Hello there, fellow side sleeper! I’m a side sleeper, too! And, according to a report from BBC news, so is a good majority of the population.
Before, choosing the best yoga mat was simple, you simply had to pick which color you preferred and that was it. This is because the original yoga mats are made from PVC, and that was the only type of yoga mat that was available back then, the only thing to do was to choose which color suits your taste and style.
Years have passed and progress and advancements happened. Now there are many different types of yoga mats to choose from. Ranging from the original PVC to the more environmentally conscious materials, you have more freedom in choosing.
Although, having too many to choose from can make it difficult for you to pick the right yoga mat.
Choosing a yoga mat can depend on various factors but will rely heavily on user preference. But for those who are just starting, want to have an idea on the best yoga mats, or simply looking for an idea on which type of yoga mat is best for a specific category, then you came to the right place.
How To Choose a Yoga Mat
Choosing a yoga mat can be both challenging and overwhelming. But there are some things that you can look into when choosing a yoga mat.
Your type of yoga practice
There are many different types of yoga and each one has its style and rhythm, having a specific yoga practice in which you indulge in can make it easy for you to decide what type of yoga mat can be of most use to you.
Here are some examples of yoga mats which can be useful for a specific type of yoga practice.
For hot yoga, you will need a yoga mat which can remain sticky despite sweat and moisture dripping on it, a good mat for this type of yoga is the Jade Harmony yoga mat.
For Ashtanga and Vinyasa, you’ll need a yoga mat which has an excellent grip, in order to prevent you from slipping when transitioning between asanas or poses, Manduka Eko can be a great candidate to this.
For Iyengar yoga, having a yoga mat which has an alignment marks can be helpful, the Liforme yoga mat is a good choice for this.
Decide on a yoga practice that best suits you or your preference, this can make it easy for you to choose a yoga mat.
How often do you do yoga
How often you indulge in yoga will determine the durability that your yoga mat should have. For those who do yoga on a regular basis, you will need to invest in a highly durable yoga mat, you can opt for the Manduka PRO which is guaranteed to last a lifetime.
As for those who do yoga on occasional use, you don’t have to invest in an expensive yoga mat, you can buy a cheaper yoga mat but is durable enough to last for your occasional use, BalanceFrom GoYoga Mat is one of the most budget-friendly yoga mats out there.
Sweating in yoga
Moisture and sweat are one of the few concerns of yogis next to grip and durability. Moisture and sweat can affect a yogi’s performance during a session if you don’t have a yoga mat that has excellent absorption; your sweat can cause you to slip and fall.
If you’re a person who sweats a lot or indulges in hot yoga, then you should opt for a yoga mat that has good absorption and remains to have an excellent grip despite being drenched in sweat and moisture. Gaiam Sol Dry Grip yoga mat offers an excellent choice for grip both for dry and wet occasions.
However, if you don’t sweat a lot or don’t indulge in hot yoga then a regular mat that has excellent grip and good absorbent feature can be enough for you.
Your allotted budget
Price is a major factor when purchasing a yoga mat, or for any product for that matter. Not everyone has the means to buy an expensive yoga mat, and on some occasions, some people like to be budget-wise when purchasing something.
Yoga mats can range from at least $20 to a whopping $200. Before going any further, it is good to keep in mind that not everything that is cheap means that it doesn’t have the quality.
There are yoga mats out there that won’t require you to spend a lot of money but will meet your expectations. BalanceFrom GoYoga is a good example of a budget-friendly yoga mat which in a number of ways can perform well when in use.
However, there are also some mats which will require you to invest an amount of money but is a money-back guarantee. An excellent example is the Manduka PRO which is quite pricey but at the same time is guaranteed to last a lifetime.
Make a thorough judgment before purchasing and investing in a yoga mat. Consider other factors that can be affected when you purchase a yoga mat.
Comfort and stability
There is always a contradiction between comfort and stability when it comes to yoga mats. A thinner yoga mat will mean better stability and connection with the floor while a thicker yoga mat will mean better comfort.
