The New Year is the time of refreshing weekends indoors, re-evaluation of life, and resolutions you’ll definitely, definitely keep up this time. Speaking of resolutions, it’s time to try something new, something you’ve maybe thought about before but never tried out. Something to improve your body and mind all at once. If you’re truly the 21st Century Man you claim to be, then why not dip your toe (and eventually your whole being) into yoga, which is a successful way to build muscle, relieve stress and, yes, improve your sex life since there are millions of yoga benefits for men. You could borrow your partner’s yoga mat, but wouldn’t you prefer to invest in the best yoga mat all for yourself? Of course, you would!
It’s time to stop talking about how you will improve your life and do it, so here are our picks to get you started on your spiritual journey. Now, let’s all take a deep breath.
The Best Yoga Mat
If you’re on a budget, but still want to get your hands on the best yoga mat you can, then look no further than the BalanceForm GoYoga All-Purpose Yoga Mat. At less than $20, it’s an awesome entry-level mat while you’re still figuring out the basics of the Downward Dog, Cobra, and the always-adored Savasana (also known as the morbidly named Corpse Pose).
It’s extra thick to ease pressure and discomfort on joints and it’s crafted with slip-resistant materials to provide stability and prevent injuries. On a hygiene level, the moisture resistant technology doesn’t absorb sweat, and also makes it easy to clean, while for convenience, BalanceForm provides a free carrying strap for you to sling over your shoulder to and from your first session and beyond. You can’t expect the high quality of more expensive mats, but if you’re still on the fence whether yoga is for you, this is a great economical option to get started.
Extra thick, high density and anti-tear design
Slip-resistant advantages prevent injuries
Moisture resistant technology for better health and easy washing
Free carrying strap included
- Weight1.8 lbs
The Jade Harmony is our premium pick for the best yoga mat you’ll find anywhere in the world (because that’s pretty much what Amazon is nowadays). They have crafted it using natural open cellular rubber, which provides excellent grip, stability, and cushioning, ideal for beginners and much-loved by experienced twisters alike, and the mat itself is made with sustainable resources. This includes absolutely no PVC, which gives you the most natural experience possible.
These natural materials ensure long life, suitable for a variety of poses and stretches, and are more than capable of sustaining the slightly larger male frame. It’s also much easier to clean than you’d expect, and you can remove sweat, hair, and other stuff with a quick and simple wipe down. As a final incentive, Jade Yoga will plant a tree with every purchase, which is why it claims to be Nature’s Best Yoga Mat, and who are you to argue with nature? Exactly.
Open cellular natural rubber for grip
Comfortable rubber cushion
Made with sustainable resources and no PVC
Plants a tree with every mat sold
- BrandJade Yoga
- ModelHarmony Professional
- Weight5.1 lbs
As our premium choice, the Manduka PRO Yoga and Pilates Mat is more than just a good yoga mat, it’s a way of life that everyone from here to Ashram and back again will rave about if you give them the chance. The high-density cushion provides unmatched support and joint protection that goes further than your average yoga mat. Unlike the Jade Harmony, Manduka uses a closed-cell surface, which prevents sweat seeping into the mat and halts potential rashes and bacteria growth should you be too lazy to clean it.
Speaking of cleaning, this same surface is remarkably easy to clean, and you can do so without worrying about damaging the mat thanks to the attention to durability. It takes a while to break in, and so is perhaps better suited to seasoned pros who know what they‘re doing. It’s not cheap, either, but money is nothing but a social construct, man, and what really matters is the riches of your mind and body, not your bank account.
High-density cushion offers joint protection and unmatched support
Closed-cell surface prevents sweat seeping into the mat
Durable design and construction
Specifically crafted to clean mat without damaging surface
- Weight7 lbs
There’s nothing basic about the AmazonBasics 1/2-Inch Extra Thick Exercise Mat which is versatile and thick enough to double satisfactorily as a mat for all kinds of exercise including yoga, including pilates, and you can even use it as a place to sleep when there’s no more room at the inn. But let’s say you use it for yoga; the textured surface ensures traction and stability, which if nothing else is a huge confidence boost at your first session, and ensures you’ll minimize (and hopefully eliminate) injury during exercises.a
Despite the thickness, it’s still lightweight, and this along with the durable foam construction, makes it an excellent and reliable travel yoga mat for you to carry around with you on your globetrotting, soul-seeking voyages. So if you want to jet off to explore the beginnings of yoga, you’ll look right at home with this one. Just make sure you don’t leave your passport behind.
