Forget about the days of old when yoga mats were made of PVC and would tend to stick. Today, there are different types of mats to suit different preferences and the choice boils down to what you are looking for in the best yoga mat.
Yoga is practiced by millions of people around the world. It is an exercise that brings together mental awareness and physical wellbeing.
Yoga mats are made from different materials and come in different styles and thickness, which is why this handy guide will help you choose the most appropriate.
Choosing a Yoga Mat
There are a number of things to consider when searching for the best yoga mats:
- You should test the grip of the mat since you don’t want to slip or slide midway through your exercises! If you it’s too slippery, then just leave it on the shelf!
- Go for padded mats if you are a beginner. This is because you are yet to master all the moves and might fall here and there; the added padding helps minimize the pain! Be careful though not to go for too much foam in the mat, as they are not ideal for yoga.
- Watch out for the materials used. You might want to avoid a mat made of PVC as it is a toxic plastic. Instead, go for mats that are made from all-natural products such as all natural rubber.
- Go for a lightweight mat with fair padding since you might be required to carry the mat around.
- In order to enjoy your yoga sessions, you should look for a yoga mat that is pleasing to look at.
Top 10 Yoga Mats Table
|1. Aurorae Classic Thick 6mm||Non Slip Rosin||¼”||$$$||4.6|
|2. Heart Centered Yoga Mat||High density foam||¼”||$$||4.6|
|3. Jade Harmony Professional||Open-cell Natural Rubber||3/16”||$$$$||4.5|
|4. Aurorae Printed 5mm||Patented PER||5mm||$$$||4.5|
|5. Manduka PRO Yoga||Not specified||6mm||$$$$||4.5|
|6. YogaAccessories Deluxe||Not specified||¼”||$$||4.4|
|7. Sivan Health and Fitness Extra Thick||Not specified||½”||$$||4.3|
|8. HemingWeigh 1/2-Inch Extra Thick||Not specified||½”||$||4.3|
|9. Gaiam Print Premium||Not specified||5mm||$$||4.3|
|10. BalanceFrom GoYoga||Rubber||½”||$||4.2|
Other Factors to Consider When Buying
There are a number of things to consider when looking for the best yoga mat to suit your needs. Let’s have a look at some of them:
- Thickness. How thick a mat is will equate to how comfortable it is and how much yoga you can do. When searching for a yoga mat, you need to consider how portable you wish it to be, how comfortable you wish to be and how much direct connection to the floor you wish to have. This will help you decide on the mat thickness. Yoga mats can be anywhere from 1/8” to ½” thick.
- Material. Yoga mats are made from anywhere between synthetic material to eco-friendly material. When looking at material, you need to consider how functional the mat will be and how it fits in with your personal goals. Let’s have a look at some of the materials used:
- PVC is a plastic-based material that is highly durable and helps reduce the threat of slipping. On the downside though, it is not eco-friendly or absorbent.
- Foam is synthetic, latex-free and phthalate free material that is long lasting and not expensive.
- TPE (thermoplastic elastomer) is a man-made material that comprises of plastic and rubber polymers. This material delivers good traction but is not very durable.
- Rubber material is slip-resistant and yoga mats made from this material are open-celled. This means that the mat will provide a super ‘sticky’ experience since it will ‘suction’ to the hands and feet. On the downside though, it might cause an allergic reaction to people who are sensitive to latex. In addition, this material is not absorbent.
- Cotton is not only eco-friendly but absorbent. You should go for such mats if you will be doing meditation, yin yoga or restorative yoga since this material is not great for pivoting thanks to the resistance of the cotton fibers.
- Jute is also eco-friendly and absorbent. The downside is that such material tends to create resistance when changing positions. In addition, it tends to come with a rather uncomfortable texture.
- Length. When looking at length, it is best to go for length that is at least six inches taller than you are. If you wish to have extra space on the mat, then you should go for an extra wide one.
- Texture. The texture of the yoga mat will help determine how much traction you will enjoy. If you are going to do yoga that involves vigorous moves or that will result in you sweating then you should go for textures such as jute, rubber, and cotton as these come with a rise, tactile pattern that provides an added grip.