The downside of having a yoga mat that is too thin is that your elbows and knees can get bruised and discomfort by getting struck on the floor too much, on the other hand, a yoga mat that is too thick can mean less stability as there is less connection with the floor.
For beginner yogis, a thicker yoga mat will be more appropriate for their needs as their knees and elbows are more sensitive, however, if you have stronger tolerance or less sensitive then you can go for a thinner yoga mat.
Although, for yin and restorative yoga a thicker pad is more ideal for this type of yoga practice.
Top 10 best yoga mats
- Gaiam Sol Dry-Grip Yoga Mat – Best overall
- Aurorae Synergy 2-in-1 Yoga Mat – Best for hot yoga
- Jade Harmony Yoga Mat – Best eco-friendly
- BalanceFrom GoYoga Mat – Best budget
- Manduka PRO – Best heavy duty
- Liforme Yoga Mat
- Gaiam Print Yoga Mat
- Manduka eKO Superlite Travel Yoga Mat
- Yoga Design Lab Combo Yoga Mat
- prAna E.C.O
- Closed-cell construction
- Excellent grip and anti-slip properties
- Good absorption for sweat and moisture
- Free from bacteria and germs
- Has good cushioning
- Prone against sunlight
- Has that bad odor from the first unroll and first few uses
- Should be stored in a bag
Gaiam Sol Dry-Grip Yoga mat is one of the hottest selling yoga mats out there. It has excellent grip and anti-slip properties which helps in keeping you in proper posture without you having to worry about slipping and falling.
The topcoat of this yoga mat is also great in absorbing moisture and sweat which is helpful if you sweat a lot.
This yoga mat is very light, with a weight of 4.5 lbs, a thickness of 5mm and an area of 68 inches in length and 34 inches in width. The material used in making this yoga mat is PVC which is highly durable while being free from latex, rubber, and phthalates.
A quick note though is that this yoga mat is prone against sunlight, which means that you should keep this away from direct sunlight to prevent the fading of the mat’s color.
As for its bad odor, most yoga mats have this strong scent when first unwrapped and might have this scent for the first few uses.
the best way to get rid of this scent is by hanging the mat during the day (just make sure the mat is in a shaded area) and cleaning it with a proper yoga mat cleaner.
- Has excellent absorption
- There is additional padding that adds comfort and cushioning
- Doesn’t have that bad odor even after several uses
- There’s the unnecessary logo at the front
- Some poses require adjustments
- Not budget-friendly
The Aurorae Synergy 2-in-1 yoga mat is one of Aurora’s most recently developed yoga mats. It is a combination of both a deluxe non-slip yoga mat and a super absorbent non-slip microfiber towel both of which are excellent in absorbing and dealing with sweat and moisture, it’s no wonder why a number of yogis praise this mat when it comes to hot yoga.
This yoga mat has a length of 72 inches, a width of 24 inches, and a thickness of 5mm. Aurorae Synergy 2-in-1 yoga mat is also eco-friendly and safe from toxins and chemicals such as silicone, rubber, phthalates, and latex.
It is lightweight which makes it convenient if you’re fond of traveling and has a slight to none odor which is a bonus if new yoga mat smells bother you.
If you want to see better results, you can spray the yoga mat with some water before using it. Other yoga practices which Synergy Aurorae Yoga Mat is recognized for are Ashtanga, Bikram. Vinyasa, and Power Yoga.
- Has a balanced feeling of the floor and good cushioning
- It is versatile with the type of floor that you are using and has excellent traction and anti-slip features
- Highly durable and you won’t be seeing any flaking for a long time
- Recognized as one of the most eco-friendly yoga mats out there
- Free from harmful chemicals and toxins
- Easy care and maintenance
- Can have that strong odor
- Can deteriorate when exposed to sunlight
- Has the tendency to attract lint, pet fur, and grit
Jade Harmony Yoga Mat is one of Jade Yoga’s most popular yoga mats and is highly recognized as one of the best environmentally-friendly yoga mats out there.
