When it comes to yoga, your mat is your sanctuary, the very foundation of your practice. Finding the best yoga mat isn’t just about comfort; it’s about creating the perfect platform for your mind, body, and spirit to harmonize. Whether you’re a seasoned yogi or just beginning your journey, choosing the right yoga mat can make all the difference. In this blog, we’ll delve into the world of yoga mats, exploring the top brands, materials, and features to help you make an informed choice. Get ready to elevate your practice and discover the best yoga mats for your unique needs.
Our Top Picks
- Best Overall: Manduka PRO
- Best Thick: Retrospec Solana
- Best Travel: Gaiam
- Best Towel: Gaiam Stay Put
- Best Hot Yoga: Gaiam Dry-Grip
- Best Kids: Gaiam
- Best Extra Large: Gorilla Mats
- Best Cork: Gaiam Performance
- Best Beginner: Gaiam Essentials
- Best Folding: Primasole
The Manduka PRO Yoga Mat is the undisputed choice for yogis seeking the ultimate practice companion. With its unparalleled quality and durability, this mat is designed to last a lifetime, offering a supportive and non-toxic PVC material that won't peel, flake, or fade. Its closed-cell surface resists moisture and bacteria, ensuring a clean and slip-resistant experience in any environment. Backed by a lifetime guarantee, the Manduka PRO is a true investment in your yoga journey.
- Exceptional durability
- Closed-cell surface for hygiene
- Non-toxic PVC material
- Heavier than some mats
- Initial break-in period
- OEKO-TEX certified
- High-density cushioning
The Retrospec Solana Yoga Mat stands out as the best thick yoga mat, offering supreme comfort and balance during your practice. With its generous 1-inch thickness, this mat is designed to alleviate pressure on joints, hips, hands, and knees. Its non-slip grip keeps you steady, preventing injuries and allowing you to focus on your routine. The Solana mat is also highly durable, making it suitable for everyday use, and it comes with a portable nylon carrying strap for easy transportation. What's more, it's free of harsh chemicals, ensuring your safety, and is easy to clean and maintain for a fresh workout every time.
- 1-inch extra thickness
- Non-slip material for stability
- Durable and portable
- May have a temporary odor
- Free of harsh chemicals
- Easy to clean and maintain
- Comes with a nylon carrying strap
The Gaiam Foldable Travel Yoga Mat earns its title as the best travel yoga mat with its remarkable portability and convenience. Crafted from non-toxic PVC, this 2mm thick mat easily folds into a compact 10 inches x 12 inches square, allowing it to fit snugly in your carry-on bag or overnight bag. Its foldable design makes it an excellent alternative to traditional rolled mats, saving precious space. Whether you're heading for a weekend getaway, an extended retreat, or a practice on the go, this mat is your perfect companion. It boasts a sticky texture for stable footing, ensuring a secure practice experience wherever your journey takes you.
- Ultra-portable and foldable
- Ideal for travel, saving space
- Sticky texture for stability
- Thinner than standard mats
- Non-toxic PVC material
- Folds into a 10" x 12" square
- Suitable for travel, beach, and park yoga
The Gaiam Stay Put Yoga Mat Towel is undoubtedly the best choice for yogis seeking a dependable and slip-resistant yoga mat towel. This microfiber towel is designed to stay in place with four corner pockets on the backside, ensuring it won't shift during use and preventing bunching. It's an ideal companion for hot yoga sessions, as it absorbs twice as much moisture as standard cotton towels and dries in half the time, offering unparalleled grip and stability. Constructed from hypoallergenic microfiber, this mat-sized yoga towel fits perfectly over a standard yoga mat (68" L x 24" W), making it a must-have for any practitioner.
- Four corner pockets for secure placement
- Prevents bunching during practice
- Exceptional absorbency and quick drying
- Designed primarily as a towel
- Hypoallergenic microfiber construction
- Fits standard yoga mat (68" L x 24" W)
- Perfect for hot yoga sessions
The Gaiam Dry-Grip Yoga Mat is undoubtedly the best choice for hot yoga enthusiasts, offering outstanding features for an intense and sweaty practice. This 5mm thick yoga mat provides excellent cushioning and joint support, ensuring your comfort during various yoga routines. It features a stay-dry topcoat that delivers exceptional traction and superior grip, even during extended poses. Specifically designed for hot yoga, the textured, coated surface wicks away sweat, allowing you to maintain stability and focus. Whether you're holding poses or stretching deeply, this mat's non-slip surface keeps you going. With firm cushioning and a generous size (68" L x 24" W), it's your perfect companion for hot and challenging yoga sessions.
