Yoga has been hailed as one the best things you can do for your wellbeing with incredibly appealing benefits like improved flexibility, muscle toning, and a zen-like Master Yoda vibe. It is no wonder most consider it a path to improved physical and spiritual health.
Whether you practice daily, or occasionally however, the one thing you will need is a proper yoga mat.
Would we prefer to be looking down at something that's fun? Probably. But that is not the reason you get on a mat, so let's be real.
We’ve taken the tried, tested and true mats out on the market and checked out their best and worst reviews so now, you don't have to.
Remember when shopping for a mat that its beauty should come second to last in the list of features. True, there are really artful ones on the market. Would we prefer to be looking down at something that's fun? Probably. But that is not the reason you get on a mat, so let's be real.
Without further ado - our top mats to consider are listed below.
Things to Note: Materials
Considered an eco-friendly alternative to PVC, rubber mats are as durable and supportive as PVC styles, but they’re a better option for environmentally minded practitioners. The latex could be an issue if you have allergies.
PVC (polyvinyl chloride):
One of the most popular materials, PVC mats tend to be inexpensive, and as such become a great first choice for beginners. They are reasonably durable, comfortable, and provide good grip. On the con side, they contain phthalates and dangerous toxins, and aren’t recyclable, so not an eco-friendly option.
Considered the eco-friendly choice. They are made from a renewable, natural material and therefore biodegradable. They tend to be thinner than other mats, however, so they don’t offer as much support. But cotton mats absorb sweat effectively and offer a good grip, even when wet.
Jute yoga mats are similar to cotton mats in that they are made from a natural, renewable, and biodegradable material. They also provide effective traction. However, jute mats don’t absorb moisture as well as cotton does and are not considered as supportive.
Stickiness and Texture:
Stickiness is key in order to help you hold your poses and maintain proper alignment.
So look for mats with PVC, foam, and PER which have a good amount of stickiness to them. Rubber mats are okay, but not as great. Cotton and Jute are not going to help you here.
The texture of your mat is important as it can help you stay in position easier, and help keep you from sliding during poses. Rubber, cotton, and jute yoga mats tend to have the most textured surfaces for effective traction.
Keeping Your Mat Happy:
Don't leave it out in the sun. Better still, store it flat if possible, or gently rolled up. The tighter the roll, the easier for bacteria to crawl in between the overly stretched out material and make it it's home. Ew.
Avoid a smelly mat by making sure to wipe it down with a mat-cleaning spray after each session. As an alternative try making your own with a little water, some tea tree oil and your fav aromatic oil like lavender or orange.
When really dirty, take it to the bathtub and scrub it down with a sponge. Roll it up in a towel to soak up the moisture and lay flat to dry.
Flip it over once in a while. This will help not to wear out your mat by using both sides.
If you find pieces of mat on your yoga pants after a session, your mat is dying. Time to replace it.
Once you've claimed it for dead, up-cycle! There are a slew of projects you can do with it's "Body". Why not make it a seat cushion? or a doormat?
Keep your germs to yourself and don’t share your mat! Nobody wants a "Typhoid Mary" situation.
In conclusion, our top 2 contender mats are:
This mat is considered the "Bugatti" of yoga mats. Strong, durable, grippy in both texture and stickiness. True, heavy to lug around, but that is what you want from a professional product, for a professional yogi.
B Mat (Everyday)
The strong rubber smell will fade. This is a mat that is great for preventing the slip and the slide of other wannabe pro mats, so it won't disappoint. It's got enough of a cushion to provide support and comfort.
That being said, proper care is key to prolong their life. Now, get to class! Or...
Read up on what you can expect, and some tips for beginners from our resident Yogi here.