Ever stand in front of the array of options of yoga mats and wonder which one is the right one for you? I sure have! Who thought that so much could go into how to choose the right yoga mat for you and your practice? It is easier than you think to find the best mat for you. Choosing a yoga mat does not have to be hard and here are some (hopefully) helpful tips to choose the right yoga mat for you!
This post does contain affiliate links.
The material of your yoga mat will be what you feel when you practice. Picking the right material for your mat will make a big difference in your practice. You’ll notice this with the stickiness, texture, & sponginess (the sponginess will depend on thickness as well). Here are some different materials
PVC stands for polyvinyl chloride (vinyl) – this is the most common and entry level mat material. PVC yoga mats usually have the most stickiness, durability and give. Smoother texture.
Cotton – usually thin and often used on top of another (thicker) mat as the cotton material doesn’t provide a lot of cushion. Cotton helps with your grip when it’s sweaty and will absorb the sweat better than other materials.
Jute – usually thin as well so it’s lightweight which can be nice for transportation. Jute is durable and will also absorb sweat. Rougher texture.
Foam -similar benefits to the PVC but more environmentally friendly than the PVC. Foam yoga mats will provide more cushion than some of the other materials (avoid if you’re allergic to latex).
Rubber – provides a good amount of cushion, support and stickiness. Another option for a more environmentally friendly option than the PVC (avoid if you’re allergic to latex).
The thickness of your yoga mat will make a difference of how comfortable you are when you practice yoga. A standard yoga mat is 1/8 inch thick. But take into consideration things like if you have sensitive joints or are boney then doing some poses might be more comfortable on a thicker mat like a 1/4 inch (or more!).
A thinner yoga mat does provide a sense of feeling more grounded and can offer better support in doing balance poses. There are yoga mats as thin as 1/16 inch which are also great for those on the go and needing a mat that is easy to travel with.
Which brings us to the next thing to consider when considering how to choose the right yoga mat for you.
Where are you practicing?
The thicker and heavier mats will provide more comfort in some aspects but might be harder to carry back and forth to the studio or take up in the mountains. For a home practice though, the thicker mats would be perfect!
A lightweight and thinner yoga mat will be easier to take with you places. If you are looking for yoga mat to take with you as you travel, consider a thin one like this Superlite Travel Mat from Manduka! (I love Manduka mats!)
I personally like a little more cushion on my mats. I practice at home and at the studio so I find using a strap or bag, like the ones pictured below, helps taking my yoga mat back and forth easier.
Here are more options of yoga straps, bags and carriers in b.e.’s favorites yoga gear shop.
You want to make sure your yoga mat is long enough that when you are in Savasana your entire body fits on the mat. A standard yoga mat is 68″ but there are options to get longer or shorter ones.
In finding the right yoga mat for you, you will want to consider the texture of the mat. This will be based mostly on the material of your mat as you read above.
Different textures of yoga mats can include how smooth or rough it is and if it is sticky or slippery. Mats with a pattern will often provide a little more grip and you’re less likely to slip (these are the ones I prefer). When I am using one of my smoother mats and need more traction, I will sometimes use a yoga mat towel.
If you get sweaty during your yoga practice then you’ll want a mat with more texture as the smooth ones will become slippery. This brings us to our next subject that is important to take into consideration when buying a yoga mat… the type of yoga you practice.
Type of yoga
If you practice styles of yoga that create more energy and sweat, you will want a yoga mat that can absorb sweat and provide some traction. There are mats made specific for hot yoga styles like this one from Manduka.
For other types of yoga, a more standard mat will work and there is more flexibility in the price range. I have one like this from Gaiam that I use around my house and outside. I don’t mind it getting a little beat up from the elements of nature. Whereas my favorite yoga mat that I use inside and at the studio is a little more money so I don’t like using it outdoors as often. Although this is my favorite mat, I do not use it for practicing Power Yoga as it does not provide enough grip so I do use mats made for hot yoga.
There can be a big price range difference with being able to find some yoga mats under $20 and others up in the $100s range. Of course you can go higher like this one that is $360!!! This mat is large enough to for you and a friend to practice on!
Does price really matter? Yes, it can. My yoga mats that I have paid more for are higher quality and last longer. The yoga mats that are less expensive do the job, they just don’t last as long. Which is fine if you don’t mind buying another one when it needs to be replaced.
If you’re just starting and new to yoga, I think it would be fine to spend less to get a feel for what you do and don’t like. You can also play around with which type of yoga you prefer and how much cushion in your yoga mat you might want. This way when it comes time to invest in a higher priced yoga mat you’ll know more of what you want.
One last thing to consider when choosing the right yoga mat for you is, of course, the style! Okay, so this one really isn’t that important but there are a lot of options as far as colors & patterns when it comes to yoga mats. You can check out some of the varieties in b.e.’s favorites yoga gear shop.
The Right Yoga Mat for You…
Finding the right yoga mat for you can take some time & consideration. Just remember it’s about you! Just as we are all different, so are yoga mats.
When all is said and done, keep these key things in mind:
- Your body – the amount of cushion, the length for your comfort, your joints, your bones and more
- Your practice – where and how you practice
- Your preference – pick the mat you like that works for your body, your practice and your liking
- Your style – find the mat that speaks to you be it one dark color, a pattern or a rainbow of colors
You want to love getting that mat! I want you to love getting on your mat! Having the right yoga mat for you will be important in your yoga practice.
Please feel free to reach out if you have any questions about how to choose the right yoga mat for you.