Let’s set the scene: It’s time to hit the gym for those New Year’s resolutions. You’ve finally gotten into a habit of going to yoga once, twice, three times a week. You’re dedicated, you’re motivated, and you’re ready to take on this new challenge. And you need some new gear to match your new year and new outlook! But, how do you choose what yoga mat is right for you? There are TONS out there, all touting their benefits and advantages over the others. And a lot of them are not cheap. You don’t want to shell out a ton of money on a mat if you’re going to be unhappy with it. Ultimately, each yogi is different, and each yoga practice is different. Thus, each yogi you ask will like or recommend a different mat. I’ve used a few yoga mats in my short time as a regular practicing yogini, here are my thoughts and opinions on those.
A lot of studios will have mats that you can rent or use. Yoga Six offers rentals of Manduka Pro mats, and Ohm Culture offers both basic (free) and premium mat rentals ($5). If you’re not sure what mat is for you, try out the ones at your studio first and see if they work for you. If you’re looking for more info on more mats, see the link at the bottom of this post!
Gaiam: I started my yoga journey with a simple, Gaiam 5mm mat from a sporting goods store. It does the job, and is a great inexpensive option for a new yogi trying out practice for the first time. If you’re not sure if you’re going to practice enough to justify shelling out $60+ for a premium brand mat, go with this one. It’s your standard yoga mat, comes in tons of colors, and holds up well to wear and tear.
Manduka Pro: I use Manduka Pro mats when I’m at Yoga Six. It’s not my personal favorite, but they are very well made and hold up to lots of wear. Yoga Six has these mats for all students to rent to use, so they are used by tons of people each day and you seriously can’t even tell. I hear you’ll fall in love with your Manduka once you “break it in,” so maybe I need to get my own before really appreciating this mat. It’s not as non-slip as some others I’ve used, I find my hands slipping in down dog more than I’d like. If you’re looking for a really well made mat that will hold up to heavy use, this is for you.
Manduka travel mat: I have a Manduka travel mat, and this little sucker has all the stick. It’s super light, foldable, and easy to stuff in my carry on when I travel for work. I love having a mat I can roll out in my hotel room, so I feel like I’m getting a little more “me time” in my practice away from home. If you’re looking for a travel mat that won’t break the bank, Manduka is the one for you.
Lulu Lemon: I love my Lulu Lemon mat. Love it. I have two, one 3mm and one 5mm mat. They are super non-stick, and reversible. The slick side is meant for those who sweat a lot, such as in hot classes, because the sweatier they get, the stickier they get. The other side is made for less sweaty, unheated classes. I’ll be honest, I use the sticky side 100% of the time. And I love it. These mats will show stains and sweat marks easily, so if that will bug you, choose a dark color, or go with another brand. Lulu mats tend not to last as long as other brands, so if you’re looking for longevity or are a more vigorous practitioner, this mat may not last long for you. And for the $$, you want your mat to last.
Jade Yoga: I practice on a Jade mat at Ohm Culture. And boy, do I love it. It’s eco-friendly, and its texture is unlike any other mat you see on the market. It’s got serious grip, and comes in tons of colors. I love the texture of this mat, but it’s not for everyone. It also shows wear and tear more quickly than some other mats, so again, vigorous regular practitioners beware. As far as eco-friendly mats go, this is the best of the best. I’m waiting for an excuse to add this mat to my personal collection, but for now, the rental one at Ohm will have to do. J
If you’re looking for more information, more research, and more opinions on the top yoga mats on the market, follow this link to some more detailed reviews: Reviews.com: Best Yoga Mat
Happy practicing yogis!