Now that I have been practicing yoga for almost 2 decades I have probably used, bought or borrowed almost 100 yoga mats. When you are a yoga beginner I usually tell my students to just go to Target and get a $10 mat. Some of my students have told me they went to Tj Maxx and got a mat for $5.
I am not a big fan of borrowing a mat from a friend or a yoga studio. Most yoga studios do not regularly clean the mats and at the power yoga studios they often are drenched with dried, caked sweat…..making them smell like the plague.
If you borrow one from a friend you also have no idea how many times they put their sweaty butt or dirty feet on the mat where you are putting your fingers, hands and face. Germaphobes beware of the borrowed mat! I know that sometimes you have to pay a few bucks at a studio to borrow a mat and that is cheaper than buying one so it’s tempting to just delay buying one. When I used to borrow mats at yoga studios ( I haven’t for years now) I used to smell the mat like a bloodhound to inspect when it was cleaned last.
So how do you choose the best yoga mat for you?
There are a lot of things to think about when getting a yoga mat.
If you are a yoga beginner and a bit out of shape then I recommend a very thick yoga mat so when you are going to be kneeling and on all fours you have a lot of cushioning. You can also roll up your yoga mat from the back for your knees or just a bit from the front for your wrists to have some cushioning.
If you are traveling a lot then you want a really thin mat that rolls up nice and tight and doesn’t take too much space in your luggage. You can also buy Yoga gloves and yoga booties for your hands and feet. You just wear special gloves and booties so you can do your practice on any kind of surface with no risk of slipping.
If you want to be eco-conscious then you can get a mat made from sustainable materials like bamboo. There are also yoga rugs out there which are quite traditional but I am just not fond of.
If you are doing hot or power yoga then you want a mat where you won’t slip and slide a lot and you want your feet to “stick” to the mat.
There are also all kinds of yoga designs besides just a regular purple mat you can get. I’ve seen mats with butterflies, sunsets and Yogamatic makes custom mats where you can put your own photo on it. I bought one of these for a friend’s wedding and it was around $90 plus shipping.
What matters most to you when buying a yoga mat? Portability? Thickness? Stickiness? Sustainability? Aesthetics? Post your answers below.