- Excellent traction and grip
- Ideal for hot yoga
- 5mm thick for joint support
- May have an initial odor
- Stay-dry topcoat for sweat-wicking
- Durable for intense practices
- Rubber-free and latex-free
The Gaiam Kids Yoga Mat is the perfect choice for young yogis, designed to engage and educate children aged 5-8 in a fun and healthy way. These yoga mats encourage a positive body image and teach concentration, balance, and calmness, all while keeping kids entertained. With a textured non-slip surface, the mats provide a safe and secure grip for active boys and girls during their practice. What's more, they are non-toxic and 6P Free, ensuring they are free from harmful phthalates, making them an excellent choice for children's yoga.
- Designed for children aged 5-8
- Fun and engaging designs
- Non-toxic and 6P Free
- Suitable for a specific age group
- Textured non-slip surface
- Promotes balance and concentration
- Free from harmful phthalates
The Gorilla Mats Premium Large Yoga Mat stands out as the best extra-large yoga mat, offering an expansive space for your practice while maintaining unmatched quality and comfort. With a generous size that easily transforms any room into your personal yoga or workout space, this mat is perfect for yoga poses, meditation, stretching, light cardio workouts, or bodyweight exercises. Endorsed by reputable sources and trusted by over 150,000 customers, the Gorilla Mats' unique, sticky, textured top layer provides superior grip and comfort, while the patterned bottom surface prevents slippage. Crafted from premium, eco-friendly, non-toxic materials with no latex, odor, or smell, this mat boasts an 8mm high-density, double-thick padding that offers excellent cushioning, even on various floor types. It comes with a microfiber towel, storage bag, and Velcro straps for easy storage or transport, making it a perfect gift idea for men and women of all ages. When it comes to your health and well-being, the Gorilla Mats are the premium quality you deserve.
- Expansive practice space
- Unmatched grip and comfort
- Extra-thick, high-density padding
- May be too large for some spaces
- Eco-friendly and non-toxic materials
- Comes with essential accessories
- Odor-free and non-slip
Introducing the Gaiam Performance Cork Yoga Mat, a revolutionary blend of sustainability and functionality. This mat boasts an all-natural cork surface, providing a naturally cushioned and antimicrobial experience for your yoga practice. On the flip side, a non-toxic, lightweight TPE rubber ensures durability and eco-friendliness. The closed-cell design seals out odors and bacteria, making it a perfect companion for hot yoga sessions. With superior grip that increases with moisture and heat, this 5mm thick mat offers both comfort and stability. Embrace mindful movement with this professional-quality mat, backed by Gaiam's lifetime guarantee.
- All-natural cork and TPE construction
- Closed-cell design repels odor and bacteria
- Superior grip enhanced by moisture and heat
- Initial strong odor (harmless) requires 2-3 days of airing
- Lightweight yet durable for easy portability
- Generous dimensions: 68" x 24" x 5mm
- Comes with Gaiam's lifetime guarantee
Experience the ultimate comfort, support, and style with the Gaiam Essentials Yoga Mat and Sling. Boasting a thickness of 10mm, this fitness mat provides unparalleled cushioning, making it ideal for various exercises, including ab work, toning, stretching, and more. The non-slip ridges ensure superior traction, keeping you securely in place during your workout. The mat comes with a convenient nylon carry strap for easy portability, allowing you to take your practice anywhere. Available in a variety of colors, this classic yoga mat is a perfect companion for beginners, offering soft cushioning and support in every pose.
- Extra-thick 10mm foam for comfort
- Non-slip ridges provide superior traction
- Includes a convenient nylon carry strap
- May be too thick for some preferences
- Versatile for ab work, toning, and stretching
- Variety of colors to suit personal style
- Comes with Gaiam's lifetime guarantee
Discover the ultimate fusion of convenience and functionality with the Primasole Folding Yoga Mat. This 4mm thick mat is designed with maximal portability in mind, folding easily for effortless transport to your yoga class, gym, studio, park, or beach. The durable PVC construction ensures resistance to peeling, fading, and tearing, making it ideal for everyday use. With a size of 68 × 24 inches, this mat provides both comfort and stability while maintaining a total weight of only 2.0 lbs. The embossed surface enhances stability during various types of training, making it perfect for core strength, posture, balance, flexibility exercises, hot yoga, ab crunches, or Pilates. Choose from seven colors to coordinate with your mood or style, and embrace the trusted fitness brand that is Primasole.
