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Choosing the Best Yoga Mat for Your Practice

Are you looking for a mat that is comfortable, long-lasting and affordable? Have you just started yoga and want a beginners mat? Perhaps you are looking for the perfect non-slip mat for hot classes?

My hope is that this guide will help you in you research for the perfect mat.

Like with any other purchase, I believe it’s important to understand what factors are most important to you when shopping for a new yoga mat.

Below are some questions to ask yourself:

What type of yoga classes do you typically attend?
Do you often attend yin, restorative and slow flow classes? Then you might want a slightly thicker mat. For hot yoga classes choose a non-slip mat, or be prepared to use a yoga towel with your mat.

Do you have a preference in terms of material/texture?
If you prefer an eco friendly mat, look for a mat made of rubber or other eco friendly materials. These mats should be free from Polyvinyl chloride (PVC), Ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA) & phthalates. Perhaps anti-slip is most important to you? Then look for a mat made to meet this specific criterion.

What’s your budget?
Most mats cost between $15-$150. The price is often related to the materials used. PVC mats tend to be cheaper while natural materials such as rubber and brands using innovative toxic-free materials add to the price.

Do you have any other specific needs?
The most common thickness range between 4–5mm. Do you have sensitive joints, eg. sensitive knees or wrists? Try looking for a thicker mat (more than 5mm thick) or be prepared to use a blanket with your mat for extra padding.

This is a selection of mats that meet some or several criteria mentioned above:

Picture via Amazon

Jade mats are made sustainably with natural rubber tapped from rubber trees, a renewable resource that contains no PVC, EVA, or other synthetic rubber.

Price: $ 74.95
Thickness: 4.7mm
Weight: 5 lbs
Material: Natural rubber

Pros: Jade mats provide a superior level of traction, making them one of the best gripping mats on the market. Perfect for Hatha and Vinyasa yoga classes.

Cons: Slightly heavier than other mats.

Bonus: Jade plants a tree for every mat sold.

Price: $59.99
Thickness: 5mm
Weight: 4.25lbs
Material: PVC. Free of latex, rubber and six different phthalates. See website for details.

Pros: Designed for hot yoga, Vinyasa and sweaty classes. Lightweight and durable.

Cons: Some customers complain about the strong smell on purchase. Gaiam recommends to unroll and air out the mat for 2–3 days before first use.

Bonus: Each purchase comes with a lifetime guarantee.

Price: $102.00
Thickness: 6mm
Weight: 7.5 lbs
Material: Eco-certified PVC. Non-toxic, emissions-free manufacturing, 100% latex free.

Pros: High-density cushion for full support and joint protection. Excellent for restorative and slower paced yoga classes.

Cons: A bit more expensive and on the heavy side comparing to other mats on the market.

Bonus: Manduka also sells some super lightweight travel mats!

Price: $24.99
Thickness: 5mm
Weight: 2.49lbs
Material: PVC mat free of phthalates

Pros: A lightweight, budget friendly choice. Many stylish prints to choose from.

Cons: According to Gaiam their printed mats release a very strong but harmless odor when first unwrapped. They recommend to unroll and air out the mat for 2–3 days before using.

Bonus: If you order via Amazon you get a s free yoga workout for download

Price: $47.95
Thickness: 5mm
Weight: 2.2 lbs
Material: 100% Thermoplastic Elastomer (TPE)

Pros: Extremely lightweight and uses non-toxic materials.

Cons: In the reviews some customers complain about the durability of the mat.

Bonus: Check out Prana for eco-friendly yoga wear!

Picture via Lifeorme

This is a mat for the professional who is looking for the extra.

Price: $149.95
Thickness: 4.2 mm
Weight: 5.5 lbs
Material: Natural rubber and eco-polyurethane

Pros: Designed for a superior grip with a rubber base but a cushioned top surface. Also the lines marking your alignment are pretty unique.

Cons: The price point.

Bonus: Comes with a yoga mat bag and booklet with care instructions.

I hope you find this guide helpful, whether you’re shopping for your first mat or an upgrade. This guide includes some of the most popular mats on the market right now and are all worth checking out. With yoga growing so fast in popularity around the world, it feels like new brands are emerging every day!

Personally, I’ve been practicing on a Jade Harmony mat for several years now and I’m so used to the texture and grip that any other mat feels a bit weird to me. Sometimes you have to test a few different mats to find which one work best for you. In my experience as a teacher and student, at smaller yoga studios they often have rental mats available from a mix of brands. This can be a great opportunity to try out different mats. Just remember that a mat that’s been used for years won’t feel the same as a brand new mat. If you practice consistently a few days a week I recommend upgrading your mat every 2–3 years.

Good luck in your search, happy practicing and feel free to comment below with your questions!

Me on my beloved Jade Yoga Mat

*Please note that the prices and details specified above might have changed since the date of publication. Please refer to each seller for most updated information.

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