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The best yoga mat (according to yoga teachers)

Molly TobinArticles

the best yoga mat according to yoga teachers

Buying a new yoga mat? Here’s what you need to know.

There is no shortage of choices when it comes to yoga mats. From $15 mats found at Marshall’s to the extra-thick Manduka Pro for $120, the range of options can be overwhelming. Plus, the best yoga mat means different things to different people. For some, it’s all about grip. For others, portability is key. Choosing the best yoga mat for you will ultimately be a personal choice. To help you make your decision, we polled our teachers to see which mat(s) they love, and what they recommend to different types of yogis. Keep reading to find out what they said! 

If you’re new to yoga…

First of all, welcome to the party! We’re so glad you’re here. As a beginner, it can be hard to know which mat to purchase since your practice is only just starting to take shape. Maybe you’re gravitating toward Power Flow classes and you need something with better grip for challenging sweaty poses. Or perhaps the Restorative and Yin classes are calling to you, in which case your mat will be layered with blankets anyway. In general, you can’t go wrong with a basic beginner mat like the Gaiam 5mm Yoga Mat for $30. You might also purchase a mat like this at your local studio or sporting goods store. As you deepen your practice, you’ll notice what you’re missing from your mat, and can upgrade from there. 

If you’re just starting out and aren’t quite ready to invest in a more expensive yoga mat, many sporting goods stores offer mats for less than $25 that are perfectly functional and work well. The main issue with cheaper yoga mats is that the material will eventually start to wear out after regular use. But by that time, you’ll probably be ready to invest a bit more money in a new mat since you’ve clearly made yoga a regular, consistent part of your life!Jenn Brown

PRO TIP: As a beginner, you might be tempted to buy a mat with more cushion, but I advise against this. The more cushion, the harder it is to balance with standing poses! Instead, opt for a thinner mat and bring a blanket or towel to pad your knees.Mairin McCracken 

If you’re ready to make an investment…

Already have an established practice? Looking to upgrade your beginner mat to a higher quality mat? The most popular mats among Yoga Garden regulars are Manduka, Jade, and Lululemon. These options are at the higher end of the spectrum in terms of price, but our teachers confirmed they last the longest and have the best grip. 

Buy the best quality mat that you can afford. The mat is an extension of yourself in your practice and the better that it works and feels for you the better your practice will work and feel.Daniel Kuja

Manduka, all the way! Lululemon is great but so heavy and so expensive. Manduka is sturdy but not too heavy and lasts forever. Mairin McCracken

For a truly no-slip mat, the Lululemon one is the best I’ve tried. So if you sweat a lot or live in a hot climate, I highly recommend it!Jenn Brown

If you’re constantly on the go…

If you like to take your yoga mat with you on work trips or vacations, you might consider some options under the “travel mat” category. Travel mats tend to be made of light-weight materials and are typically thinner (3mm) compared to standard mats (5mm), making them ideal for packing into a suitcase or backpack. If you prefer less cushion, travel mats are also a great way to practice on something that feels like solid ground. 

Max Kopeikin, 200-hour teacher training faculty member, recommends the Prana Nomad Travel Mat. You can take his word for it – he’s been teaching in Barcelona and throughout Europe for several years, always taking his mat on the go. At $45, this yoga mat is an affordable option that offers serious bang for your buck. 

The best overall yoga mat 

Out of all the mats out there, the Jade Harmony Mat ($79.95) scored the most votes from our teachers. It hits the mark on grip, thickness (4.7 mm), price, and quality. Plus, it comes in over ten colors and three lengths to choose from. If you’re taller than 5’9”, go for the 71-inch length or higher. Another perk? Jade plants a tree for every mat sold – that’s over 2 million trees planted and counting! And while this option is on the expensive side, our teachers confirmed their Jade mats last for several years – making it a wise investment. 

Jade Yoga Harmony Mat’s cost $80 and although that is very expensive, it will last you for years! I’ve had mine for 6 years now and don’t plan on replacing it anytime soon. Stephanie Mendez

When I started yoga I had a very average typical yoga mat and it sucked. I remember a downward dog being very frustrating as my hands and feet slipped towards the front and back of the mat. After a few months, I decided to try a better mat. I discovered the natural rubber Jade Harmony yoga mat and my practice changed immediately. In the poses where I had previously been slipping around, the naturally sticky surface allowed me to hold those postures steady. I was able to be more focused on my breathing and the quality of feelings in my body.Daniel Kuja

PRO TIP:  Be sure to keep your Jade mat out of harsh sunlight – the mat tends to lose its grip after it’s done sun bathing!Angelique Alvarez

 

No matter which mat you choose, the most important thing is to keep practicing. Did you know Yoga Garden SF is streaming over 50 classes a week? New members: get your first unlimited month for just $35!  

Put your new mat to good use, and join our community HERE!