- Portable and lightweight design
- Choice of seven coordinating colors
- Durable PVC resists peeling, fading, tearing
- Hand wash only
- Ideal for various exercises and yoga styles
- Folds neatly for easy travel and storage
- Suitable for hot yoga, Pilates, and more
How to Choose the Best Yoga Mat
Choosing the best yoga mat is essential for a comfortable and effective yoga practice. There are several factors to consider when selecting a yoga mat that suits your needs and preferences. Here are some key factors to keep in mind:
- Thickness: Yoga mats come in various thicknesses, typically ranging from 1/16 inch (1.5mm) to 1/4 inch (6mm) or more. Thicker mats provide more cushioning for your joints and are better for restorative and gentle yoga styles, while thinner mats are ideal for balance and stability in poses. Choose a thickness that suits your comfort and the type of yoga you practice.
- Material: Yoga mats are made from different materials, with the most common options being PVC, TPE, rubber, and natural materials like cork and jute. Consider your priorities when choosing a material, such as eco-friendliness, grip, durability, and texture. Some materials may be more environmentally friendly, while others offer better grip or cushioning.
- Texture: The texture of the mat’s surface affects your grip and comfort during practice. Some mats have a smooth surface, while others have a textured or sticky surface for better traction. It’s a matter of personal preference, so test out different textures to see which one feels best for you.
- Stickiness and Traction: Good grip is crucial to prevent slipping during your practice. Look for a mat with sufficient stickiness and traction to support your poses. Mats with a closed-cell surface tend to provide better traction, but they can also be less porous and may trap odors or bacteria.
- Size: Standard yoga mats are typically 68 inches (173 cm) long and 24 inches (61 cm) wide. However, if you’re taller or prefer extra space for your practice, consider a longer and wider mat. Make sure the mat’s dimensions suit your body and the space you have available.
- Weight and Portability: If you plan to carry your mat to yoga classes or travel with it, consider the weight and portability. Lightweight and foldable mats are easier to transport, while thicker mats may be heavier and less portable.
- Eco-Friendliness: If you’re environmentally conscious, look for mats made from sustainable, non-toxic materials. Natural rubber, cork, and TPE mats are eco-friendly options. Check for certifications such as OEKO-TEX, GOTS, or other eco-labels.
- Durability: A durable yoga mat is a good investment. Consider the mat’s longevity and whether it can withstand frequent use and cleaning. Read reviews and check for warranty information.
- Maintenance: Consider how easy the mat is to clean. Some mats are machine-washable, while others require hand cleaning. Mats with closed-cell surfaces tend to repel moisture and odors better.
- Price: Yoga mats come in a wide price range. While it’s important to stay within your budget, remember that a high-quality, durable mat is a worthwhile investment in your yoga practice.
- Personal Preference: Ultimately, the best yoga mat is the one that feels most comfortable to you. Try out different mats in stores or studios, and consider personal preferences such as color and design.
Once you’ve considered these factors, you can choose a yoga mat that best suits your needs, preferences, and the style of yoga you practice. Remember that the right yoga mat can enhance your practice and help you maintain stability and comfort during your yoga sessions.
Types of Yoga Mats
Yoga mats come in various types, each designed to meet different needs and preferences. Here are some common types of yoga mats:
|Type of Yoga Mat||Description||Top Pick|
|Standard Yoga Mat||Common size and thickness for various styles of yoga.||Gaiam Essentials Yoga Mat and Sling|
|Thick Yoga Mat||Extra cushioning for sensitive joints and gentle practices.||Manduka PRO Yoga Mat|
|Travel Yoga Mat||Lightweight and portable for on-the-go yogis.||Gaiam Foldable Travel Yoga Mat|
|Eco-Friendly Yoga Mat||Made from sustainable and non-toxic materials.||Heathyoga Eco Friendly Yoga Mat|
|Non-Slip Yoga Mat||Textured or sticky surface for excellent grip, ideal for hot yoga.||Gaiam Dry-Grip Yoga Mat|
|Alignment Yoga Mat||Visual guides to assist with pose alignment.||Liforme Original Yoga Mat|
|Cork Yoga Mat||Natural cork surface for grip and antimicrobial properties.||Gaiam Performance Cork Yoga Mat|
|Jute Yoga Mat||Made from jute fibers with a textured surface.||Gaiam Jute Yoga Mat|
|PVC Yoga Mat||Common, affordable, and durable, but not eco-friendly.||Gaiam Premium Yoga Mat|
|Natural Rubber Yoga Mat||Eco-friendly, grippy, and good cushioning.||JadeYoga Harmony Yoga Mat|
|Antibacterial Yoga Mat||Resists bacteria and odors, maintaining hygiene.||Manduka PRO Yoga Mat|
|Hot Yoga Mat||Designed for heat and humidity resistance.||Gaiam Dry-Grip Yoga Mat|
When choosing a yoga mat, consider the type of yoga you practice, your personal preferences, and any special needs you may have, such as joint support, environmental concerns, or travel requirements. Ultimately, the best yoga mat for you will depend on your unique needs and the style of yoga you enjoy.
