The Best Yoga Mats
Yoga provides people with a range of health benefits, such as increased flexibility, weight loss, and lowered blood pressure. Yoga also has been known to help relieve mental health issues by reducing depression and anxiety. While some people like the physical challenge of yoga by pushing themselves to achieve more and more complex poses, yoga does not have to be difficult, and many people connect with the mindfulness aspect of it. Yoga is about more than athletics; it is also about breathing and being in the present.
Are you ready to give yoga a chance yet? Good! There are many different types of yoga out there, but luckily you don't need much to get started. The bare basics would be some loose or stretchy clothes that you can move around in comfortably and a yoga mat. A yoga mat should have enough stickiness that you won't slip out of poses, particularly if doing hot yoga when you are sure to get pretty sweaty. How thick you like your mat is up to you. Some people like thicker mats so that they don't feel the floor as much, particularly in seated or lying poses. The thickest mats are typically around 1/4 inch thick. Others like thinner mats that tend to be more lightweight to carry, especially if you are schlepping it through the city using public transportation. Travel mats also exist for if you don't want to give up your yoga practice while on the road. These tend to be the thinnest at about 1/16 inch thick. Some are made out of PVC, while others are made from more natural materials such as rubber or jute. We've reviewed the best yoga mats out there and come up with this handy guide to navigate your yoga mat purchase.
The Winner: JadeYoga Harmony Yoga Mat
The JadeYoga Harmony Mat is 3/16 of an inch thick. It measures 24 inches wide, though there is also an extra wide 28-inch version. You can choose among three lengths: 68 inches, 71 inches, and 74 inches. Keep in mind that as the size increases, the weight also goes up. It starts at 4.5 pounds. Unfortunately, because it is made out of rubber, it is not suitable for anyone with a latex allergy. There is a rubber smell at first, but after a couple of weeks it greatly dissipates. This yoga mat felt good to use from the first day according to reviewers with no need for breaking the mat in. It stayed grippy even through sweating, though one downside to the grippiness is that everything sticks to it, including pet hair. It is very absorbent so if you do a full washing (versus just wiping it down), realize that it can take more than a day to dry out. For this reason, if you do hot yoga and sweat a ton, this mat might not be for you. You can't leave it in direct sunlight because it will damage the mat material, nor is it advised to stick it in the dryer. Overall, yogi reviewers loved it for its comfort, stickiness, and the environmental commitments of the company.
Runner-Up: Manduka Pro Yoga Mat
The Manduka Pro is a yoga mat that Manduka guarantees will never wear out from yoga practice. This mat is available in two different sizes: 71-inches by 26-inches and 85-inches by 26-inches. The weight is a hefty 7.5 and 9.5 pounds, respectively. It is about 1/4 of an inch thick. Though it is heavy, the denseness helps to feel like your joints are really cushioned while using it. That being said, if you're worried that this mat will be too heavy for you to cart around, there is also a ProLite mat available that weighs only 4 to 4.6 pounds, depending on the length you choose. Reviewers adamantly love this mat, however keep in mind that there is a breaking in period. You can either break it in through regular yoga practice with the mat, or if you don't want to wait, Manduka has a video on their website that demonstrates how to break it in with sea salt. Once you break it in, you'll find that slipperiness that the mat initially has when you sweat goes away.
Budget-Friendly: YogaRat RatMat
YogaRat's RatMat Yoga Mat are cushy 1/4" thick mats that come in a variety of colors and prints. While they aren't the cheapest yoga mats out there, they are nevertheless budget-friendly. They measure 24-inches by 68-inches. It weighs three pounds. Because this mat is not rubber, it doesn't have that strong rubber smell that bothers some people. Also, people with latex allergies can use this mat. It's recommended that you wash the mat before using to increase stickiness; otherwise, some reviewers felt that this mat was slippery. You can clean the mat by wiping it with a mild, non-oil based soap and hanging to dry. Reviewers also note that the mat seems to get more sticky with time. Many compliments were received for the cute designs on these mats!
Extra Large Mat: PrAna Revolution
PrAna offers a sticky yoga mat made from 100% rubber. PrAna boasts that this yoga mat is made from rubber not sourced from the Amazon in respect to environmental integrity. This mat is extra large, measuring 78 inches by 30 inches. This makes it a good choice for tall yogis or those who just like to spread out. It measures about 1/6 of an inch thick. It weighs 6.2 pounds. Though it's not the heaviest mat we've reviewed, the large size makes it feel awkward to carry around. Cleaning isn't difficult; just wipe it down with water and dish soap and let air dry out of direct sunlight. Since it is rubber, people with latex allergies shouldn't come in contact with this mat. It also does have a rubber smell at first, but this subsides over time. Reviewers love how sticky this mat is, both in terms of hands and feet placement as well as not slipping on the floor.
The favorite yoga mat among our reviewers was the Jade Yoga Harmony mat, which is a great sticky mat for everyday use. It comes in a number of sizes, is machine washable, and isn't too heavy. Plus, reviewers appreciated the environmental commitment of the company. Despite the intense breaking in period and heavier weight, the Manduka Pro Yoga Mat ended up being our runner up pick. It definitely improved in stickiness with breaking in, and the lifetime guarantee is certainly nothing to scoff at. Our budget pick as well as our non-rubber pick is the Yoga Rat RatMat Yoga Mat, which has a nice cushy feel and comes in a beautiful array of colors and patterns that are sure to get you compliments. Finally, the PrAna Revolution mat is a great choice for those who want an extra large sticky mat that isn't too thick.