We wanted to see how the most popular options compare, so we sought out mats that people were most excited about — from old favorites like the Manduka PRO to newer releases like the Alo Yoga Warrior Mat. We sifted through numerous “best-of,” “bestselling,” and “top-rated” lists, reached out to over 30 yoga instructors for their opinions, and dug into requests and queries from our yoga-loving readers.
Luckily, YouTube is a treasure trove of awesome (and free!) workouts—and that includes yoga routines. We compiled 21 of our favorite, super-effective videos: With options ranging from quickie sessions to ones that focus on relaxation to those that target specific trouble areas, there’s bound to be one that works for you. Consider this the green light for plenty of at-home om-ing.
You just need to know where to start, and this article is designed to simplify your choices. I’ve waded through the mass of lesser mats to bring you what I consider the Top 10 Best Yoga Mats of 2018. This list includes mats intended for home, studio, or travel, and for each one I provide a summary -- weight, materials, where it was made -- a description of my personal experience with it, and rate 7 features from 1 to 10, using the following system:
Calling all newbies: You don’t have to head to a studio to learn the basics. Just follow along with Kino MacGregor in this video. In just 12 minutes, you’ll get the low-down on controlling the breath, sun salutations, and more. We love that MacGregor explains both the purpose and the benefits of each pose, all while moving through a simple yet strengthening flow. (via BeFit)
Lastly, your yoga clothes should be comfortable on and off the mat. Yogiwear is designed to fit comfortably around your skin, removing any distractions that your clothing might be creating. Our clothing is also designed to make any workout better and easier. The fabric is entirely breathable, so it won’t get in the way of any strenuous workout you have.
Challenging your muscle memory keeps your mind sharp! In this sequence, Health's contributing yoga editor Kristin McGee puts a new twist on the standard yoga flow, shaking up classic sequences so they feel brand-new. McGee says this routine is perfect for yogis of all skill levels. As a bonus, studies show that making your brain’s processing center work harder may help with long-term memory retention.
Price is an important factor when considering a yoga mat. If you’re a new yogi, it might make sense to choose a more affordable mat with fewer frills. But it’s also good to consider longevity vs. initial cost. All of our top picks are durable and can withstand heavy use for many classes to come, so putting down more money upfront might help you avoid having to replace a cheaper mat later.
These days, finding the right yoga mat can send you into choice paralysis. From sticky mats that come in all different textures and levels of thickness to hot yoga towel-mats, traditional woven blanket-mats, and more, there’s a yoga mat for almost every type of yoga. Which means it can be especially tough to find the best yoga mat for your practice.
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Polyvinyl chloride is a synthetic material commonly used in yoga mats because it keeps slippage to a minimum, is durable, provides the most “give,” and tends to be the cheapest material. A concern with PVC, without going into too much detail, is that it contains phthalates — substances that have been linked to health issues and negative impacts on the environment.
About the channel: Adriene Mishler is one of the most-followed yoga teachers on YouTube, with more than 1.6 million subscribers. She offers tons of different kinds of specialized classes, like "Yoga For Anxiety" and "Yoga For Runners," plus more basic classes for all levels. Her videos don't have any students in them; they're just of her. The channel has new episodes every Wednesday.
I am so glad you like it and that I was able to give back in some way. I enjoy your site and all your teachers that I have experienced so far. I am enjoying the mat as well, but I managed to put a tear in it, dropped my ipad on it while setting up to practice at home this morning. I can still use it but If you ever buy some for your studio and mention me as the introducer with my email address, they will send me a mat on the house.
Crank Up Core Strength: an athletic, dynamic routine with some arm balances that will tire you out. I think it’s best suited for someone who is already in good shape but is trying out yoga for the first time. The flow requires two blocks, which can stabilize you in poses when one hand is on the ground or help improve overall alignment. Until I got a great set of cork blocks, I used big, heavy books instead.
We wanted to make sure our top picks would be easy to clean and durable (no mid-session mat shrapnel here!) We found that more porous, open-cell mat surfaces tended to be grippier, but were also harder to clean — they tend to absorb everything, like a giant sponge. Smooth, closed-cell surfaces tend to be easier to clean, but may be more slippery. The sweet spot is a mat that’s just grippy enough but doesn’t hold onto dirt and debris.
If support is your main concern, the Jade Fusion Mat should serve you well both at home and in the studio. The Jade struck a great balance between cushiony support and secure grippiness: One tester reported, “With dry hands and feet, there is absolutely zero slippage. With sweaty palms, it didn’t feel quite as 'sticky' but still secure enough that I never had to think about keeping myself from sliding.”
A good yoga mat should walk the line between being squishy enough to take some of the pressure off your joints, while being dense enough to offer a stable foundation. Too-soft mats may be comfortable, but they’re difficult to hold a pose on — and while you can stand on a too-firm mat forever, you may end up hurting your joints. Beginners, pregnant yogis, and people with sensitive joints should consider thicker mats, which offer more support. Yogis who commute or travel a lot may prefer thinner mats that are easier to roll up and carry.
Expert recommendation: Sri Dharma's Mittra's series of classes, like this one, which cover Asana, Yoga Nidra, Pranayama and meditation. "Sri Dharma worked for close to a year exploring and sequencing the Asana classes in particular. They represent his most current thinking on Asana practice as of now." —Adam Frei, Program Manager of Dharma Yoga New York Center
Best of all, this mat is produced by a company with an eco, and human-friendly vision. Liforme cares about the company’s impact on the planet, and they have tackled the challenge of a sustainable, non-toxic yoga mat by diving into the research and doing their own independent study. The result is a mat made from low-odor, non-toxic, PVC-free material that is heat bonded without the use of any toxic adhesives and biodegrades in normal landfill conditions in 1-5 years! Liforme even send their eco mats to you without the irony of plastic packaging, which is always a plus!
About the channel: Anna Guest-Jelley, founder of Curvy Yoga, set up her channel to both inspire and help train curvy yogis and teachers. The channel has pose tips, full-length videos, and discussions about yoga and body image. Guest-Jelley also runs an online studio. It's $20 per month (or $197 per year), which gives you access to a new video every month, a podcast, a private Facebook group, and more.
I see some complain about the price...I buy a lot of yoga pants, and you can go spend $30 on a pair or less, but you will be able to see that the quality is incomparable to BY's leggings. I had a pair from Old Navy, before I discovered these. Let's say I will never wear those again. Beyond Yoga is 1 of my favorite brands, and they are worth every penny. I always get a ton of compliments every time I wear them to my Barre classes, or the grocery store. You won't be disappointed!" (via Amazon.com)