When it comes to choosing the perfect yoga mat, the brand you select can make a significant difference in your practice. Here, we’ve compiled a list of top yoga mat brands, highlighting the reasons to choose each one and providing a “Top Pick” recommendation for your convenience.
|Brand||Why Choose This Brand||Top Pick|
|Manduka||Known for durability and eco-friendliness. Offers a range of premium yoga mats.||Manduka PRO Yoga Mat|
|Gaiam||Provides affordable and quality yoga mats for practitioners of all levels.||Gaiam Essentials Yoga Mat and Sling|
|Liforme||Emphasizes alignment and eco-conscious materials. Offers yoga mats with alignment guides.||Liforme Original Yoga Mat|
|Jade Yoga||Specializes in natural rubber mats with excellent grip. Plants a tree for every mat sold.||JadeYoga Harmony Yoga Mat|
|Heathyoga||Known for non-slip mats suitable for hot yoga and other sweaty practices.||Heathyoga Eco Friendly Non Slip Yoga Mat|
Selecting a yoga mat from these top brands ensures you receive quality, durability, and features tailored to your unique needs, helping you make the most of your yoga practice.
Benefits of Yoga Mats
Yoga mats offer a range of benefits for practitioners, enhancing both the physical and mental aspects of yoga practice. Here are some key benefits of using a yoga mat:
- Cushioning and Support: Yoga mats provide a comfortable and cushioned surface for your body, reducing the strain on your joints during poses, making it easier to maintain postures and transitions.
- Grip and Traction: Yoga mats offer a non-slip surface, enhancing stability and grip during poses. This minimizes the risk of slipping and provides a secure foundation for your practice.
- Hygiene: Yoga mats create a barrier between your body and the floor, helping maintain cleanliness and hygiene. Mats are easy to clean and prevent direct contact with potentially dirty or unsanitary surfaces.
- Alignment Assistance: Many yoga mats have alignment guides or markers to help practitioners maintain proper form and alignment in various poses, supporting a safer and more effective practice.
- Comfort: The cushioned surface of yoga mats enhances overall comfort, making seated and supine poses more relaxing and enjoyable.
- Warmth: Yoga mats insulate your body from cold or hard floors, creating a warm and comfortable space for practice, especially in cooler environments.
- Personal Space: Using a yoga mat helps define your personal space in a group class, allowing you to maintain proper distancing and alignment in a crowded studio setting.
- Mental Focus: The designated space of a yoga mat can serve as a mental cue, helping you stay present and focused on your practice, both physically and mentally.
- Sound Dampening: Yoga mats reduce noise and disturbances during practice, allowing for a peaceful and mindful atmosphere.
- Portable: Yoga mats are lightweight and easy to transport, making them suitable for practicing yoga anywhere, whether at home, in a studio, or while traveling.
- Customization: With various styles, materials, and designs, yoga mats can be tailored to your personal preferences, adding an element of personalization to your practice.
- Eco-Friendly Options: Many yoga mats are made from sustainable and eco-friendly materials, contributing to a more environmentally conscious yoga practice.
Incorporating a yoga mat into your practice can significantly enhance your overall yoga experience, ensuring comfort, safety, and focus as you explore the physical and mental benefits of yoga.
Care and Maintenance
Proper care and maintenance of your yoga mat are essential to extend its lifespan, keep it hygienic, and ensure a safe and comfortable yoga practice. Here are some tips for caring for and maintaining your yoga mat:
- Spot Cleaning: After each practice, wipe down your mat with a damp cloth or a mat-specific cleaning solution to remove sweat, dirt, and oils. This helps prevent the buildup of grime.