Versatile mat for yoga, pilates, and stretching
Textured surface enhances traction and stability
Half inch thickness provides comfort and cushioning
Lightweight and durable foam construction
- Weight2.45 lbs
The Aurorae Synergy Yoga Mat and Microfiber Towel is, apart from being fun to say, a great yoga carpet that makes the most from potential perspiration to enhance your yoga experience. It is water -activated, meaning it increases traction during poses the wetter it gets, ensuring reliable stability and bunching prevention which can impact your session in the worst ways.
You may think moist (ugh) equals unwanted odors, but the design ensures that this mat remains odor-free no matter how much of a sweater you are. It’s also (almost paradoxically) lightweight, so you’ll never need to complain about it weighing you down both to and from the studio, or wherever you find your chi. Against all initial appearances, it’s an excellent non-slip yoga mat which, if you can get past the unique construction and design, offers you something that’s different but no less effective than your average design.
Non-slip surface eliminates bunching
Ultra-thick for better comfort and cushioning
Water-activated results for increased traction during poses
No-odor, lightweight, and durable construction
- Weight3.4 lbs
You’d expect us to consider every yoga mat a natural yoga mat, at least on some level, and you’d be about half right, too. There are some yoga mats that are more natural than others, and few can stand up to the Ajna Natural Jute Yoga Mat (especially considering it’s in the name and all that).
Crafted with Earth-Friendly and anti-bacterial materials, this sustainable product is perfect for those who are as environmentally conscious as they are spiritual, while the non-slip backing gives them the stability required to keep their feet planted firmly on the ground, at least until you attempt a handstand, a successful one, too.
Toxin-free and odorless
Crafted using sustainable, Earth-friendly materials
Non-slip backing ensures stability
Lightweight and offered with free carry strap
- Weight4.4 lbs
Sticking with the Planet Love-In theme, the TOPLUS Eco-Friendly Exercise and Yoga Mat is something capable of easing the discomfort on harder, less forgiving surfaces like concrete, tiles, or hot coals. Okay maybe not that far, but whatever. It still has a front texture which offers strong slip resistance, while the back texture – identifiable through the dotted design, keeps the mat firmly grounded to whichever surface you use for your session.
This material also offers excellent durability and so will not tear no matter how hard you try (seriously). Like any great yoga or exercise mat, it’s also a breeze to clean, and it’s simple to roll out and then back up again once you’re finished. If you’ve struggled with awkward mats in the past, or are still searching for one that’s juuuust right, this could be the answer to easing pain and taking your yoga game up to a whole new level.
Front texture provides strong slip resistance
Back dot texture keeps mat firmly grounded to the floor surface
High tear resistance for durability
Hygienic and easy to clean
A large yoga mat is perfect not only because it means you get more space on the floor but also because it gives you more flexibility and freedom of movement during your session. The Heathyoga Yoga Mat is both eco-friendly and non-slip, and large enough for you to practice and master all the yoga poses you can. Along with this, it offers brilliant cushioning while also being odorless to prevent anyone avoiding your mat at all costs.
What we really love about it, though, is the Body Alignment system, which is a marvelously thoughtful addition we’re surprised we don’t see in other mats. The center markings help give you an idea of where to place your feet for optimal results even if you do yoga every day. These markings aren‘t raised either, so there are no worries about them interfering with your session and ensures comfortable posing without unnecessary distractions. You’ll also get a carry strap too so you can show it off to your friends straight away.
Odorless, non-slip, and excellent cushioning
Body Alignment system design
Extra large size perfect for almost everybody
Carrying strap included
- Weight2.2 lbs
While many people are satisfied with standard old one-tone designs, sometimes you want to add a bit of personality to your session. Offering a selection of some cool yoga mats, as well as a few cute yoga mats, the Gaiam Premium Print selection is full of interesting and unique designs which are a great couples’ option for those wanting to take steps towards calmer, more mindful wellbeing together. Everybody say awwww.
There’s more to it than just style over substance, though. Gaiam Yoga Mat provides non-slip texture for stability and offering a thick (but not too thick) construction that’s still easy to balance on and easy to carry. You’ll also get a free downloaded yoga class with this purchase, which is ideal for anyone who’s got all the gear but no idea. Don’t worry, we were all like that at one point. We can think of a few people who still are, too.
Wide variety of cool, unique, and interesting mat designs
Sticky non-slip texture ensures stability
Thick but lightweight construction
Free downloadable yoga class included with purchase
- Weight3.12 lbs
Our final pick is the YogaAccessories High Density Exercise Pilates and Yoga Mat, which is twice as dense as the average yoga mat (hence the name, we guess) and is also double-sided with non-slip texture for both comfort and posing stability, while the durable construction is tear-resistant and able to withstand regular sessions for years to come. This is all made possible without relying on toxic materials you may find in less responsible products. Not that there are any of those here.
