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.
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.
Dear road warriors and treadmill champs: You’re tight. (And by that, we mean your lower-body muscles are tight!) This routine boosts flexibility in the quads, hamstrings, glutes, and calves. The key? Spending some quality time in the poses and—as instructor Erin Motz notes—remembering to breathe deeply throughout so you don’t restrict blood flow to these areas. (via DoYouYoga.com)
Both yoga and Pilates have lots to offer advanced exercisers, who can benefit from the improved core strength and body awareness that are typical results of training in these areas. Using mats and equipment from Power Systems, exercisers of all levels will improve their posture, flexibility, and agility. Yoga and Pilates have also been shown to reduce back pain, which is an increasing problem as we age. Pilates exercises develop strong core muscles, which include the deep abdominal muscles along the spine. In contrast to traditional weight training workouts, Pilates focuses on elongating and strengthening muscles while improving both elasticity and joint mobility. The result is a reduced chance of injury.
At 5.5 pounds and 4.2 millimeters, the Liforme is relatively light and thin for a partly-rubber mat. Our more experienced testers thought it was “the perfect thickness,” though one added, “I think if other people had more sensitive joints, it would be slightly painful.” If you need more cushion, we’d recommend the Hugger Mugger Para Rubber Mat or the Jade Fusion Mat.