There are numerous styles of yoga mats that are available depending on whether you exercise on a regular basis or if you just like performing the movements as a way to relax and get the blood flowing through your body.
One of the things to keep in mind is that there isn't a specific yoga mat that is designed for everyone and it also depends on your environment, yoga style, and personal preferences.
Mats are used in all kinds of weather and in all types of conditions, such as a cold studio or one that is warmer where you will get sweaty.
So consider the materials!
Aside from materials, there is a slew of other factors that go into choosing the best yoga mat for your practice.
The research team at reviews.com tested 48 different yoga mats — here are some recommendations based on their findings:
Open – versus closed-cell structure: Open-cell mats absorb sweat and oils, which keeps grip even under wet conditions. This, however, also makes your mat harder to clean. Closed- cell mats don’t absorb moisture, which makes these great for cleanliness, but also makes slipping easier.
Density, thickness, & weight: The density of a mat will determine your comfort level, the support of joints, and stability in balanced poses. If a mat is too thin, kneeling poses may not be comfortable.
But if a mat has too much cushion and not enough density, your grounded connection to the earth may be lost; balance poses may feel unstable; and wrists, knees, and hip joints may be over compromised.
Durability: Natural rubber and some eco-friendly mats will hold up well. However, lack of proper care (like failing to clean them or leaving them in a hot car), and using them in the outdoors or heated environments can cause the material to break down rather quickly.
Price: The lower price range can typically be found in big-name department stores, but it means you probably won’t be investing in a reliable, quality mat. The price tag increases with brand name and materials used. Just know that a quality mat is well worth the investment.
Yoga style & location: Take into consideration the type of yoga and where you’ll most frequently be practicing before making the purchase since the best type of mat can vary based on the style of class. For example, comfort and cushion may be a higher priority when practicing a more restorative yoga.
For styles such as Bikram and other hot yoga classes, you won’t necessarily need a sticky mat, but you may look for a mat (or invest in a towel) that absorbs sweat and is easy to clean.
For more vigorous styles of yoga, like power yoga and ashtanga, you’ll want to look for a mat with a no-slip grip to provide traction once you begin to drench yourself in sweat.
Length & Size: This one is pretty simple. You’ll want to make sure a yoga mat covers your whole body when lying down.
If you're looking for a mat that is eco-friendly, then consider the Jade Harmony Professional Mat. It has a substantial amount of traction while offering plenty of support for the feet. It's made of natural rubber, and the company makes sure a tree is planted with every sale of a mat.
The Gaiam Print Premium is a mat to consider if you don't want to spend a lot of money. There is a beautiful floral print on the surface, so you're getting something that's pleasing to look at without spending a lot of money. There are several colors to choose from, and the mat does have plenty of traction so that it stays in one place.
The Liforme yoga mat is one that doesn't slip while it's being used. There isn't really any kind of period where you have to break in the mat before it stays in place, but it does have a higher price than some other products on the market.
When you're looking for a multi purpose yoga mat, you need to stand on it before you buy it to see if it's comfortable. Look at the traction that it offers as well as whether it's easy to keep clean or not. Variety is also something to think about as you want to keep your sessions fun and exciting.
Suggested Resources About Yoga:
- How to Practice Yoga Nidra Meditation
- An Overview of Hatha Vinyasa Yoga
- What is the Mind-Body Connection