Getting Started With Yoga: The Top 3 Best Yoga Mats On The Market Today
Yoga is so much more than just a workout. It’s an ancient art that has been practiced for thousands of years, and it can be used to help you become more mindful, centred, and grounded.
Yoga also helps increase your flexibility and muscular strength while reducing stress levels. And on top of all that, yoga is good for your mental health as well! Yoga reduces anxiety, depression, insomnia (when done at bedtime), anger (among others), which means it's not only great for the body but also fantastic for the mind.
But before you get started with yoga, you need to pick the right yoga mat. Ensuring you invest in a high quality yoga mat is more important than you think.
Why? Read on below!
Things to consider...
Grip & Stability
The best yoga mat will give you the grip and stability to ensure that your moves are smooth, steady, and controlled - regardless of where you do it. A slippery mat won't stick well with the ground beneath it, and cause injury because you won’t be able to control your movements as well. And since yoga can be quite intense at times, you don’t want to jeopardize your safety just because you didn't pick the right mat. So remember, great grip is an important factor.
Durability & Thickness
Most yoga mats will be fine for a short while. But that's not good enough! What makes it a worthwhile investment is its long-term durability. But you also need to think about it's thickness for comfort and safety. If its going to rip after only a few months, it’s definitely not going to be worth the money. Also, if your mat is too thin, you could hurt yourself when you have to support yourself with it during a yoga pose - which can cause injury.
You should also consider how portable and easy to take care of your mat will be. If it’s a pain to take with you to yoga practice, chances are you won’t use it as often as you should. And on the other hand, if your mat takes up too much space or is hard to clean, then it defeats the purpose of investing in one in the first place. Standard yoga mats are usually quite easy to transport, but some are a little awkward to move around.
For most yogis training at home, you might favour comfort over portability. But if you're attending classes, you want something that can be moved around easily. Just remember, if the process of practicing yoga is made frustrating because of an awkward mat, then you'll be working against the zen-ness you're trying to achieve very quickly!
Eco-Friendliness & Yoga Mat Materials
If you've used any yoga mats in the past, you'll be familiar with how different materials feel different on the skin. Some people prefer foam or PVC, and others prefer cork. Cork is relatively new in the yoga-mat-world, but is quickly becoming popular due to its eco-friendliness.
This might be an important decision-making factor for some people. Since yoga is such a mindful art, the more eco-friendly you can be as a yogi (or yogini as the case may be), the better. Plus it's important to take care of our planet and find ways to live in harmony with it.
The best yoga mat for you depends on your own personal preferences!
This is more important than you think! Whether you're involved in heated classes or a relaxing yoga session, you'll probably be sweating a little bit during your downward dog. It's important to have a mat that can effectively absorb sweat. Most mats will handle this completely fine, but others do a much better job of it.
If your mat isn't very good at doing this, you won't have great grip and you might end up with a sticky surface. No one likes a sticky yoga mat!
And finally, price! If you’re on a budget, then the best yoga mat for you is one that doesn’t cost a fortune and does everything you need it too. You might think the cheapest mats are the thinner mats, but this isn't true. It all comes down to material, and features. It's important that you shop smart - and we can help you with that!
So now that you know what factors need to be considered when buying a yoga mat, here are the best yoga mats on the market to help you make a stress-free decision! They're in no particular order, and each have their own pros and cons. Any would make a great addition to your setup!
The Most Affordable Yoga Mat
Muscle Motion: Black Basic Yoga Mat ($10)
The black basic yoga mat from Muscle Motion is definitely the cheapest in the series. But this doesn't mean that it isn't good quality! This yoga mat features a durable and sleek black design. It's made from soft PVC, which is why its one of the most affordable retails in this category. PVC mats are so affordable because its just a form of plastic, but it's lightweight and provides you with the grip that you need.
This yoga mat is just over 170cm long, which is perfect for most people. If you're taller than this though, you'll have you feet hanging off the edge which may be annoying. It's also quite thin, at only 3mm thick, but more than enough to maintain comfort. This also means its super easy to roll and store, something that is a little harder to do with thicker yoga mats.
It also features a super grippy mat surface that makes it easier to hold poses while fighting against slipping on all types of flooring surfaces. It's bottom surface also helps to prevent sliding during stretching sessions too! This would also be considered a great Pilates mat for these reasons.
If you're looking for a simple, sleek yoga mat that is easily-rolled and super affordable - look no further! You can also snag them in a package of 10 at a reduced price (if you're a yoga instructor!).
- Super affordable
- Sleek black design
- Easily rolled and stored
- Textured surface for increased grip
- Might not be long enough for taller people
- Not as eco-friendly as other mats
- Might be too thin for some people that want extra padding
The Best Yoga Mat for the Elite Yogi
The Morgan Natural Cork Yoga Mat ($65)
There's a reason why Cork yoga mats are quickly growing to be the most popular mats on the market. It's one of the only eco friendly yoga mats on the market that is rubber-free, latex-free, and non-toxic. This natural cork mat is made from a durable and environmentally-friendly material. It's as grippy as it is comfortable, and its bio-degradable, anti-bacterial and germ free!