- Deep Cleaning: Depending on how often you use your mat, deep clean it every few weeks or as needed. To do this, you can either wash it by hand or machine wash it if the manufacturer allows. Use a gentle detergent and cold water. Air dry your mat, avoiding direct sunlight.
- Roll Properly: Roll your mat rather than folding it to prevent creases and damage to the surface. Rolling also helps maintain the mat’s shape.
- Use a Mat Strap or Bag: Invest in a mat strap or bag for convenient storage and transportation. This protects the mat from dirt and damage when not in use.
- Keep Shoes Off: Avoid wearing shoes on your yoga mat to prevent sharp objects or debris from damaging it. Practicing in bare feet or with clean, non-marking yoga socks is recommended.
- Watch for Sharp Objects: Be cautious about practicing on rough or uneven surfaces that may puncture or scratch your mat. Check the area for sharp objects or debris before rolling out your mat.
- Store Properly: Avoid leaving your mat in direct sunlight for extended periods, as excessive heat and UV rays can deteriorate the material. Store it in a cool, dry place.
- Keep Away from Pets: If you have pets, keep your yoga mat out of their reach to prevent any accidental damage.
- Monitor Wear and Tear: Regularly inspect your yoga mat for signs of wear, such as thinning, cracking, or peeling. If you notice significant damage, it may be time to replace it.
- Use a Yoga Towel: To keep your mat cleaner and reduce the need for frequent deep cleaning, use a yoga towel during practice, especially if you sweat heavily.
- Keep Clean Hands and Feet: Ensure your hands and feet are clean before practice, as dirt and oils from your body can transfer to the mat’s surface.
By following these care and maintenance tips, you can keep your yoga mat in good condition, promoting hygiene, comfort, and durability. A well-maintained yoga mat not only enhances your practice but also contributes to a more enjoyable and hygienic yoga experience.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- What is the purpose of using a yoga mat? A yoga mat provides a non-slip, cushioned surface that enhances your comfort, grip, and stability during yoga practice. It also acts as a barrier between your body and the floor, maintaining hygiene.
- What’s the difference between a thick and thin yoga mat? Thick mats offer more cushioning and support for joints, making them suitable for gentle or restorative yoga. Thin mats are better for balance and stability in poses.
- How do I choose the right yoga mat thickness for me? The right thickness depends on your personal comfort and the type of yoga you practice. Generally, 1/8 to 1/4 inch (3-6mm) mats are versatile for various styles.
- Can I clean my yoga mat, and how often should I do it? Yes, you can clean your yoga mat. Wipe it down with a damp cloth or mat-specific cleaner after each practice. Deep clean every few weeks or as needed.
- Can I machine wash my yoga mat? Some mats are machine washable, but it depends on the manufacturer’s guidelines. Read the care instructions that come with your mat to determine if machine washing is recommended.
- Are there eco-friendly yoga mat options? Yes, eco-friendly mats are made from sustainable and non-toxic materials like natural rubber, cork, and jute. Look for certifications like OEKO-TEX or GOTS.
- How do I prevent my yoga mat from smelling bad? Proper cleaning, regular airing, and using a yoga towel can help prevent odors. Avoid storing it in a humid environment.
- Can I use my yoga mat for hot yoga or Bikram yoga? Yes, but it’s advisable to use a non-slip mat designed for hot yoga. These mats offer better grip and moisture resistance.
- How do I know when it’s time to replace my yoga mat? Monitor your mat for signs of wear and tear, such as thinning, cracking, or peeling. If damage is significant, it’s time to replace it.
- What’s the recommended way to store a yoga mat when not in use? Roll your mat rather than folding it to avoid creases. Using a mat strap or bag for storage keeps it clean and protects it from damage.
- Are there mats with alignment guides for poses? Yes, some yoga mats have alignment guides or markers to help you maintain proper form in poses, making them ideal for beginners.
- Can I use my yoga mat for other types of exercise, like Pilates or stretching? Yes, yoga mats can be used for various exercises, including Pilates, stretching, and bodyweight workouts, providing a comfortable and non-slip surface.
These FAQs cover some of the common questions and concerns people have about yoga mats. If you have more specific questions or need further information, it’s a good idea to consult the manufacturer’s guidelines and product information or seek advice from yoga instructors and practitioners.
Meet Eric McGough, a seasoned adventurer and military veteran who traded his tech career for a life of outdoor exploration and freedom. He plans to travel the world, discover new adventures, and share information about great destinations, gear, and more on the Shaman Mountain Sports and Outdoors Blog.