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Find Success in Every Practice with the Best Yoga Mats
Whether you’re a newbie or an expert, these top-ranked mats can be prime for achieving your flow state.
In yoga, your mat is your private space. It’s where you come to find zen, strength, relief — whatever it is that drives your motivation in the discipline. But it’s hard to get there when you have a mat that messes with your flow. Even the most blissed-out yogi is going to experience some aggravation if their hands start sliding or their feet lose tackiness in the middle of a pose. “If you practice regularly, you must invest in your own mat,” asserts Kristin McGee, a Peloton yoga instructor.
BEST OVERALL YOGA MATDecathlon Gentle Yoga Comfort Mat Read More
BEST UPGRADE YOGA MATManduka Pro Yoga Mat 6mm Read More
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BEST THICK YOGA MATLottus Life Natural Jute Fiber Mat Read More
BEST THIN YOGA MATLululemon Carry Onwards Travel Yoga Mat Read More
How to Choose a Yoga Mat
Yoga mats might seem simple at first glance, but there are a number of factors that can influence your sessions for better or worse. To find the perfect mat for your fitness regimen, be sure to take these features into consideration.
“A mat needs to have that good grip from the beginning,” says McGee. “If you find you’re sliding way too much, it’s not a good sign.” A good indicator to how tacky your yoga mat will be is whether it features an open-cell or closed-cell design. Open-cell mats can provide excellent traction thanks to their porous nature, but it’s important to routinely clean this style so as to prevent any unwanted odor or bacteria growth. Closed-cell mats, on the other hand, can be great for low-intensity exercise that won’t see you sweat profusely from pose to pose. This style of yoga mat doesn’t absorb moisture but as a result can become slippery rather easily. Be sure to think about how you plan to use your mat prior to purchase so you can best determine how much grip you’ll need — and how much cleaning you’ll need to schedule.
Your mat’s material can not only affect your traction but also showcase your morals in relation to sustainability. “Most mats are made with polyvinyl chloride (PVC),” says Kevin Schaefer, gearhead and yoga instructor at outdoor e-retailer Backcountry. PVC is a popular material option for its easy-to-clean, non-porous makeup, but for those wanting less plastic in the world (as well as those wanting a little more security underfoot), there are more eco-friendly mats made from natural and recycled rubber or other natural materials. “Rubber is my go-to — it’s firm and great for balancing poses, but with some thickness, so it’s comfortable when you are embracing the floor and gravity.”
For yogis with a rubber or latex allergy, it’s important to consider the material your mat is made of. To avoid any health concerns, opt for a mat containing only natural materials.
Comfort is another major factor for yogis, and a mat’s thickness determines that. “Your travel mats can be as thin as 1mm to the mid-plush thickness of 3mm,” explains Schaefer. “Your usual home mat is going to be around 3–6mm in thickness. And if you want some extra comfort, you can go 7mm-plus.” Some people need more padding than others, so it’s crucial to figure out what feels good to you (and your joints).
How to Clean a Yoga Mat
A good mat can be an investment, but it’s worth it. “If you take care of them, yoga mats can last for quite a long time — at least five years!” says McGee. That means wiping it down after you practice (every time would be great, but at least once a week) and giving it a deeper scrub and letting it hang dry once a month, she adds. McGee recommends the Jo-Sha Yoga Cleansing Wipes, but you can also use warm water and a few drops of dish soap.
To clean a yoga mat, the process is very simple.
- Lay your mat out on a flat surface
- Mix warm water and a few drops of dish soap in a spray bottle or bowl
- Wet your cleaning rag and clean the mat from top to bottom in a circular motion
- Wipe the mat clean with a dry towel
- Air dry your yoga mat for at least 30 minutes, ensuring it’s completely dry before putting it away
There are also deodorants, like Swiff Spray, that you can use to treat your yoga mats so they maintain a stink-free condition in-between deep cleans. Also, it’s important to note that while every yoga mat can benefit from a routine scrub-down, open-cell mats will require a more regimented cleaning schedule to help avoid any deterioration or mold buildup.
How We Tested
While we don’t proclaim ourselves to be avid yogis, we have been following different flows and practices for quite some time across a number of the mats listed in this roundup. Across each mat, we’ve taken note of the cushioning felt mid-session, as well as other features like tackiness, overall length and more. Bonus points are always given for mats that come with a convenient carrying strap, making traveling from home to studio much easier, too. There’s other convenience factors like alignment strips and travel-ready designs, which can help facilitate even more mindful training — but, admittedly, these aren’t always necessary.
Now, let’s roll out and get deep into the best yoga mats for facilitating zen-filled training.