While it's definitely on the expensive side, it's worth the price tag. The natural cork featured in this yoga makes it super grippy. It also perfectly absorbs sweat, making it great for sweaty classes.
It also features a whole bunch of markings to assist you with your yoga poses. This might be a bit rudimentary for more seasoned yogi's but helpful nonetheless! If you don't have any yoga instructors helping you out, these guides will be super helpful during your yoga sessions. It's also surprisingly comfortable even at 4mm thickness, and is just over 180cm in length.
If you're earth-conscious, then this mat is perfect for you. It's 100% bio-degradable and eco-friendly. It will outlast most other materials and is super easy to clean and maintain. Definitely worth the higher price tag!
- Grippy surface even when wet
- Comfortable at 4mm thickness
- Super absorbent and sweat-resistant
- Eco-friendly, 100% bio-degradable
- Perfect for novice yogis too!
- Pricey compared to other mats (but well worth the money)
- Not enough cushioning for some people
- Could be too thin for some people
The Absolute Best Yoga Mat (Our Top Pick!)
The Muscle Motion Black Hanging Club Mat ($30)
The black hanging club yoga mat is the perfect quality-affordable balance in this list. It’s dimensions are just over 180 cm in length and its the most comfortable mat in the list, at a whopping 15mm thickness. If you want something a little on the plush side, this is the perfect mat for you.
At that length and thickness, it can cater to most people at any height and is incredibly versatile. You could use this mat for pretty much any activity, and do so comfortably! Especially if you're engaging in restorative yoga practice - this comfort might be super important to you.
At $30, this also makes it one of the cheapest products in its category as its made with foam. Foam mats are a little bit more eco-friendly than PVC because it's natural and petroleum-free, so it's a great way to be conscious of your carbon footprint.
The only con is that is doesn't feature as much of a textured surface compared to the basic yoga mat. However, what it lacks in texture it makes up for in grip. The foam is naturally grippy and it has a very tightly woven texture that will prevent slipping and ripping in most conditions.
It's thickness also means its a little bit awkward to roll up. You'd definitely need some sort of carry strap to transport it comfortable. However, storage is not an issue with these mats. They feature two eyelets at the top of the mat so you can store them vertically on a wall! In most cases, this is the better way to store the mats anyway as it will prevent creasing or curling of the mat over time. Problem solved!
Because this is a mix of affordability and quality - we'd have to say this is one of the best yoga mats you can buy.
- Perfect blend of affordability and quality
- Great length of 180cm
- Super comfortable thickness of 15mm
- More eco-friendly than PVC
- Easily stored on a wall
- Slightly awkward to roll due to thickness
- Not much of a textured surface, but still grippy
- Requires a hanging rack, or the installation of two rods to store
How to clean your yoga mat properly:
Yoga and bodyweight exercises are intense activities. You'll be sweating a lot, and it'll all be caught on the surface of your mat. For obvious reasons, it's important to clean your mat frequently. As a standard mat is not machine washable, it's also important to know how to clean yours properly.
No harsh chemicals!
You might be tempted to grab the powerful cleaning agents and get to work. This is not a good idea, as many of the chemicals in typical cleaning products are harmful to the mat. Instead, a simple solution of water and light dish soap can be used.
Wiping your mat with a damp cloth is more than enough. Doing it in a rough manner can cause damage to the mat. Scrubbing hard will grind away at the surface of the mat, and is not healthy for it. Instead, light circular motions are recommended to get into all those nooks and crannies!
What is the best yoga mat made from - latex, rubber, or foam?
- Rubber yoga mats are the more durable option, but they might transfer more of a robust scent
- Foam yoga mats have a bit of give and lighter weight. Like rubber, they don't absorb water or sweat very well
- Latex yoga mats heat up quickly and cool easily, making them a popular choice for hot yoga enthusiasts
Hopefully we've outlined how the best yoga mats depend on individual taste, style and training needs. If you prefer something a little more comfortable, and don't need to move around too often - the foam options are great. If you want an exercise mat that is cheap and very portable, the basic PVC options are your best bet. For those that are earth-conscious and want a mat that has a bit more of a wow-factor, the latex-free cork mats are fantastic.
Regardless of how much you want to spend, we're sure we've got something for everyone with our yoga collection - check it out by clicking here!
About the author:
We write all of our blog posts as a group - consulting members of our sales, marketing and customer service teams to give you the content that you deserve. At Gym Direct, we know how important it is to stay informed when it comes to the equipment you invest in - so we've made it a top priority to write content periodically to assist you in doing so. Happy training!
Written by Gym Direct