Despite this density, it still provides an ideal weight for both carrying, transportation (both made simple with the carry strap), and storage, and won’t feel too cumbersome, if at all, as you navigate the city on the way to your next class. If you’re looking to get into yoga (or trying to convince others to get into it), then you should at least consider this as a first option. You can think about moving on up later on. And exhale.
Twice as dense as the average yoga mat
Double-sided non-slip texture provides comfort and posing stability
Durable and tear-resistant construction without toxic materials
Ideal weight for easy carrying and storage
- Weight3.4 lbs
Best Yoga Mat Buying Guide & FAQ
How We Chose Our Selection of Yoga Mats
Brand - There are a lot of yoga mat brands, seriously. This means we had to wade through a lot of poor imitations of famous and well-known brands before settling on the ones we were sure we could trust. To do this, we identified brands that had a good online following, a reputable online store, and also those that gave us a good feeling about them with detailed product descriptions and just superb, trustworthy looking products for sale.
Quality - We only want to present to you the highest quality products available. This was a huge focus when searching for the right yoga mat that ticked all the boxes of long-lasting, comfortable, stylish, and thick, but not too thick. This quality is crucial to ensuring you find the right mat for you and are satisfied with the results once it arrives.
Durability - You want everything you buy to last as long as possible. With yoga mats, it’s important that the mat doesn’t start falling apart after only a few sessions. It should be able to cope sufficiently with different styles of yoga and survive cleaning whether you complete a deep clean or a simple wipe down.
If the mat doubles as a workout mat, then you need them to be even more durable to ensure they can withstand the rigors of more intense workouts.
Reviews - As much as we wanted to get down to yoga, we don’t have the time. Instead, we looked at reviews from yoga experts who gave us a treasure trove of useful information that directed us towards the best options to present to you. They gave us insight into what we need to look for in yoga mats to identify a quality product and what features we should avoid at all costs.
Price - Don’t go breaking the bank on your first yoga mat, partly because there’s no need for beginners and also because you don’t even know if you like it yet. If this isn’t your first yoga rodeo (yodeo?) then you’ve perhaps graduated from basic mats and are looking for something a little more advanced.
We believe we’ve found a wide range of prices covering all budgets and needs for yoga mats, and we trust you know what you're after, just remember to be sensible.
Features To Look For In Yoga Mats
Support - The best yoga mat for you will require the right level of thickness to adequately support your activity. This will ensure you are comfortable enough to complete the session and prevent injuries or aches on parts of the body where the pressure is applied.
However, there is such a thing as too much thickness, as this can affect your balance more severely than a mat with too little thickness. You need to find the right balance between not enough, too much, and just right to perfect your yoga session.
Too much thickness also makes the mat too bulky to roll up and carry comfortably from your home to your class, which could become a nuisance after a while. Slim mats are easier to fit into yoga bags or carry, but they won’t always offer you the support, so choose wisely.
Grip - As we all know, yoga involves a lot of staying still until you switch over to the next one, so you need to find a mat that provides sufficient grip that ensures you stay in place for the duration, otherwise your poses will not have the desired effect.
Size - Anything that’s the wrong size is awkward, and the same goes for yoga mats. If you want maximum comfort and freedom of movement, invest in a yoga mat which is large enough to allow you to lie flat without your head of feet tipping over the ends. The rule of thumb is to buy a mat that is six inches taller than you or more.
For some poses, this size isn’t crucial, but you may find you’ll struggle with others if your mat isn’t big enough to accommodate you.
Surface Texture - The kind of yoga you do can affect the surface texture you need to look for. Rigorous yoga requires a sticky mat whereas hot yoga or Bikram requires natural rubber and similar eco-friendly materials. If your specialty is slow-paced yoga, then comfortable, cozy cotton is the pick for you.
Maintenance - Proper mat maintenance is crucial for eliminating the chance for bacteria to grow on your yoga mat. To ensure this doesn’t happen, you must clean your mat after every session following the guidelines provided by the manufacturer.
Some lucky mats are constructed using antibacterial materials but that doesn’t mean you can neglect to care for it, and while it may not need as much maintenance, still give it a quick wipe down when needed.
If you want to be extra careful, there are plenty of yoga supplies designed purely to help you clean your mat sufficiently, without worrying about messing up and ruining the mat after the first use.
You should also check that there’s no aesthetic damage, as this could affect your grip and stability, plus, no one likes a battered-looking mat, especially not one you’ve already paid a lot of money for.
Price - Unsurprisingly, yoga mats come with a wide range of prices so consider if you will get your money’s worth from it before you buy. If you’re just starting out, then it’s perhaps best you look to one of the cheaper options in case you’re not a fan. You may also want to consider what kind of yoga you do (or plan to do) as this could affect the type of mat you purchase and as a result, the price.
