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.
Without question, this was my favorite free online yoga resource. The site offers an easy-to-follow, six-week beginner guide. The guide recommends two classes and one pose tutorial every week, which provides an amazing foundation for your practice. DoYogaWithMe also has a beginner's studio with dozens of curated videos for people who are new to yoga. The videos vary in length, so I never felt bored. I liked that you could check out each video’s average rating and reviews from fellow novice yogis before you dive in.
What it is: YogaVibes streams online yoga classes through their subscription service, but in case you don't want to join, they also offer free videos. They divide their videos by category, so you can just pick what you're in the mood for each day — say, "vinyasa flow" — and go for it. Some of the classes are group classes, whereas others feature just one teacher. There are over 5,000 classes total, taught by over 100 professional yoga instructions, and they have an app, too, so you can download classes to use offline.
Start in warrior 2 pose: left foot is back and left leg is straight. Right knee is bent at a 90-degree angle directly over the ankle, and right toes are pointing forward. Chest and hips are squared to the left side. Your left arm is reaching back and your right arm is reaching forward, so that they are parallel to the mat in a “T” position with palms facing down.
Sometimes you need more than a couple of minutes of stretching. That’s where Yin Yoga, a practice that involves holding poses for long periods of time (usually three to five minutes) comes in. Yogi Nora directs you through a series of poses—some of which involve a pillow, score!—with the goal of helping you to let go and find flexibility. (via Yogi Nora)
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.
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.
As I said above, I have only been impressed by the B Mat. The B Mat Everyday is constructed with 100% rubber (both natural and synthetic), without using harsh chemicals, finishes or sealants, and feels good under my skin. The B Mat Everyday also provides decent padding, even though it's only 4mm thick and 4.1 lbs (if you are looking for more padding, get the 2mm-thicker B Mat Strong reviewed above). Like it’s thicker cousin, this mat feels durable, is surprisingly light and has incredible grip in both wet and dry conditions.
It is not easy to recreate the feel that a rubber mat provides, and the Aurorae Synergy isn’t as supportive or stable as its rubber competitors. The mat can move around under your hands and feet if you put it microfiber-side-down, and you’ll slide if you use it microfiber-side-up in dry conditions. It’s also a challenge keeping it clean, since it absorbs so much sweat, but this might be worth it for hot yogis who are tired of slipping during sweaty practices.
The Manduka Eko yoga mat is made from non-Amazonian, all-natural tree rubber reinforced with polyester and cotton and manufactured without toxic glues or foaming agents. No toxic chemicals were used to soften the rubber either, which is rarer than you might expect. These mats have two layers that are different densities, offering a combination of spongy and firm support, and have a closed-cell surface that repels moisture. The natural rubber has good grip in dry conditions and feels nice and supportive under your body.
The standard thickness of a regular yoga mat is 4–5 millimeters. Travel mats are generally 3 millimeters or less, and thick mats are 6–9 millimeters. The type of yoga you practice can help you figure out which thickness is right for you. Instructor Jane Witzenburg advises, “If you are doing a lot of lunges, use a thicker mat. If you are doing more balancing postures, use a thinner mat.”
Class duration ranges from 10 to 60 minutes, and each yoga teacher provides the accurate, meticulous instruction you expect when entering a yoga studio. Find classes revolving around strengthening the core, or those designed to sweat out toxins. Inversion work, yoga for strength or wellness, classes that open the hips.…these and more are waiting for you, any time of day, whenever it’s most convenient for you and your busy schedule.