Figuring out how to choose the right yoga mat depends on your priorities
Purchasing a quality yoga mat can feel a little daunting. You notice a variety of fab-looking mats at every class. Each yoga mat owner swears by the one s/he chose. So how do you decide what the very best mat is for you?
There are four main things to consider: the style of practice, affordability, eco-friendliness, and comfort on your mat.
How to choose the right yoga mat based on preferred style
For Hot Yoga: You very much need a mat that will keep you from sliding off your mat in Downward Facing Dog. Having the right degree of grip and sweat-wicking properties will keep you sane and able to practice even when sweat is pouring into your eyes and every inch of you is covered in wetness. Try the Zura Elephant Mat to protect you from slipping and from dealing with a towel that bunches up. It has an integrated microfiber towel that provides even better grip the wetter it gets. They have more than 20 different designs but the elephant is by far the most aesthetically appealing mat I’ve ever seen, and it’s stellar for practicing yoga in high temperatures.
For Non-Heated Energetic Flow and Restorative Practice: You need stability, firmness, support, and a mat that will wear well over time. There is no contest here. Manduka is the gold standard for a reason. I bought my Manduka Pro mat in 2005 and there is still not one sign of wear and tear. I use this mat daily, by the way.
If you dig lightweight yoga mats
Would you prefer to be as close to the earth as possible? Or, do you want some extra cushion for support? If you’re looking for a plush mat, consider anything with more than 5 millimeters of thickness. Thinner mats also tend to be lightweight and typically weigh under two pounds. They are perfect for the yogi who travels constantly and needs a mat that’s easy to pack. Thicker mats weigh approximately 5 to 7 pounds, making them much more durable and supportive. Lightweight mats may curl up at the edges and wear quicker. Try the Jade travel mat for both grip and packability. I’ve had mine for about 8 years and it’s still going strong!
Related: Best Yoga Mats
Thicker mats are where it’s at
For a solid, heavy, and sturdy yoga mat, the Manduka Pro Mat wins again. It comes with a lifetime guarantee because of how incredibly well-made it is. Imagine never having to buy a mat ever again after purchasing the Manduka. It’s pricey, and if paying a lot is simply not in the budget, there are excellent mats out there that are affordable.
How to choose the right yoga mat based on price
There are a couple of cost-effective yoga mats out there that have impressed me quite a bit. If you aren’t a daily yoga practitioner, these mats may last you for many years. And even if you are, you’ll probably get several good years out of a solid, quality mat that’s still economical. I have this Zura mat and I love it for several reasons. It travels well, it’s very affordable at $24.99. For the price, it’s a really high-quality mat and it’s reversible (black on one side, red on the other) so you can flip it to match your outfit. Let’s not pretend like that isn’t a consideration in how to choose the right yoga mat.
Eco-friendly yoga mats
If it’s important to you that your mat is ethically sourced and environmentally sound, pay attention to the materials. Jade Yoga has eco-friendly as their number one priority. The natural rubber contains no harsh chemicals and Jade has long been known for its high performance. Jade Yoga plants a tree for every mat sold. Each day on Earth Day, a portion of the proceeds sold on that day go to an environmental group doing good for the world.
Luckily, we don’t have to choose just one. If you teach yoga and love various styles of yoga, travel, and helping the environment, you could very easily end up with several yoga mats in your arsenal.