This yoga mat is made in America from all-natural materials and has an excellent grip which can give you that sense of security for various floor types.
This yoga mat has a width of 24 inches, a length of either 68, 71, or 74 inches, a thickness of 3/16 inches, and an overall weight of either 4.3 or 4.5 lbs. Its thickness is balanced from feeling the actual floor and having enough cushioning to prevent your elbows and knees from getting scathed.
Besides being environmentally-friendly, this yoga mat is also safe for your health, as it is free from chemicals and toxins that can harm the body.
It is easy to clean and care for as you simply hand wash the material in warm water using a mild soap then hung to dry in an area away from sun exposure.
- Comfortable to use
- Created from a thick foam material
- Easy to clean and maintenance
- Has good absorption
- Has a carrying strap, convenient for traveling
- Can produce some distracting sounds when in use
- Needs to be used barefooted in order to prevent getting torn off
If you’re planning to do yoga or simply do not have the budget for those more expensive yoga mats, then this yoga mat is recommended for you.
BalanceFrom GoYoga Mat is one of the most budget-friendly yoga mats out there, which is good for those starting out. If you’ve not decided on which yoga practice to take, which yoga mat best suits you, then this mat is ideal for you, as this mat is multipurpose, you can use it in different yoga practices until you’ve found which one best suits you, then you can save for that more expensive yoga mat for later.
Despite being budget-friendly, this yoga mat is made from thick foam material which makes it comfortable in use. It also has good absorption which is ideal for more intense yoga practices and if you sweat a lot.
The dimensions of this yoga mat are 68 inches in length, 24 inches in width, and a thickness of ¼ inches. This yoga mat is also good for traveling as it is lightweight and has a carrying strap making it easy for you in taking it to different places.
In terms of its cleaning and maintenance, due to its absorbent feature, it makes it easier for you to clean as you can just wash the mat with water and soap.
Although, as a downside to this yoga mat, it can produce some distracting sounds when in use.
- Lifetime guarantee
- Has no new mat smell
- Can provide you with good stability
- Highly durable
- Closed-cell construction
- Good slip resistance feature
- Has a good balance between cushioning and floor feeling
- It’s not budget-friendly
- If you like breaking your mats in, then breaking this one will take some time
- It’s not lightweight
- Although free from latex and phthalates, this mat is still made from PVC which means this mat will not easily breakdown and be recycled
An average yogi who does yoga on a regular basis will definitely have used at least one yoga mat each year. Counting how much you’ve spent on these yoga mats will only stress you out, so why don’t you invest in an expensive yoga mat but is guaranteed to last a lifetime?
Manduka PRO yoga mat is created by Manduka which gives you a lifetime guaranteed yoga mat, this means no more yoga mats breaking down or getting torn off. In fact, Manduka will even replace your yoga mat with a new one if it breaks down, absolutely for free.
This yoga mat is made with PVC, a material that is used on original yoga mats and has a reputation of possessing a quality of robustness. Although made from PVC, Manduka’s PRO yoga mat is free of latex and phthalates.
Manduka PRO has a weight of 7.5lbs, which is pretty heavy compared to other yoga mats, and has a dimension of 71 inches in length, 26 inches in width, and a thickness of 6mm.
In terms of its grip and slip resistance, this yoga mat has a proprietary dot pattern on the bottom which helps in preventing you from sliding or slipping. The top surface of the yoga mat, on the other hand, has a closed-cell surface which helps in keeping sweat and moisture from oozing into the mat which can cause the breeding and harboring of bacteria.
Other great choices
- Has that alignment system which can be helpful to yogis, especially to those who are just starting out.
- It is durable
- Easy to carry around
- Has good traction
- It’s environmentally-friendly
- It is not budget-friendly
- It has that rubber smell which can be too strong for some users
The Liforme yoga mat is well-recognized for its alignment system which is a great help to yogis and those who are just starting out in yoga. This alignment system helps yoga practitioners by guiding them if they are properly executing poses or asanas.
