The best yoga mats can make a big difference in cultivating a yoga practice that feels grounding and sustainable. Whether you prefer a home practice or classes at your local yoga studio, here’s what you’ll need to know about finding the best yoga mat for you and your vinyasa flow. And, once you find a mat that works for you, consider adding yoga blocks and other helpful props to your practice.
How to Choose the Right Yoga Mat
Finding a good mat isn’t exactly tough, but it’s still important to keep all of your specific needs in mind when you shop. Here are a few key elements to consider when making your selection.
A thicker mat is the better option for anyone who deals with joint pain, practices on a hard wood floor, or primarily plans to use their mat for floor poses and stretching. With enough supportive cushioning under you, your focus can stay on your practice and not any uncomfortable pressure points. On the other hand, some people may find it more challenging to balance and flow at a faster pace on a thick, cushy mat—in which case, a thinner mat that comes in under five millimeters might feel better.
Most standard yoga mats are 71 or 72 inches long, but you can find ones that are both shorter and longer than that. If you’re on the taller side, it’s worth it to find a longer mat that’ll accommodate your body, since many yoga poses involve a wide stance, like warrior II, downward dog, and goddess pose. Those who are shorter can stick with the regular length or find something shorter (usually around 68 inches long) if space is at a premium.
Texture and Material
If you sweat a lot during your practice or frequently attend hot yoga classes, you’ll need a mat that’s designed with a nonslip surface to keep you from sliding around. Ones made with open-celled materials will be particularly absorbent, which should help remove excess moisture and reduce the risk of slipping, but they’ll need to be cleaned regularly to prevent the buildup of bacteria. Bringing a yoga towel is another way to avoid practicing in puddles, but there are also mats that come with a towel built in.
There are also textured yoga mats, which feature grippy nubs along their surfaces, that will help you feel like you’re actually sticking to the mat (even if you aren’t sweating). Some may find that sticky feeling unpleasant, in which case there are mats that feel ultra smooth underfoot, like the best-selling Lululemon mats.
If you’re looking for a mat you can carry with you—even if it’s just into the backyard for some outdoor yoga—or a mat compact enough to stow under your bed, you may want to choose a thinner mat that feels lightweight when you hold it and can pack away easily. It should be able to fit in a carrying strap, roll up into your yoga-mat carrier, or even fold down into a compact square. If you plan to practice out of your home gym, however, the weight of your mat won’t be as much of an issue.
You can absolutely spend a pretty penny on a yoga mat if you want to, but there are plenty of high-quality options that clock in under $50, too. Budget-friendly options might not be as durable as those that cost around $100 or more, so they’re great for beginners and people who only occasionally practice. On the other hand, if you flow every day, it may be worthwhile to invest more money in a mat that’s built to last and hold up under daily wear and tear.
Finally, it can be helpful to think outside the mat’s functionality for a minute and choose one that just brings a smile to your face with its design and feel (many mats come in colors that run the gamut from soothing to vibrant, and some even come in fun patterns).
The best yoga mats
Whether you’re a relative beginner who’s just getting used to the postures or a seasoned yoga lover, we’ve highlighted the best yoga mats for all types of practices and bodies. We picked affordable bestsellers to top picks from yoga instructors and fitness pros.
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