This price will also depend on the material used to construct it. Certain materials will cost more, especially as they shift closer towards premium manufacturing and materials such as eco-friendly methods as opposed to mass-produced plastic.
You may not want or need an expensive mat right now, but you might in the future, so keep that in mind.
Types of Yoga Mats
If you think you can get away with any kind of yoga mat, you’re wrong. Here is the different yoga mat you’re likely to find, with a bit of information about what they do.
Sticky - These guys come with a texture that keeps it secure on the ground and prevents allows you to hold your pose without slipping over. They are the most common types of a yoga mat and therefore often the least expensive.
Natural Rubber - Made of non-toxic and eco-friendly materials, these mats are ideal for the growing focus on sustainability. They offer excellent anti-slip resistance and are both biodegradable and recyclable. You’ll also find them very comfortable because of their sufficient cushioning features.
Jute - Arguably, the most eco-friendly mat type available, Jute yoga mats are made from(wait for it) Jute fibers, which you can find in Southeast Asia. It’s a remarkably breathable material, and is ideal for a variety of yoga types, but is possibly the best yoga mat for hot yoga.
Travel - These mats are thinner than your average options you’ll find at the studio purely because they need to be lightweight and compact enough to take with you as you travel the world. While effective, their slim design could impact comfort when completing your routine on hard ground like hostel floors. They’re also not recommended to use in everyday life after your travels finish.
Yoga Mat FAQ
Q: What is a Yoga Mat?
A: A yoga mat is a mat specifically designed for yoga. They are not like your typical mats you might find at the front door, but instead padded, (mostly) comfortable products that are lightweight and which you can roll up to carry them to and from your yoga class.
The top yoga mats will provide proper support, grip, and comfort, while also being lightweight, durable, and easy to clean.
If you do not yet have a yoga mat, you may survive using a fitness mat when at home, although you typically won’t need to take this to your class, as they’ll have in-house mats that everybody can use. These may not be clean, though.
Q: How Thick Should Be a Yoga Mat?
A: The thickness of your yoga mat will vary depending on the yoga you’re doing and what sort of support you need. The most popular mats are a quarter inch as this is both durable and cushioning.
Thinner options include the one-eighth and one-sixteenth-inch thickness, which are ideal for travelers and are lightweight enough to fit in just about any yoga bag. They don’t offer the same amount of support but are cheaper than quarter-inch mats. Anyone who has bad knees should avoid these though as it will only end in tears.
If you’re down with the thickness, then invest in a half-inch thick yoga mat, which is great for pilates and comfort, but may be too bulky to carry around as it’s unlikely to fit in your carry bag.
However, you should be careful not to purchase a mat that is too thick, as this can affect your stability and balance because of over-cushioning, causing you to sink into the material.
Q: What Does “PVC-free” Mean?
A: A PVC-free mat is a yoga mat that has been manufactured without PVC. While most cheap mats used PVC a lot in the past, it seems this practice is dying out. You’ll still probably find these cheap PVC yoga mats at supermarkets, but any serious, responsible brand will want to sell you a PVC-free, eco yoga mat.
Q: What Are Yoga Mats Made Of?
A: There are a variety of materials used to construct yoga mats, and each one will serve a different purpose, provide different support, and come at a different price.
Cheaper, older yoga mats use a mixture of PVC (otherwise known as vinyl), but as yoga has become more popular and attracted a certainly responsible facet of society, there has been a push to craft mats using sustainable materials. This includes natural rubber, which helps craft an eco-friendly yoga mat, and Jute.
Other mats, particularly those used in slower-paced yoga, are made from cotton or hemp, which is more durable than natural rubber, while Plastic Elastomer is one of the most interesting yoga mat innovations available. This material is just as eco-friendly as others, provides sufficient traction, and is ideal for yogis with natural allergies.
Q: How Do You Clean a Yoga Mat?
A: Different yoga mats come with different care, cleaning, and maintenance suggestions which you can find on your yoga mat. A general rule, though, is to use a damp cloth or sponge to wipe away sweat or dirt to prevent germs and bacteria thriving on your little island of calm.
Do not use abrasion-heavy cleaning products such as steel wool, as this can damage the surface and affect your routine. There are also yoga mat specific cleaning products available if you want to go above and beyond in your maintenance.
Q: Are Yoga Mat Towels Necessary?
A: Yoga accessories, such as yoga towels are not necessary in all cases but may be useful to you. More intense practices, such as hot yoga, are primed for a towel as a handy piece of yoga equipment as they can absorb sweat without ruining your mat while still offering traction.