This yoga mat is also wider and longer than most yoga mats giving you that extra space you need when doing yoga and is more inclusive for taller people. Its thickness has that balance between stability and comfort cushioning. And it has that strong grip which can prevent you from slipping.
The dimensions of this yoga mat are 72.8 inches long, 26.8 inches wide and 0.16 inches thick, with a weight of 2.5kg. It is made with natural rubber, a specially engineered eco-polyurethane, and PVC free making this yoga mat environmentally-friendly.
- Good for beginners
- Has multiple designs to choose from
- Has good cushioning
- Easy to clean and care for
- Has a thick pad that is super absorbent
- Good traction and anti-slip properties
- Lightweight and easy to carry
- Has a strong odor when first unwrapped
- Although lightweight, it doesn’t have any carrying straps
- Can be quite slippery at first but will eventually present excellent grip after washing
Gaiam Print Yoga Mat is a yoga mat by Gaiam that is known for the many vibrant designs that you can choose from. This yoga mat is thick which provides good cushioning but at the same time can give you that good stability.
It also has good absorbent features which can keep the mat dry and can help if you sweat a lot. In addition to this, its surface has a non-slippery texture which can help providing additional grip and traction.
This yoga mat has a length of 68 inches, a width of 24 inches, and a thickness of 6mm, and the materials used for this yoga mat is free from six different types of phthalate which is good for your health.
Although, when first unwrapping this yoga mat, it will emit a strong odor which will require you to hang it for a duration of 3 to 4 days.
- Can be folded and fit inside your travel bag
- Has good traction and slip-resistance
- Has closed-cell surface
- Ultrathin which can mean it can be hard on your knees and elbows
- Not enough padding for comfort
Manduka eKO Superlite Travel Yoga Mat is known for being a convenient yoga mat for traveling. It is lightweight with a mass of 2.2lbs and can be folded like a towel and easily packed inside your travel bag.
Despite its thickness, this yoga mat provides a lot of support in keeping you still and preventing you from slipping. It is also both environmentally-friendly and good for your health as this yoga mat is made from natural tree rubber, biodegradable materials, and is free from toxins and chemicals.
This yoga mat has a dimension of 68 inches in length, 24 inches in width and thickness of 1.5mm. In addition to this, you can choose up to 17 different colors of this yoga mat.
Since this yoga mat is thin, you can get easily bruised when making contact with the floor, especially your elbows and knees.
- Great design
- Good absorption
- Has a non-slip surface
- Comes with a carrying strap
- Has two surfaces
- Can emit a strong odor after the first use
- Is quite bulky
The Yoga Design Lab Combo Yoga Mat is a combination of both a towel and mat. The top layer is made from microfiber while the bottom part of the yoga mat is from a natural tree rubber. It provides an excellent grip even when wet as this towel and mat combination becomes stickier when damp.
This yoga mat is also great for traveling as it is lightweight which makes it easy for you to carry it around, and as a bonus, it already comes with a carrying strap. This yoga mat is durable and has good cushioning with a thickness of 3.5mm.
This yoga mat has a length of 70 inches, a width of 24 inches and a weight of 4.1lbs. It has zero odor and is free from toxic glue, silicone, and phthalates. In addition to this, this yoga mat is eco-friendly, biodegradable and recycled materials which can be good for the environment.
To see even better results, you can spray water on the top surface to make the mat grippier from the start of your session.
- It is made from thermoplastic elastomer or TPE
- Free of toxic materials such as PVC, latex, and chlorine
- Has an anti-slip surface
- Its surface has a two-sided texture
- Has closed-cell construction
- Can get marks from folding
- A little bit smaller than most yoga mats
- Has only one size available
The PrAna E.C.O Yoga Mat has an excellent grip with a two-sided textured surface that provides you stability and prevents you from sliding, moving, or gliding uncontrollably. It has extra cushioning that provides that extra comfort while being lightweight with a weight of 2.2lbs.
