Over the years, I have tested mats from just about every well-established brand and many from lesser-known up-and-comers. I have watched technologies, materials and designs evolve to meet the needs of an ever growing number of yogis, and I have observed how brands have risen (or failed to rise) to the challenge of a more sustainable future. If you’re ever going to find that perfect mat for you, I can tell you there’s never been a better time than right now.
You too can wear the ring I have been wearing for 10 years-- it says "Value" and it is made by a special pawn shop in Brooklyn-- out of other people's melted down pawns-- and covered in gold. I'll engrave a special message for you so you'll remember your connection to all people, to the project, and how that gives you more value than you can even handle!
Established in 2008 by Kelly Kolterman, the SoCal inspired apparel brand commits to following ethical and responsible business practices and manufacturing. Additionally, Jala Clothing partners with Yoga Gives Back, a non-profit organization helping mothers in India start their own businesses and send their children to school. Their sizes range from women’s XS to L.
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:
Yoga mats are normally around 72" / 182 cm long and have a width of 24" / 60 cm. Some practitioners prefer extra-wide mats (30" / 78 cm) for positions such as Surya Namaskar or hand-balances. Yoga mats range in thicknesses from 2 mm (lightweight) to 4–5 mm (standard or "classic") and up to 7 mm for either high performance mats reserved for professional daily practices while guaranteeing little wear-out, or soft mats providing extra cushioning during yoga therapy.
The grippiest, most comfortable yoga mat in the world is still a pain if you’re constantly struggling to lug it to and from class. If you intend on commuting with your mat, you may want to consider one that is lighter or comes with a carrying case. Just remember that if it doesn’t, a carrying case will cost extra. Weight and thickness also come into play. Heavier and thicker mats will be a bit bulkier to travel with than sleeker, thinner ones.
A yoga mat's material affects its stickiness, durability, comfort, texture, and whether or not it’s environmentally friendly. PVC is cheaper and more durable but may be exposed to toxins during manufacturing and be less beneficial for the environment. Eco-friendly materials tend to be more expensive and degrade more quickly but are both free of toxins and more sustainable.
Feeling overwhelmed? Yoga can help you take a step back from your busy schedule and find balance. A stressed-out mind often means a tense body (think: a clenched jaw, a stiff neck), so a calming yoga flow can give you a sense of relief both inside and out. Clinical therapist and yoga instructor Lauren Taus leads the way in this short but restorative flow, which is designed to give you an opportunity slow down and de-stress.
About the channel: Gaiam is a lifestyle brand originally founded in Colorado that focuses on yoga, fitness, wellness, and the environment. As part of their brand, they have a YouTube channel where they offer classes by well-known yoga instructors, like Rodney Yee and Colleen Raidman. Most of the videos are of just teachers, though some of them have students in them, too.
When I decided to film these gentle yoga videos, I knew that I needed to find a special teacher. I wanted to find someone who really understood our needs. I wanted to find a person with the charisma and experience to keep us motivated… someone who lives and breathes yoga every day. And, I wanted to find a kind and genuine person who you would want to spend time with every day.
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)
The leading yoga publication’s video section is a comprehensive resource with 360-degree views to better understand the nuances of every pose. The routines are more technical, more likely to use Sanskrit terms, and more athletically challenging than the ones I came across on DoYogaWithMe. My two main gripes with Yoga Journal’s online offerings: The videos were often shorter than I’d like (I find I need about an hour to get into a meditative, head-clearing state) and didn’t include any user reviews, so I found myself clicking around aimlessly in search of videos that would be a good fit. That being said, the production quality and detailed explanation of each pose is hard to beat when it comes to free yoga resources.
This project began as a set of workshops and performances. Thanks to its overwhelming popularity it has evolved into a series of three yoga tutorial videos. I am seeking your support because I want to make a second series of yoga videos, this time at a professional quality level, so they can reach more people who are suffering at home, alone, having been made to feel like economic failures.
Specifically designed for pregnant ladies (like Kristoffer herself!), this sequence helps define arms and open the shoulders to counteract any hunching that might occur as a result of carrying extra weight. Similar to a regular flow class, it involves poses like lunges, downward-facing dog, and chaturanga (modified with your bump in mind). Be sure to talk to your doc first before attempting. (via Qinetic Live)
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.