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.
What it is: OneOEight is a subscription-based online yoga studio founded by the very well-known yogi Rachel Brathen (i.e. @yoga_girl on Instagram). OneOEight — which has tons of teachers, including Brathen — divides their classes by mood, duration, teacher, focus, destination, and style, which makes it really easy to choose the classes that work best for you. Plus, many of the classes — which range from group classes to classes with just a teacher — are filmed in soothing locations, like the beach or a plant-filled room, which helps set a calming tone from the beginning. And the platform also offers recipe and travel recommendations in addition to yoga and meditation.
The Aurorae Synergy specializes in providing a non-slip surface during hot yoga. The mat’s top layer is a non-slip, ultra-absorbent microfiber towel that is bonded to a 5mm-thick PER (Polymer Environmental Resin) yoga mat. It is excellent at providing grip, but that grip is limited to when it is wet.This microfiber side provides excellent grip when wet, but is actually quite slick when dry. Of course, you can use the PER side of the mat for dry classes and the towel side when it gets sweaty. The mat is also lightweight, thick enough to provide reasonable support and good value for the money.
Instructor Amira Freidson told us that a standard-size yoga mat is 68 inches long — just long enough for someone who’s five-foot-eight. To make sure you’re not too cramped during practice, check to see if your whole body fits on the mat while lying down with your face towards the ceiling. While there are no benefits to using a too-small mat, extra-large mats may be good for working on your flexibility: Instructor Giovanna Abraham says, “For more experienced yogis who have been practicing for 2-5 years, a longer mat would definitely be helpful — for instance, in giving them greater space to extend deeper into their poses.”