Yoga Mats: 5 Favorites of Yoga Teacherswritten by Crunch Ranjani
A yoga teacher’s best friend is likely their yoga mat. But with so many choices available on the market, how do you choose the perfect mat for your practice?
How to Choose A Yoga Mat
There is no one-size-fits-all option here. Different people have different considerations and needs for what they want in their yoga mat, and it can sometimes be a challenge to find one that is the right fit for you.
Indeed, many yoga teachers who commented in The Connected Yoga Teacher Facebook Group threads about yoga mats mentioned that they were still looking for “the perfect mat”, after years of searching!
Some of the common considerations for yoga teachers when it comes to choosing a yoga mat include its durability and grippiness or non-slip properties. Some yoga teachers were also concerned about it being easy to clean, and for those with allergies, the material of the yoga mat also becomes a consideration. Thickness, weight and portability are also factors that influence yoga teachers in choosing a yoga mat, and for the eco-conscious among us, the sustainability in materials and production can also be a deciding factor. Of course, price is another thing to keep in mind.
Check out this list of popular recommendations from yoga teachers – you may just find your next favorite yoga mat!
*All recommendations were sourced from The Connected Yoga Teacher Facebook Group.
One the most popular brands among yoga teachers, Manduka is known for producing high-quality yoga mats, accessories and clothing. They have four different series catering to different needs – the PRO series for supportive cushioning, the EKO series with a focus on responsibly sourced, all-natural rubber materials, the GRP series for anti-slip and moisture-wicking technology, and the FOUNDATION series for beginners to yoga.
Many Manduka users have had their mats for years (5-10+) which speaks to its durability, and the lifetime guarantee also makes this an attractive option if you are looking for a mat that lasts. The mats come in a variety of thicknesses and some designs are also available in longer sizes. Yoga teachers have also commented on the Manduka mats’ grippiness, which makes it perfect for hot yoga, or if you tend to sweat more.
Downsides of the Manduka that are often listed are its weight, and the fact that the mats need to be “broken in” to perform optimally, which may take an extended period of use. Manduka mats also come with a somewhat hefty price tag, which can turn off some yoga teachers.
Another favorite among yoga teachers are Liforme mats. These mats are biodegradable, non-toxic and PVC-free, which makes them an Earth-friendly option. All Liforme mats feature their AlignForMe and GripForMe technologies, to help improve grip and provide guidance in your yoga practice. They have a variety of collections, including a Giving Back range that donates 5% of every sale to a partnered charity.
Yoga teachers using Liforme mats love the grippy surface that holds up well in hot yoga, even without a towel, and find the alignment lines to be useful in their practice. Liforme mats come in a variety of weights, thicknesses and sizes, so you can pick the right mat for your needs. Yoga teachers also loved that the mats didn’t need to be broken in for use.
Like Manduka mats, Liforme mats come at a higher investment than most yoga mats, but yoga teachers have commented that the mat is worth the price point.
Made sustainably from natural rubber, Jade is a top contender as a favorite among yoga teachers. Jade mats do not contain PVC, EVA, or other synthetic rubber, and as a part of their drive to be eco-friendly, they plant a tree for every mat sold – and have planted over 1million trees since 2006 through their partnership with Trees for the Future. For yoga teachers looking to reconnect with the traditional roots of yoga, Jade also offers organic cotton Mysore yoga rugs.
Jade mats are less extensive in variety, but the range offered caters to yoga practitioners with all different needs. Yoga teachers using Jade mats described the natural rubber as giving them “amazing grip”. They also liked that Jade mats did not need to be broken in to be effective, and can last years with the proper care and treatment. Jade mats are priced more affordably, but beware that extensive heavy usage may cause them to break down.
Yoga teachers who use B Mats by B Yoga swear by them. Made from 100% rubber with natural and synthetic components, B Mats are inherently grippy and antimicrobial, while also durable. Yoga teachers love the B MAT for hot yoga and sweaty practices, and the easy-to-clean feature is an added benefit.
B Mats come in a range of options from the Strong 6mm option, to the Traveller 2mm option.They also offer specialized mats for specific uses, like the 100% natural cork top option, a 10mm mat for high intensity workouts, and longer mats for taller practitioners.
If you are looking for a reasonably priced yoga mat that is also ethically sourced throughout the supply chain, B Mat could be right for you. And you’d be supporting a woman-run business!
