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Finding “The One”: 6 Tips for Finding Your Perfect Yoga Mat

When I began my practice several years ago, I knew there were two things I needed to buy: the best yoga pants and the best yoga mat. Yoga pants are easy. You find a pair that look good and feel good, and voila! You’re done! By now I shamelessly own about 100 pairs of yoga pants and at least half of them are black. (Okay, I’m exaggerating, but I really do own A LOT of yoga pants.)

I also own more than the average number of mats. I have four, but each has a different purpose.

Unlike yoga pants, you can’t exactly try on a mat before you buy it. Seriously…I got yelled for unrolling a yoga mat at a sporting goods store, and I didn’t even step onto it (although that was my intention)! Naïve, 2012 me didn’t really concern herself about the germs yoga mats can carry. Imagine if someone tries out a mat with bare feet prior to actually buying it. If she doesn’t like it, she puts it back on the shelf and the next barefoot person tries it out. Ew. So many germs.

For those of you trying to find your perfect mat without all the germs, here are some qualities to look out for:

The Restorative Yogi

You enjoy a slower paced practice; holding postures for several minutes and breathing deeply. You spend virtually all of your practice seated or lying down, so you want a comfortable place to relax.

For a cozy, restorative practice, a thicker mat is the best yoga mat for you! Don’t limit your search to just “yoga mats.” Instead, take a look at Pilates mats. Pilates mats tend to be thicker than most yoga mats, ranging from 6 to 15 mm. Because there isn’t much grip on thicker mats, you won’t get that uncomfortable sticky feeling as you transition from one Yin posture to the next.

The Posture-Focused Yogi

You love learning new postures! You spend much of your practice focusing on and perfecting one posture before moving onto the next. You’re a go-getter, and you expect your mat to hold up to your trial-and-error, posture-focused practice.

For a mat that readily has your back, look for a thickness between 3 to 5.5 mm. Thinner mats will provide more stability for balance postures, however if you really love standing on your head, a thicker mat will take some of the pressure off your neck. Look for mats with mild grip; enough to provide a little extra hold as you balance, but won’t painfully pull your skin when you fall over (let’s be honest; no one sticks the perfect pose ALL the time).

Also consider a mat with alignment marks. These lines will help you figure out where your hands and feet need to be, taking you one step closer to perfecting your latest posture!

The Heated Yogi

Your practice generally consists of at least an hour of Bikram or Vinyasa Flow Yoga. Your face glistens and your hands and feet are drenched in sweat. The last thing you want is to be slipping and sliding on your mat or constantly having to pause to dry off. You want a mat that will stand up to the heat!

Look for a mat with moisture wicking properties. Instead of soaking up all your sweat, it simply wicks it away as you practice. A thinner mat, between 2.5 and 5.5 mm, will be the best yoga mat for you. Thinner mats provide more stability, allowing the surface to be felt beneath you, and prevents accidentally rolling a wrist or ankle as you flow quickly between postures. Choose a mat with lots of grip. There are even mats that become “grippier” as the heat rises!

The Traveling Yogi

Today you’re in Australia, and tomorrow you’re in Zimbabwe. You are constantly on the go, so you need a mat that goes where you go without weighing you down.

Try a travel mat! Yes, there is such a thing. Travel mats are between 1 and 2.5 mm and coming in various lengths and shapes. They are easy to fold, roll, and carry and weigh less than an average mat for when you need to hop on a plane or climb up a mountain.

The Earthy Yogi

You prefer all-natural products, including your Yoga mat. Look for mats made from natural rubber, organic cotton, or jute! Natural rubber mats come in various thicknesses, whereas organic cotton and jute mats tend to be thinner.

The Technology-Loving Yogi

Lucky for gadget lovers like myself, some Yoga mats now come as handy pieces of technology! More expensive than an average mat, these contain sensors that assist your alignment and weight distribution. There are mats with LED lights that guide your practice, mats with attached Wifi/data capable screens, and mats that connect via Bluetooth to any of your devices!

Are you ready to find the best yoga mat for your practice? What other tips would you give a fellow yogi looking for the perfect mat?

