Three best yoga mats

By
tech-spanfeller
BestReviews

Extend the life of your yoga mat by alternating the side you use for each session.

Yoga may seem like a trendy exercise these days, but it's a workout that dates back to ancient India. There's are good reasons why it has been practiced for thousands of years -- it helps relieve stress in both mind and body, and it helps improve strength, flexibility, and balance. But if you're going to be successful in your yoga practice, you need the right mat to provide cushioning and a nonslip surface for your poses

Choosing the right mat means knowing what material, thickness, and other features to look for when you shop. But with all the yoga mats on the market, sorting through the options can get a little overwhelming.

We've got you covered. Our convenient shopping guide is full of tips to help you choose the perfect yoga mat for your next class. To make your shopping even easier, we've included some specific product recommendations, too.

Considerations when choosing yoga mats

Materials

Yoga mats are made of a variety of materials that affect the texture, cushioning, and stickiness. The best option for you depends on what features are most important to you.

Vinyl yoga mats are durable, inexpensive, and sticky, but they aren't recyclable, so they're a poor option for yogis looking for an eco-friendly mat.

All-natural rubber yoga mats are durable when cared for properly, and they can provide very effective traction when you're sweaty. Rubber offers excellent cushioning and is biodegradable, too.

Thermoplastic elastomer (TPE) yoga mats offer plenty of cushioning and effective traction, but they aren't as durable as other options. They're more eco-friendly than vinyl mats, but not all are fully recyclable.

Foam yoga mats are budget-friendly and highly durable. They provide effective traction but can be heavier than other mats of the same thickness, which can make carrying them to and from class more difficult.

Cotton or jute yoga mats are a natural, eco-friendly option. They don't provide the same traction or cushioning as other mats, but they can work well for meditative yoga.

Cork yoga mats are sustainably made from the bark of cork oak trees. Cork mats are eco-friendly, antibacterial, and odor resistant, but they can be heavier than mats made of other materials.

Thickness

Yoga mats are available in a variety of thicknesses, and your choice depends on how much cushioning you need. The most common thickness is 1/4 inch, which usually provides adequate cushioning and good durability. You can also find thinner mats. They don't provide much cushioning, but they're extremely easy to roll up for travel. If you have joint issues, you might prefer a 1/2-inch mat, which is the thickest available.

Yoga mat features

Length: When you're choosing a yoga mat, the length should correspond to your height. Ideally, you should opt for a mat that's at least six inches longer than your height to provide plenty of room to stretch out. Yogis over six feet tall should look for an extra-long mat.

Stickiness: A mat's stickiness helps keep it from sliding all over the place -- and keeps you from sliding off it -- during your yoga session. Some mats have a raised texture to provide an even better grip for your hands and feet. Others use materials like PVC that naturally provide effective traction.

Color/design: A yoga mat's function is obviously the most important consideration, but the form matters, too. You can find mats in a wide range of colors and patterns, and since you'll be looking at the mat as you do your poses, you'll want a design that you like!

FAQ

Q. What type of yoga mat is best for therapeutic yoga?

A. If you're practicing yoga to help relieve tight or compressed muscles or recover from an injury, cushioning is the most important factor to consider. Opt for a thicker yoga mat. A 1/2-inch mat is usually the best option.

Q. What's the best way to clean a yoga mat?

A. Some yoga mats made of natural materials can be tossed in the washing machine for easy cleaning. However, most other mats should be cleaned with a solution of warm water and a few drops of dishwashing soap on a rag or sponge. Always check the manufacturer's instructions to see the best method for your particular mat.

Yoga mats we recommend

Best of the best: Manduka PRO Yoga and Pilates Mat 

Our take: Sturdy, dense, thick mat that is expensive but will last a long time.

What we like: Made of recyclable PLUSfoam. Closed-cell construction resists moisture and microbial buildup. Users love the grippy surface and durability.

What we dislike: Pricey. Some owners find this mat takes a long time to break in.

Best bang for your buck: Clever Yoga Nonslip Yoga Mat 

Our take: A basic but well-made yoga mat that combines comfort and larger size at a budget-friendly price.

What we like: Boasts the same features as more expensive mats. Has a large surface area, lightweight design, and strap for easy carrying.

What we dislike: Sweat can cause the mat to slip. Some owners complain about the scent when the mat is new.

Choice 3: Sivan Health and Fitness Yoga Mat 

Our take: This mat provides plenty of cushioning for its price point, though it isn't the most stable option on the market.

What we like: Cushioning makes it ideal for individuals with joint issues. Provides a slip-resistant surface and has a strap for carrying.

What we dislike: Construction isn't as durable as other options. Isn't suitable for hot yoga. Thick cushioning can throw off balance.

Jennifer Blair is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.

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