Looking for a change from the PVC / nylon / cotton mat s? Yoloha’s mats feature a fine grain cork surface which is naturally antimicrobial, and a closed cell foam bottom that does not absorb smells or moisture. With five uniquely crafted yoga mat ranges available, Yoloha mats are perfect for every body and every style.
The cork surface is designed to get grippier with moisture, which makes it perfect for hot yoga or particularly sweaty practices, and each yoga mat is handcrafted with 100% renewable and recyclable material obtained through one of the most environmentally-friendly harvesting methods. All Yoloha mats are also vegan.
Not convinced about cork mats? Yoloha offers a “Try Before You Buy” program to help you decide if this is the right mat for you, and if you’re still not satisfied, you can take advantage of their 60-day return / exchange policy.
Bonus - Other Recommendations from Yoga Teachers
Lululemon: Some yoga teachers have found Lululemon mats to be their favorite, with the smooth surface making it easy to glide through movements, while still being sufficiently grippy.
Zenlife: An eco-friendly option that is machine-washable, Zenlife yoga mats are ultra sweat-absorbing and toxics and odor free.
Hugger Mugger: A winning combination of function and affordability, Hugger Mugger offers eco-friendly mats that are also sticky, and designed with yoga practitioners in mind.
Gaiam: Yoga teachers recommend Gaiam SOL mats for hot yoga, and offer high quality products at a fraction of the price. They also have a wide range to accommodate different needs and uses.
Suga Mat: Made out of recycled wetsuits, Suga mats have good grip and are lightweight for easy portability, apart from being great for the environment.
Way Mats: An all-purpose multi-use towel / mat that can be used indoors and outdoors, Way Mats are great for yoga teachers who teach other fitness modalities and need something more versatile.
Kulae: Focused on producing eco-friendly yoga products to reduce ecological footprint, Kulae mats are all about maximizing comfort and durability.
CorkYogis: Based in the UK, CorkYogis makes mats that are non-slip, eco-friendly, and natural, while helping empower human trafficking survivors.
Retrospec: Boasting BPA-free, easy to clean, and thick material for extra support, Retrospec mats are a very affordable option for the budget-conscious.
Supported Soul: This Canada-based company makes machine washable, recyclable, biodegradable, mats that contain no toxins or chemicals. Yoga teachers have described the mats as “super grippy” and they also have a fabric layer that mimics a towel for hot practices.
Pogamat: Memory foam yoga mats ensure that you will have a comfortable and cushioned session. They are also designed to be larger than traditional yoga mats.
Yogamatters: With a wide variety to choose from, yoga teachers are sure to find a good fit in this range. Yoga teachers have recommended the Kurma Classic mat.
LovEarth: Based in Australia, LovEarth mats have excellent grip, are biodegradable (compostable), and use natural colouring.
Yogi Bare: Made from rubber sourced from a sustainable forest, Yogi Bare mats are 100% vegan, and biodegradable. Yoga teachers love the naturally grippy mats and absorbent surface.
AloYoga: Warrior mats from AloYoga are roomy, cushioned for joint support, anti-odor, dry-wicking and slip-free. They are also made from 100% formaldehyde-free, non-toxic and PVC-free materials.
With Every Atom: Featuring a range of eco-friendly yoga mats, With Every Atom focuses on quality, fashion and design for an attractive yet practical option.
Yogasana: These handmade organic cotton eco-friendly mats take you back to the classical and traditional roots of yoga, allowing you to connect with the Earth.
What do you need in a yoga mat?
There are many things we want in a yoga mat – grippiness, non-slip, easy to clean, etc. etc. etc. However, in order to practice yoga, what do we truly need? Several yoga teachers brought up an important point of consideration when purchasing your next yoga mat.
When yoga was created thousands of years ago, there were no rubber mats or anything else to prevent you from slipping or sliding. People practiced on the bare floor, on sand, on grass, wherever they were, with nothing to lean on for additional strength or stability. They depended on the strength of their own bodies, minds and spirits, for their practice of yoga.
If yoga is truly about challenging yourself to be stronger, and creating stability of mind and body from within, does a super grippy and sticky mat only serve as a crutch? Should we be focused on exploring the possibility of using our own bodies to do more, instead of seeking out “the perfect yoga mat” without which our practice falls apart?
Perhaps, it is worth taking a moment to reflect on this – and maybe we will find that our “perfect yoga mat” is anything that we want it to be, even something as simple as a bedroom rug.
About the Author
Crunch Ranjani is a copywriter & editor who specializes in writing content for health & wellness professionals.
She loves to travel and has been a digital nomad since 2013.
Visit Crunch's website.