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26 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Dwayne

    September 27, 2016 at 6:50 pm

    First, I’m 6’3″ tall, so I prefer an “extra-long” mat, 84″ or at least 78″. That narrows the field a lot.
    Second, after a few years I decided that durability is most important. I went through a couple of inexpensive “extra-long, extra-thick” mats from online stores (Yoga Direct / Yoga Accessories).These were pretty nice, but I do a lot of vinyasa practice and they gradually (after about 2 years) disintegrated at the jump forward/back areas at both ends of the mat. Throwing old mats out seems wasteful, so I spent the money for a Manduka Black Mat Pro. This is not perfect (a bit firmer than my ideal, and kind of slippery when wet), but after four years it has only minor scuffing, and I expect at least four more years.
    Interestingly, some of the “all-natural” rubber mats have very poor ratings for durability. Just curious, are “all-natural” mats really ecologically responsible if they have to be replaced every year or so?

    1. Avatar

      Alex Edwards

      September 28, 2016 at 12:24 am

      I haven’t heard that about natural-material mats! I use a mat made of natural rubber that is extremely durable in my experience (well over a year at this point). That seems to be the case in reviews of it as well, so there are definitely durable natural mats out there. There are definitely natural and synthetic mats out there of varying quality and durability, but I haven’t seen a correlation between natural materials and poor durability.

      1. Avatar

        Dwayne

        September 29, 2016 at 6:35 pm

        I don’t have direct experience, but was echoing an old article from a (now moribund) yoga blog I read when shopping for a new mat. The reviewer seemed impartial; I used to enjoy his blog.
        https://yogaisforlovers.wordpress.com/2009/03/29/eco-friendly-yoga-mats/

  2. Amanda

    Amanda

    September 28, 2016 at 10:52 am

    I have a cork mat with rubber backing that I like quite a lot. When you touch it, it seems like you would slide on it, but it actually grips really well! Every now and then, though, downward dog gives me the sensation that I’m about to slip. With the first mat I had from this company, the cork started to separate from the backing after just a couple of months of regular use. They’re a new company, though, and when I told them about it they said they’d already fixed the problem and replaced the mat for me. So far, so good, with the second one….and honestly, with a little glue I think that first one will be fine for quite a while, too. So, all told, I have four mats right now: two traditional PVC mats, both of which I’ve had for several years, and the two cork mats, which I’ve had for about eight months. My dog has his own mat, too. 🙂 It was an old one of mine, a cheaper one that wasn’t really that good. He loves it though!

  3. Jen

    Jen

    October 6, 2016 at 1:31 pm

    Thanks for this! I love my Mello Mae mat! I’ve had it for a year and I don’t even need a towel on top of it for hot classes.
    https://www.mellomae.com/products/jute-yoga-mat-seaway

  4. Pála Margrét

    Pála Margrét

    October 7, 2016 at 9:16 am

    Great one! I have a liforme mat that I mostly use at home and a manduka superlite that I take with me everywhere, though I´ve carried my liforme mat on my back a lot as well! My yoga mats are my heaven – and definitely not the part of my practice where I try to cut down the cost as I know they will last a long time, while my yoga pants are usually cheap and not so fancy (the fancy once are still just a dream that will come true one day!).

    So my advice – don´t buy a cheap yoga mat that won´t work! it´s an investment! 😀

  5. Avatar

    Matsindia

    March 24, 2017 at 8:27 am

    The post is very supportive for a yoga beginner! At Matsindia, you can find several types of
    Yoga Mats with varied thickness and printed designs. On your request, we can customize our range of yoga mats in terms of material, thickness, size, color and shape.

  6. Avatar

    Kelly Loves Yoga

    April 13, 2017 at 9:13 am

    I love that you’re encouraging people to purchase mats that best fit their needs! Aside from choosing a mat depending on my body type, I personally prefer mats that are eco-friendly. I avoid PVC mats entirely.

  7. Finding a Yoga Mat - M.B.Om | Mastering the Business of Yoga

    October 18, 2017 at 1:45 pm

    […] location where you’re going to do yoga can affect the kind of yoga mat that you get. If you’re going to do exercises at home, then you might want to invest in a mat […]

  8. Avatar

    Matskart

    February 9, 2018 at 3:31 am

    Very informative post! The article is very helpful for yoga lovers. At Matskart, you can find yoga mats which are made using materials like Japanese Synthetic rubber(JSR) and Eva foam in various thickness at reasonable prices. We made these mats with all great stuff that makes its more comfortable and highly durable.

