As an instructor and student who rolls out the mat quite regularly, I know what features I prefer to support my practice. However, considering the many styles of yoga and workout routines that involve mats, I wanted to see what other yoga professionals thought, including those that have been at it practically since the time mats debuted (despite the practice of yoga dating back over 5,000 years, the yoga mat hasn’t been around all that long).
With over 50 hours of research on dozens of yoga mats, I focused on the properties and composition of the mat and how this applies to the various styles of yoga. I surveyed the masses, consulted with over 10 yoga professionals with years of experience on mats, and personally put many mats through hours of testing.
The process was sweaty, and reconfirmed that choosing a yoga mat is akin to choosing your wine — some get better with age, and it all comes down to personal taste. Here are my top 2 picks:
If you want a mat to last you a lifetime, and can also tick the boxes for grip, portability, and comfort, the Manduka PROlite is the way to go. This mat beat out its category contenders for longevity by a landslide. It’s an extremely durable, high-performing mat that’s stamped with a lifetime guarantee. Yoga teachers everywhere (including myself) agree that the Manduka PROlite gets better with age the more you use it, similar to a baseball glove. I’ll get upside-down to that.
Lululemon’s “The Mat” is the other top-rated and much loved mat that you should consider, especially if hot yoga and heavy sweating is a part of your weekly routine. Yoga classes done in a heated studio are popular today (and let’s face it, many of us continuously perspire holding Warrior II), so I wanted to find a mat that would provide the best stick under super-sweaty conditions without having to rely on the use of a towel. Cue “The Mat.”
“The Mat” has an innovative moisture-absorbing design made to increase the grip with increased moisture. I was thoroughly impressed with how much grip I was able to maintain through sweaty and heated power vinyasa classes. I felt very secure practicing forearm stands for a few minutes while pouring sweat, and felt I could go deeper and comfortably hold downward-facing dog in a class set at 100 degrees and 40 percent humidity.
Like your practice, your yoga mat should be one that you invest in, one that you keep coming back to, and one that supports you through every inhale and exhale. It should feel like a little island you want to call home for every practice.
The Manduka PROlite allows me to take my practice in a variety of settings and teach to a number of yoga styles, while ensuring a long-lasting relationship with my mat. If things get extremely hot and sweaty, I suggest turning to Lululemon’s “The Mat” to ensure you don’t slip and slide around.
Don’t be afraid to test a few mats on your own and ask around before making a purchase. When a yoga mat feels just right for you, it can make all the difference in your practice.
This article is a condensed version of the original from Reviews.com. See the full list of recommendations here!