their place on the mat. Yoga towels are available in a wide assortment of colors and sizes. I think it’s almost impossible not to find one that will fit your style.
Texture and grip
The right texture and grip of a mat will make your practice a lot better. You don’t want to be slip-sliding away on your mat. This can actually lead to an injury, or just make your session stressful. Been there, done that.
The texture of a mat can help reduce the amount you slip. But if you don’t like the feel, then that particular texture won’t work for you. With some mats, they need to be broken in and the grip will improve with time. The more you use them, the better the grip becomes.
What are yoga mat cells?
There are different types of surfaces for your yoga mat.
- Open – Moisture can penetrate the surface, this can allow bacteria to creep in and just plain make your mat gross
- Closed – Prevents moisture from soaking into the mat surface, and is much easier to keep clean
- Sealed – This type reduces the amount of moisture and bacteria
Can you try before you buy?
Ultimately, the choice is going to come down to what feels the best to you. At my gym they offer a couple different mats so, that is nice to have an option to try them. If you can try before you buy, that is great.
How tall are you anyway?
Yoga mats come in different sizes and this can be critical to your practice. The last thing you want is to be half on your mat and half off. So when you are choosing a mat, take your height into consideration. If there is a mat you are interested in, see if there are different size options. If there is only one option, then make sure you will be the right length for you.
Yoga mat materials
As I mentioned, yoga mats come in a wide variety of size, shapes, colors, and materials. Some mats are made from all natural rubber, cloth, foam, or thermoplastic (TPE), to name a few of the different materials available. I will get into these more in the mat reviews.
You will definitely want to pay attention to the instructions for cleaning your mat. Some mats are different than others. Pay attention to the manufacturers recommendation. Some you can submerge, and some it’s a no-no to submerge. Here is a cleaner that will work great for most mats, but again you will want check out the instructions.
So, with all of that out of the way, let’s take a look at some of the different yoga mats out there and see if we can find a great option for you.
Conclusion: Best yoga mats
So, given all of this information, I really hope you have what you need to make a decision on the best yoga mat for you. There are a lot of choices out there and really what it boils down to is what works best for you. The feel of the different materials, thickness, density, there are a lot of different factors that come into play here.
Whether you want a light-weight mat that you can put in a suitcase, or a more substantial mat to take to a yoga studio will depend on what your needs are. Something that has been drilled into my head is that’s it truly is your practice, so do what is best for you.
One nice thing is that a lot, if not all, of these companies, really have taken an environmentally-friendly approach to making these mats.
Another thing I have really noticed through this process is that what one person considers a non-slip mat, another person will say that they slip a lot. This just goes to show that everyone is a unique individual, so what works for one, may not work for another. The best advice I can give as far as slipping goes, is to invest in a yoga towel. A lot of people, myself included use a towel.