  9. Avatar

    matskart

    May 2, 2018 at 2:35 am

    hello Sir/ma’am
    Thank for a Blog
    Buy, Shop, Purchase, wholesaler, supplier, manufacture, kabaddi Mats,kabaddi Mat,dealers,Kabaddi Mats for Sale, Online Order, Online Store, Website, Delhi, India.Contact us for more details on Toll-Free No. – 8010991166 OR visit matskart.com

  10. Avatar

    yogamatsindia

    May 9, 2018 at 1:56 am

    hello sir
    Thank For Information
    Shop Yoga Mats from India’s no 1 leading manufacturer of Mats. We are leading supplier of yoga mats and have vast variety of Mats and accessories : Yoga Meditation Accessories, Sports Mats, Interlocking Mats, Kids Mats, Yoga Mats in Delhi. For more details visit our website yogamatsindia.com OR call us at toll-free no : 8010991166.

  11. Avatar

    yogamats

    May 22, 2018 at 3:25 am

    Thank you for sharing such an informative post about Yoga Mats…..

    At Gravolite we also offers Yoga Mats at very affordable prices. For more info. you can also visit: http://www.yogamatsindia.com/ OR call us at toll-free no : 8010991166.

  12. Avatar

    Mayank Sharma

    June 21, 2018 at 3:08 am

    Thanks For This Blog information
    Is hardness your main concern for your search of the right Kabaddi Mats Manufacturer in Delhi? Join your hands with us at Gravolite and we will offer you Kabaddi Mats with the hardness of 30-35 degree shore. For more details visit kabaddimats.com

  13. 9 Bedroom Essentials for a Good Night's Sleep - Bad Yogi Magazine

    January 17, 2019 at 5:01 am

    […] sheep and start practicing yoga before bed. Only a few minutes of gentle stretching and mindfulness on your mat can really get you ready to hit the sack. Plus, you’ll wake up fresh, flexible and pain-free in […]

  14. Avatar

    Mats India

    April 18, 2019 at 3:45 am

    Really useful information for choosing perfect yoga mats. Keep sharing.

  15. Avatar

    rashik

    July 14, 2019 at 1:22 am

    The post is very supportive for a yoga beginner! At Matsindia, you can find several types of
    Yoga Mats with varied thickness and printed designs. On your request, we can customize our range of yoga mats in terms of material, thickness, size, color and shape.
    https://www.zibazin.com/product-category/%D9%84%D9%88%D8%A7%D8%B2%D9%85-%DB%8C%D9%88%DA%AF%D8%A7/yoga-mate/

  16. Avatar

    The Grip Club

    August 1, 2019 at 6:38 am

    Thank you for sharing the tips to find the best yoga mats.

  17. Avatar

    Gripyogamats

    August 14, 2019 at 5:00 am

    Thank you for telling us perfect 6 tips to find out the best yoga mats.

  18. Avatar

    Harry Clarke

    August 29, 2019 at 6:19 am

    Great blog! Thanks for sharing the tips to find a perfect yoga mat.

  19. Avatar

    Natisha

    January 3, 2020 at 12:28 am

    Awesome post related to yoga mats. We are a manufacturer of mats (Yoga mats, Interlocking Mats, Karate Mats, Kabaddi Mats, etc). If you want any type of mats you can contact us at 9891907711 or you can visit our website for more details: https://gripinternational.in/

  20. Avatar

    jyoti

    January 7, 2020 at 7:20 am

    Hi Nice,
    Thanks for sharing, If your search is for a branded Yoga Mats. At Grip(Yoga Mats Manufacturer in Delhi ), we offer an extensive range of Yoga Mats with customization facility. For more details visit grip.international and Contact us – 9891907711
    Yoga Mats

  21. Avatar

    Rishi

    January 15, 2020 at 5:07 am

    Thanks for sharing with us this blog! Very helpful for me. thanks! if you need Important Items that You Need for Yoga

  22. Avatar

    curveityoga

    January 18, 2020 at 6:30 am

    Really very helpful blog on a Yoga mat. yoga mat is really very important while doing yoga.

  23. Avatar

    Amisha

    February 7, 2020 at 12:27 am

    Looking for a mat manufacturer that can supply interlocking mats as per your required quantity and specifications? We at Grip, a leading interlocking mats manufacturer in India, are the best option for you. For more details visit our website: gripinterlockingmats.com OR you can search “GRIP” brand in Google OR call us @ 0120-4310799 | 9891907711.

  24. Avatar

    Rahul

    February 26, 2020 at 4:51 am

    Great blog! Thanks for sharing the tips to find a perfect yoga mats.

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