Have you ever felt shell shocked trying to decide on a the best at home yoga mat? From Instagram to magazines and Internet ads, it can be overwhelming seeing all the different mats that are available for purchase.
Choosing a yoga mat is a personal choice, so quite frankly, the only way you can buy the wrong yoga mat is if you go with one that doesn’t align with your needs. However, when I tell you about the characteristics of different yoga mat brands and their options of mats, you’ll be able to critically think about which aspects are important to you, which you disagree with, and which you’re indifferent about.
Ultimately, we’re trying to find the mat that makes you feel best when you’re doing your personal practice.
Choose a Yoga Mat for Your Practice
The first question you should ask yourself is, “What styles of yoga do I practice?”
The optimal yoga mat for your personal practice differs based on what type of yoga you do. Therefore, if you practice mainly bikram, ashtanga or vinyasa, which are faster paced and induces sweat, your best choice of a yoga mat will be different from someone who practices primarily restorative or yin yoga, which is slower and sweat-free.
Ponder which yoga practices you turn to most, and base your decision on the one that you practice most frequently, or perhaps buy one yoga mat for each practice. Some yoga mat brands aim to create mats for specific yoga practices, such as Aurorae, which focuses on yoga mats for hot yoga and bikram yoga, so if you’re looking for a yoga mat that is optimal for sweat resistance, you may want to look for a niche brand, since slipping is a frequent complaint in regards to yoga mats.
Decide on Qualities Important to You
Once you have recognized the yoga practices that are near and dear to you, think about other qualities that are important to you. For example, if you want a yoga mat that has a strong grip and is eco-friendly, you may be interested in the JadeYoga Harmony Mat.
If you want a fun design and have a lower budget, you may enjoy yoga mat options from Gaiam.
Tall people may want to look for brands that cater to those that need a mat longer than 70 inches. Most likely, you won’t find a brand that entails everything you’re looking for, so it’s useful to prioritize qualities you care about.
Below, I will list some common qualities to think about when looking for a yoga mat:
- Cleaning instructions
- Buying online or in-person
- Non-toxic material
Cheap Yoga Mats vs. Pricier Yoga Mats
Even though I touched base on this subject, I’m going to go a little deeper, so you really know what to expect in different price ranges. This can help you decide whether it’s worth investing more into a yoga mat, or if you’d like to skimp on the cost.
For one, cheaper yoga mats tend to contain PVC, or polyvinyl chloride, because it is a low-cost way to create more grip. According to Livestrong, PVCs cannot be recycled and when disposed of in landfill, dioxin is released, which is carcinogenic. In short, PVCs are bad for the environment and bad for our health.
If you want to learn more about PVC, you can do so here.
In addition to toxicity, the material used with cheaper yoga mats is flimsy, so it’s difficult to keep the mat grounded. You’ll find that as you try to do sun salutations or a warrior series, the yoga mat will be moving under your feet, which can become very frustrating over time.
In contrast, yoga mats with a higher price tend to spend more money to create yoga mats with natural rubber, and are often heavier and thicker. However, while these yoga mats will be healthier and more grounded, due to the lack of PVC and lack layer of natural rubber, sometimes the grip isn’t great, so it’s easy to slip on the mat.
If you want a yoga mat famous for being made with natural rubber and an excellent grip, Jade Yoga is the brand for you. The grip is so strong, you can actually feel a gripping sensation when you touch the mat, and it’s a family-owned business that has been making natural rubber even before they’ve sold them in the form of yoga mats.
Another benefit of natural rubber is the fact that it doesn’t have that awful smell that synthetic, cheaper mats have. It’s quite a challenge to want to take deep breaths during your yoga practice when you have to inhale toxins with each breath, so many yogis find the lack of rubber scent to be a blessing.
6 of the Best Yoga Mat Brands Available
Here is a list of brands that are known for having the best yoga mats. These brands are fully aware of what yogis are looking for in a yoga mat, and have been in business long enough to create products that contain the commonly requested qualities I mentioned above.
- Jade Yoga
Known for being environmentally-friendly and creating yoga mats out of natural rubber, Jade Yoga is an excellent brand for those conscious about the environment. They also mainly focus on selling yoga mats, as well as a couple accessories, such as blocks, straps, and yoga mat bags, so you know they spend a lot of time perfecting their mats.
Founded in California, Manduka is a favorite brand to many Californians, and offers yoga mats as well as apparel and accessories. Yoga mats range in price from $42 to $360, with many different types of yoga mats for various yoga practices, and the variety is very appealing.
With a couple of pricier options, yoga mats often range from $20-$40, making this a great option for those on a budget, that aren’t looking for the cheapest option. Their yoga mats have tons of fun patterns, and some are even reversible. For some of their yoga mats, complaints include that length is too short, not enough grip, or not enough cushion. Generally, the public really enjoys Gaiam mats though.
- Hugger Mugger
This brand has been around since the 1980s, and is a very ethical brand. Their products are USA-made and created with natural materials, such as bamboo, cork, and biodegradable TPE. In addition to yoga mats, you can buy yoga props, meditation accessories, clothing, and yoga mat carriers.
The price range for the yoga mats vary greatly, from $19.95 to $119.95 with 19 different options, so this is a great brand to grow your practice with. There aren’t a whole lot of pattern options, but there are some simple designs available, and many different colors.
Aurorae is known for their Synergy yoga mat, which is excellent for bikram and hot yoga poses. It comes in some unique colors that are named after stones such as amethyst, emerald, lapis, and onyx and is bordered with a contrasting color. It also has a 2-year warranty, is non-toxic, and is popularly found and sold on Amazon.
I listed this one last because it is the most expensive, and would be an excellent holiday present for a yogi. The mat is longer and wider than most yoga mats, and has a unique, AlignForMe system that helps yogis find the proper alignment. The concept is very unique, and I haven’t seen anything else like it. If you are interested in this mat, be prepared to spend over $100, and more expensive shipping, since it is a UK brand.
Best Places to Buy Your Yoga Mat
If you go to each brand’s respective website, you’ll most likely need to pay full price. However, usually they’ll offer free shipping if you spend a specific amount, you fully support the business, and you have access to all their yoga mats.
If you have an Amazon Prime membership, it may be worth checking Amazon, for you’ll get 2-day free shipping, no matter how much you spend, but you may not see all of the options listed above, so it’s a bit limiting.
Another place I tend to look is at the website,YogaOutlet. This is a great website for all yoga-related discounts, and you can find some amazing discounts on yoga mats. I’ve seen the Aurorae Synergy mat for 50 percent off!
Making Your Choice
From here on out, you have some excellent information to help make your choice. Next, you need to apply the information and your intuition to decide which yoga mat is best for you.
As you have more experience with yoga, and your practice changes, so will your yoga mat needs. Decide on the yoga mat the works best for you in this moment, and realize that you can always try new ones as you transform!
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