- Stickiness. A sticky yoga mat will keep you from sliding and help you maintain your alignment as you move from one pose to another. When looking at the mat’s stickiness level, you should consider both sides of the mat-the side that makes contact with the floor and the one that you practice on. Ideally the side that touches the floor should provide a stationary anchor so that mat doesn’t tend to shift as you exercise. The side that you practice on should enable you have firm grip as you exercise.
- Color and Design. You want to buy a yoga mat that will inspire your yoga sessions. Yoga mats today come in a wealth of unique designs, colors and patterns to suit most people’s needs.
- Price. Basic yoga mats that are 1/8” thick are on the cheap side. That in addition to yoga mats made from PVC material. Price varies according to material used, patterns, designs, thickness, textures, and antimicrobial treatments.
Does the Style of Yoga Play into the Yoga Mat You Use?
Yes, the style of the yoga does play into the yoga mat you use. There are different styles of yoga such as Ashtanga yoga, Hatha Yoga, Restorative Yoga and Vinyasa among others.
- Go for natural rubber or TPE yoga mats if you will be doing Ashtanga yoga.
- Start with foam mats if you will be doing Hatha yoga and build from there.
- For Bikram/ Hot Yoga, you should consider both a natural rubber yoga mat and a yoga mat towel since you tend to sweat A LOT!
- With Restorative yoga, you are not limited to particular materials.
- As for Vinyasa, you should look for a smooth mat that comes with plenty of stick such as a natural rubber mat.
Top 5 Best Yoga Mat Reviews
The Aurorae Classic yoga mat is ¼” thick, 72” long and 24” wide. It is made from non slip resin which is durable, lightweight and easy to care for. This mat contains no toxic components such as Latex, Phtalates, Silicone, Phenols, or rubber. It is great for a number of activities such as yoga, aerobics or pirates. In addition, you can take it with you when engaging in outdoor activities such as fishing or camping.
The thickness level of this mat (1/4”) is just right to help protect your knees and joints you exercise. It is odorless and doesn’t emit any toxic chemicals or gases.
Hearted Centered Yoga mats are not only eco-friendly but are made from non-toxic memory foam. These mats are ¼ thick thereby making them the perfect choice for those who engage in yoga, Pilates or a number of stretching and toning workouts. They are durable and wont peel or flake.
You should go for the hearted centered yoga mats if you are looking for comfort during your workout sessions. The extra thickness does help cushion your hips, spine, knees and elbows. They do boast of double-sided, non-slip surface grips that help prevent injuries as you workout.
These 72” long mats are extremely portable and lightweight which means that you can comfortably travel with one.
The Jade Harmony Professional 3/16 inch yoga mat is made from non-slip natural rubber material that makes for a slip-free yoga session. This mat is 3/16 thick and provides you with the right balance of traction and cushion to ensure you have a comfortably worthwhile yoga session.
It is made from open-cell, natural rubber which offers wonderful slip-resistance. It contains no PVC or toxic materials that are bad for the environment. When it comes to cleaning and taking care of the Jade Harmony professional mat, all you need is soap and water to wash and keep it clean.
As for the length, you can get one in 68 or 74 inches. These mats come in a decent range of colors.
The Aurorae printed yoga mat is 5mm thick, 72 inches long and 24 inches wide. The thickness level is just right to help protect your knees and joints from injury. This lightweight mat is easy to clean and is made from patented PER which is free from Phthalates, PAHS, Phenols, Latex, Silicon and Rubber. It doesn’t emit any chemicals and gases and comes in a wide range of cool prints and colors. There are plenty of beautiful illuminating colors to choose from to suit different people’s preferences.
It is lightweight and durable while maintaining an odorless presence. It does come with a Non-slip rosin bag that is perfect for absorbing perspiration and increasing gripping power.
Manduka PRO Yoga and Pilates mat is the perfect choice for those looking for a good quality mat to work with. If you are into Bikram/ hot yoga then you should definitely consider this mat. It is 6mm thick, 71 inches long and 26 inches wide. The closed-cell surface does help keep moisture and sweet from making its way to the mat thereby breeding bacteria.
It does boast of a high-density cushion that makes for wonderful joint protection. In addition, the cushion makes it a versatile mat to use on surfaces such as cement, carpet and hardwood floors. The high quality material used in making the Manduka PRO yoga and Pilates mat ensures that it will not peel, flake or fade overtime.
This 100% latex free product should put your mind at ease when it comes to sliding. This is thanks to the proprietary dot pattern bottom.