Not too long ago, the only type of yoga mat available was made from PVC, and in terms of comfort, it didn’t have much to offer. Over time, many new materials have been used to make yoga mats, and you’ll find a much broader range of colors to choose from.
Yoga is a healthy activity to engage in, and for the best results, it should be performed with a high-quality mat. When shopping for the best yoga mat, the thickness and materials are important features to consider.
With a great product, you can make sure you’re getting the most out of every yoga session, but before deciding on a particular product, you should know what to look for in a high-quality mat.
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Different Types Out There?
Yoga mats can be made from a wide range of materials, and some are inherently better than others. One of the most well-known materials is PVC, and you’ll find that most entry-level mats are created from this material.
PVC is short for polyvinyl chloride, and it offers decent comfort and durability. Although PVC offers decent performance, it’s not very environmentally friendly. Another popular material is foam, and you can think of it as the eco-friendly version of PVC.
Foam yoga mats offer performance that is similar to what you’d get from PVC, but since it can contain latex, it’s not the best choice if you’re allergic to this material. Rubber is another common material, and it serves as a great alternative to PVC.
However, rubber mats are also known to contain latex. Modern yoga mats are also made with jute or cotton, and these materials are softer and more absorbent than PVC and rubber. Many traditional yoga mats are made from cotton because it’s an environmentally-friendly material.
Mats made from jute or cotton are frequently used over other materials because they don’t offer nearly as much support as foam, PVC or rubber.
What Are the Benefits of Yoga Mats?
If you’re just getting into yoga and want to purchase a high-quality mat, then you should know about the benefits and why it’s a great product to own.
The primary benefit of using a mat is better traction. When performing yoga poses, it’s very important to have plenty of traction because you don’t want to suffer an injury. By providing plenty of traction, a mat will prevent you from slipping and falling.
It also allows you to gain traction in most locations where yoga classes are carried out. Another benefit of using a mat is cushioning, which you won’t get from most types of flooring.
A typical yoga mat serves as a cushion between your body and the solid floor. With a heavier mat, your delicate joints will be protected from the hard ground, and you’ll find it much easier to enjoy every pose. Most of these products are effective for stabilizing your body and relieving pressure points.
They’re also useful for protecting your ankles, head, beck, elbows, knees and wrists, and they’re ideal for people who’re just getting started with yoga. If you experience pain from joint injuries, carpal tunnel or tendinitis, then you should find most yoga mats particularly useful.
What to Look for in a Good Yoga Mat?
When shopping for the best yoga mats, there are several important considerations to make. First, you need to choose a material. If you’re looking for optimal support, you should consider products made from PVC, foam or rubber. For optimal comfort, jute and cotton are great choices.
Softer materials also offer the best absorbency, which helps manage excessive sweating. Heavier individuals should seek supportive materials, and the texture of the mat is also important. The mat’s texture is what determines how much traction it’s able to provide.
A lack of traction will leave you sliding around and put you at risk for getting injured. Mats with a bumpy texture offer the best traction, but they’re not ideal for people who need extra comfort. PVC tends to have a softer feel, and jute has an organic roughness.
Before making a purchase, you should consider the thickness of the mat, and most products fall into one of three categories of thickness.
Premium mats tend to have a thickness of 0.25 inches and offer the best comfort and comfort. Other mats are about half the thickness of premium mats, and if you’re looking for an ultra-portable product, consider a mat that is 1/16th of an inch thick.
What to Avoid?
You avoid purchasing a yoga mat that doesn’t fit your lifestyle, and it’s important to know that not all mats are created equally. Some mats are made from lightweight material, and they’re designed for portability and traveling. You’ll also find mats that are made for casual yoga classes.
If you want your new mat to last, you shouldn’t be afraid to spend the money needed to buy a high-quality product. A major mistake that many consumers make is purchasing a yoga mat that doesn’t have enough padding, and they don’t find out until they’re half way through the class.
With enough padding, your mat will help you gradually build joint strength, and you’ll be in a much better position to enjoy every pose. Another mistake to avoid is purchasing a mat that doesn’t fit the type of yoga you’re doing. Some types of yoga are very rigorous and require a sticky mat.
Hatha yoga covers a variety of physical poses, and mats made from foam work well for this style. Hot and Bikram yoga are also popular styles, and a mat made from natural rubber will work best for these styles. If you’re allergic to latex, you don’t want to make the mistake of purchasing a product that contains this material.
How to Maintain Your Yoga Mat?
Since these products are very durable, they should last several years, but you need to make sure you’re taking good care of your mat. When it comes to proper care for your yoga mat, cleanliness is very important, and you should know how to clean the different materials. For products made from synthetic rubber or PVC, you can scrub them with light soap and water.
You’ll need to lay the mat on a flat surface and wipe it down with a rag or sponge. You should never use soaps that contain scented oils because it’s likely that your mat will absorb the scent.
A common mistake that people make when cleaning a yoga mat is bending the shape. If your mat is naturally designed to bend, then this isn’t a major problem, but many materials should never be bent. To get the best results, you can purchase special cleaning wipes, which are designed to protect your mat’s material and keep it clean.
When you’re finished wiping it down, you’ll need to lay it onto a flat, dry surface and let the moisture evaporate.
Below are reviews for five of the best yoga mats I’ve come across over the years.
Manduka PRO Yoga and Pilates Mat
The Manduka PRO is a popular yoga mat, and it also works well for Pilates. This product is made from synthetic material, and it can be purchased in several different sizes. The materials are made in the United States or imported, and they’re guaranteed to last the rest of your life.
