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 “grippiness” of a mat has two parts. One is how grippy the mat is against your hands and feet — are you slowly sliding out of place during warrior pose, or are you solidly planted? The other is the traction of the mat against the floor: Does your mat slip around on smooth floors, or is it firmly stuck in place throughout your session? Sweat can be a factor too, especially if you practice an intensive form like hot yoga, so you want to make sure your mat will stay grippy through it all.
When searching for free yoga resources, the video-sharing behemoth YouTube is a good place to start. But type “yoga” into YouTube’s search bar, and you get back more than eight million results. Many of these are one-off videos rather than easy-to-follow programs for beginners. There are, however, two free yoga programs that are worth checking out: Yoga for Dummies and Dr. Melissa West’s channel.
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.
Stressed out. Tense. Crazed. If any of these words describe you, this routine’s a godsend. You’ll gently sway and flow your way from forward folds to low lunges to splits (only if you’re up for them)—all in just 30 minutes. With breezy and serene direction, Tara Stiles gives more advanced options for those who want them, but she’s really all about finding what works best for your body in that moment. (via CosmoBody)
I was introduced to the B Mat recently by Halfmoon Yoga Products. I have to say I am very impressed! The B Mat is made of 100% rubber (both natural and synthetic), without using harsh chemicals, finishes or sealants. It feels durable, is surprisingly light and has incredible grip in both wet and dry conditions. The surface is a pleasant texture, and the sturdy rubber provides great padding under knees and elbows. It also isn't as heavy as other home practice mats with similar padding and durability. A solid all-around yoga mat!
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