Have you recently started to train in yoga? Or are you looking to start in the near future? One of the very first things you need to consider is purchasing the best yoga mat for yourself.
You might think that all yoga mats are the same, but there is actually so much more to it than you may realize.
The yoga mat you choose is quite important, as it will suit your specific needs and ultimately determine how well you perform. Yoga mats come in a variety of lengths, textures and materials.
I’m going to share what you need to be aware of and my picks for the best yoga mat brands.
When it comes to choosing the best yoga mat, here’s what you need to think about:
1. Yoga mat thickness
Yoga mat thickness varies. A typical yoga mat is 1/8 inches thick, which works for most people and is great for keeping your yoga practice easy and flowing. It will enable you to have a good level of contact with the floor while ensuring you remain stable as you move. In comparison to thicker mats, the 1/8-inch thickness is less likely to become intrusive as you change poses.
However, if you have a very slender frame, the 1/8 inch mat may be too thin for you during sitting poses, as your bones take the impact. This may also be the case if you suffer from arthritis or joint pain. If so, it may be best to choose a more cushioned ¼ inch thick mat.
Do keep in mind that thicker mats make it much more difficult to perform standing poses, so if you aren’t worried about your joints and feel comfortable carrying out poses on a regular yoga mat, then a 1/8 yoga mat would be the most ideal.
2. Length of the yoga mat
If you’re tall, you would benefit from a lengthy yoga mat. Typically, yoga mats are around 68 inches which are suitable for individuals for up to 5’6” in height. If your legs are longer than the mat, you may find it hard to completely relax as you won’t be comfortable. If you also like a bit more space, there are extra-wide yoga mats available.
3. Yoga mat texture
Yoga mats come in a variety of textures. Smooth mats are the most common, but you must choose this type wisely. The smooth mat has a slightly sticky feel to provide grip, otherwise, it could become a potential slipping hazard.
If in any doubt, the best yoga mat to choose would be one that is rubberized or has a textured pattern. They are guaranteed to provide a much more natural grip, meaning you’re less likely to slip.
Yoga mats are made from an array of materials, so always check the label before you buy. Here are some of the most common yoga mat materials when it comes to selecting the best yoga mat for you:
- PVC: A plant-based material that is hard-wearing, easy to clean and offers great traction. However, do be aware that they won’t absorb sweat. Most yoga mats are made from PVC which is inexpensive but isn’t the most environmentally friendly option. However, they are latex-free so are ideal for those who suffer from common allergies.
- Eco: These yoga mats are made from a number of natural materials including natural cotton, rubber and jute. If you are passionate about protecting the environment, then this type would be suited to you. Do be aware though, that they don’t have as much grip and aren’t as durable.
- TPE (Thermoplastic elastomer): This material is man-made of plastic and rubber. It provides great grip, durability and thickness for cushioned support.
4. Where you practice yoga
Where you practice will determine which type of yoga mat you select. If you practice at home, you won’t need to worry about the size or weight of the mat. But, if you go to a yoga class or your plans include travelling abroad, you need to choose one that’s designed for transferability. In this case, opt for a mat that’s thin, lightweight and can be packed down so it’s easy to take with you.
5. The type of yoga you practice
The type of yoga you do will determine which type of yoga mat to invest in. A standard mat would be ideal for the likes of Hatha Yoga or Yin Yoga.
If you’re looking to join a power yoga, hot yoga or vinyasa class, then you need a mat that will provide strong grip as you move quickly and also absorbs sweat to prevent slipping.
SEE ALSO: The 5 Real Benefits of Hot Yoga
7. Think about your budget
As with everything, the more you spend on your yoga mat, the better quality you’ll get; however, everyone has a personal budget and often the most expensive isn’t the most financially feasible option. The good news is that you can get yoga mats for almost every budget –ranging from $10 to over $200.
You don’t have to spend a fortune at the very beginning. Until you have participated in a number of sessions, you may not know whether yoga is actually for you. Don’t feel pressured to invest so early on. Buy an inexpensive yoga mat first, before deciding to purchase a more expensive option later down the line.
What are the best yoga mats you can buy?
If you don’t know where to buy a yoga mat, you’ve come to the right place. Here are some we recommend:
This yoga mat would definitely be one of the best yoga mats for bad knees. It’s made with high-density cushioning which is ideal for those who suffer from joint pain. The brand even claims that it will never wear out even after years of yoga practice, so it includes a lifetime guarantee!
Perfect for those looking to perform yoga on-the-go, this travel mat by Jade Yoga is one to consider. At a 1/8 thickness, it folds up into a very small size, so you don’t have to worry about lugging it around as you travel – it’ll even pack into your suitcase!
For those who practice high-intensity yoga such as power yoga, it’s essential to choose a mat that can handle the sweat. This mat by Lulumelon will do just that. It’s completely sweat-resistant with its top layer of antimicrobial polyurethane and also has a grip reverse so you remain stable as you change poses.
If you’re hoping to stick to the lower end of the budget, the TOPLUS yoga mat is one of the best yoga mats under $50 to suit all needs. It’s made from eco-friendly material, features anti-skid technology, and is also very lightweight. What’s more, it also comes with a carrying strap so you can transport it from A to B with ease.
If the design of your yoga mat is important to you, then the ‘Night Sky’ design mat from Holder Eight will be right up your street – in fact, there are a number of designs available to choose from. It’s not just pretty though – it was voted by iNews as their ‘best buy’ due to its high quality and microfiber surface that was soft and absorbed sweat fairly well.
If you’re someone who aims to stick to eco-friendly living, then Hugger Mugger have created a great yoga mat to suit you. Made from renewable materials, it’s both sustainable and extremely high-quality. It’s also very cushioned to support joints and offers plenty of grip so you don’t slide around.
If you’re planning on doing hot yoga, then the ‘Warrier’ mat from Alo Yoga would be a fantastic choice. It provides a fine line between being easy to clean alongside having that necessary sticky grip when you start to sweat during intensive activity. What’s more, it’s cushioned underfoot so your comfort isn’t sacrificed as you move around quickly.
What’s the best yoga mat would you recommend? Have you tried practicing yoga with a mat yet?
Share in the comments below!