Since it’s made from synthetic material, the Manduka PRO won’t fade, flake or peel, and the durability of the material improves over time. The density of the material is very high, and the soft cushioning helps to protect your joints.
This mat provides a stable surface to practice on, and with a closed cell surface, it resists unwanted dirt and sweat. The closed cell design is a popular feature because it’s very easy to clean.
Since this mat contains no latex, it could be a great choice for allergy sufferers, and although the material is synthetic, it doesn’t contain toxic chemicals. The manufacturing process is also free of harmful emissions, which is great for the environment.
With a proprietary dot pattern, this mat will prevent you from sliding and getting injured, and it’s especially useful for beginners.
- Very stylish design
- Durable construction
- Large enough to prevent sliding
- Dotted pattern grips the floor well
- Takes some time for grip to improve
Where to Get It: Buy it on Amazon for about $80
Gaiam Print Premium Yoga Mats
The Gaiam Print premium yoga mat is durable, lightweight and stylish, and for maximum comfort, it’s made with extra-thick cushioning. The non-slip surface provides great traction, and the main material used to create this mat is PVC.
For consumers who place great emphasis on health, the Gaiam Print yoga mat doesn’t contain DNOP, DIDP, BBP, DBP or DEHP, which are toxic chemicals. This product features an extra-thick design and delivers a reliable, non-stick surface.
It serves as a solid foundation for yoga practice, and it can be used at home or in a studio. The additional cushioning helps to protect your joints and allows you to engage in longer sessions.
If you decide to purchase this mat, you should never leave it out in the sun for too long because the color will fade. Prolonged exposure to sunlight will also cause this mat to become brittle, and for maximum protection, the mat should be stored inside of a bag.
Unlike some alternative products, this mat is made with an ideal thickness, which is suitable for most types of yoga. It also doesn’t come with the strong rubbery smell than many other products are notorious for shipping with.
- Made with the perfect thickness
- Beautiful design
- Doesn’t come with a strong odor
- 5mm thickness
- Might be too slippery for some people
Where to Get It: Buy it on Amazon for about $22
Reehut 1/2-Inch Extra Thick High Density NBR Exercise Yoga Mat
The Reehut 1/2-Inch yoga mat is designed to deliver enough comfort for any type of yoga, and since it’s made from high-density NBR material, it’s strong enough to withstand the toughest yoga classes.
The ½-inch premium thickness offers more cushioning for your elbows, knees, hips and spine, and it’s especially useful when posing on hard floors. This mat is textured on both sides, which helps to prevent slippage and accidents.
For convenience, this product includes a free mat strap, and with a lightweight, portable design, the Reehut high-density yoga mat is great for traveling. The non-toxic materials are safe to use, and they’re approved by PAHs, REACH, 6P and RoHS.
If you’re looking for a premium mat that you can use for toning workout, stretching, Pilates and yoga, then this product is worth considering.
Like other products from Reehut, this mat improves balance and increases stability, and it comes with a convenient carrying strap. The high-density NBR material is very strong, and there are seven different colors to choose from.
- Thicker than traditional mats
- Very comfortable for the back, knees and hands
- Perfect for yoga or exercising
- Long enough for taller users
- Produces a light rubbery smell
Where to Get It: Buy it on Amazon for about $20
Sivan Health and Fitness NBR Comfort Foam Yoga Mat
Here we have a product that is designed for yoga, but it’s just as useful for workouts, Pilates and stretching routines. Like many other poplar products, it’s made from NBR foam, and the additional thickness of the material provides great comfort.
For maximum safety, this mat has non-skid ridges, and it has no trouble gripping the hard floor. It even comes with an integrated strap for carrying.
Unlike many alternative products, this mat boasts a thickness of 12mm, and currently, it’s one of the thickest mats available.
The Sivan Health and Fitness yoga mat is made with memory foam and offers superior comfort and impact absorption.
- Very thick and squishy
- Adjustable strap makes carrying easy
- Great for yoga
- Sticky without being noisy
- Not the best choice for wood floor
Where to Get It: Buy it on Amazon for about $19
Jade Harmony Professional 3/16-Inch Yoga Mat
The Jade Harmony Professional yoga mat is made from natural rubber, and although it’s not the thickest material, it’s still a great choice for most types of yoga.
This mat offers great slip resistance and retains its ability to grip the floor when it’s soaked in perspiration. Despite the thin design, it offers a decent amount of comfort, and it’s not made from substances that deplete the ozone.
You’ll find no PVC contained within this mat, and it can be cleaned easily with soap and water. The natural rubber material is ideal for people who sweat because it resists slippage when wet.
If you’re looking for an affordable yoga mat, and you’re very conscious of the environment, this product is worth considering.
- Delivers superior performance
- Resists slippage when wet
- Grip is perfect for sweaty hands
- Great for outdoor yoga studios
- The smell isn’t great
Where to Get It: Buy it on Amazon for about $74
Yoga offers a wide range of health benefits, and it’s especially useful for anyone who wants improved flexibility and fat loss. With the best yoga mat, you’ll be able to engage in any type of yoga and avoid serious injuries.
By gripping a solid surface, a premium mat will keep you from slipping, and the cushioning will protect your delicate joints against the hard floor. Once you’ve purchased the best product for your needs, you’ll be able to enjoy many years of safe, relaxing yoga classes and exercise.