This mat is both eco-friendly and free from toxins and chemicals including latex, chlorine, and PVC. In fact, due to its closed-cell surface, it has a good absorbent feature and it is resistant to germs.
The size of this yoga mat is 72 inches in length and a 24 inches in width while having a thickness of 5mm.
As a bonus, this yoga mat is also ultraviolet resistant which means despite in bad conditions, the color of this yoga mat will not fade.
Yoga mat cleaning and maintenance
The importance of having a clean and well-maintained yoga mat is that your yoga mat can last longer, can remain sanitized, and free from odor and bacteria.
The dangers of not cleaning your yoga mat are that clogged sweat and moisture can become a breeding place for bacteria, viruses and germs. Also, if you’re fond of sharing your yoga mat with a fellow yogi then fungus can grow on your yoga mat. And the most noted reason that yogis clean their yoga mats is to get rid of the strong mat smell that some yoga mats produce.
Although there are some pointers to always have in mind when cleaning and maintaining your yoga mat.
There are many ways and methods to clean your yoga mat. If it has been lightly used then mild soap and water can do the job perfectly fine. However, if you have shared it with a fellow yogi then the best course of action is to sanitize it with a sanitizing solution. Although, if in a rush or if your mat is able to handle it, you can go for a washing machine.
Take note, not all yoga mats are able to withstand the force and pressure of washing machines, make sure that before cleaning your yoga mat, you took note of its cleaning instructions.
Mild soap and water
Using mild or diluted soap together with water is the most basic method in cleaning your yoga mat. You can simply create the mixture by combining two cups of water to every four drops of mild or diluted soap.
Always remember to not use too much soap or one that is too strong, as soaps can sometimes breakdown the material of some yoga mats, and it also can make your mat slippery when there’s leftover residue (this can cause an accident during your yoga session).
Use a damp sponge or towel in scrubbing the soiled areas, avoid using steel wool or any harsh cleaners because this can cause damage to your yoga mat. Then rinse with warm water.
If heavily soiled then submerge yoga mat in warm water together with the mild soap. Just remember that the soap should be mild and not to submerge the mat for too long.
Yoga mat cleaners
There are two types of yoga mat cleaners, the first one is pre-made, which you can purchase in stores or online, the second one is homemade yoga mat cleaners.
Yoga mat cleaners are mixed solutions which help in keeping your yoga mats clean and sanitized. There are many types of yoga mat cleaners out there, but it is recommended that you opt for one that is mild but is able to do the job. The same goes for homemade solutions, mixtures often consists of mild and natural ingredients.
Saucha natural yoga mat cleaner is one of the highly recommended yoga mat cleaners out there. This cleaner is made from gentle and mild formulas but is effective on dirt, sweat, and other undesirable things on your yoga mat.
This formula is hypoallergenic and hygienic, which means it does not contain any harmful agents that can affect your health. It is quick to dry, which means even before a session, you can sanitize your yoga mat.
As for homemade cleaners, apple cider (Half water and half apple cider) is a great ingredient to use in sanitizing your yoga mat. It is an all-natural and multi-purpose cleaner that is both safe and inexpensive.
Apple cider contains an active cleaning agent called acetic acid, which is effective in cleaning and disinfecting. It can fight off molds, stains and even sweat.
In drying your yoga mat, make sure that you properly squeezed out its excess water. After doing so, you can rub your yoga mat dry with a terry cloth towel before hanging it to dry. An important thing to know is that some yoga mats are sensitive when exposed to sunlight, make sure that when you hang your yoga mat it is in an area that is shaded.
Before it was plain and simple, go to a store, buy a yoga mat and choose a color of your preference. Now, you have more options and can choose which yoga mat best suits you and addresses your needs.
There are many types of yoga mats to choose from, and each one has its area or category in which they perform best. This can make it quite difficult in determining which yoga mat best suits you, especially when you’re starting out and have very little knowledge about yoga mats.
Fortunately, thanks to the power of the internet, you are just one click away from seeing the different types of yoga mats and which one is best for you. And hopefully, this article was able to do just that.
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