In my six years of practicing yoga, I’m proud to say that I’ve only purchased two mats! And this is not because my mat sat in the back of my closet for some time. This is because I took my time selecting a mat, researched, and chose well. There are many factors that go into choosing a comfortable, long lasting yoga mat. Below is how you can evaluate yoga mats and find the one that’s right for you!
Most yoga mats are about 68 inches (5′ 8”) in length. If you’re like me and are just about 5′ 8″ or taller, I’d recommend looking into extended length mats (usually 72 inches). This way, you’ll be able to spend the entire yoga class (including savasana – the final resting pose) on your mat.
While most yoga mats aren’t that heavy, it is important to keep in mind how you will transport your yoga mat to and from class. Given that I’ve lived in cities for the past several years, I often walk or take public transit to yoga. This means that I usually have my mat in a bag over my shoulder. I recommend getting a lighter weight mat if you plan to carry it around to and from class to reduce the weight on your shoulders and back. Lighter weight mats are usually 2.5-3 pounds.
Yoga is not a place where you want to go sliding unintentionally off the mat. You could bump into a neighbor or even put yourself at risk for injury. If you’re attending hot or power yoga classes regularly or you sweat during your practice, I’d consider looking into an anti-slip mat. These mats absorb sweat well and allow you to keep moving safely – no matter how much sweat you drip on the mat!
Thick mats are more supportive, but they can be more difficult to practice balancing poses on. Think about where you’ll be practicing yoga – on a hardwood floor, outside, on carpet, etc. Depending on the surface you’re practicing on, you may need more or less support. Typically, yoga mats range between 1/8″ to 1/4″ thick.
Some yoga mats can be pricier than others. Having an budget set before you go shopping will help you to stay on track and find quality mats in your price range. I spent $75 on my first mat (lasted 4 years) and $55 on my second mat (still in good condition). In my mind, both of these purchases were rationalized considering that I used to attend in-person yoga classes at least once a week. If I rented my own mat for $3 each time, I would’ve spent about $150 a year on mat rentals. Instead, I spent about half of that on a quality mat that lasted 4 years. A quality yoga mat is an investment in yourself, your wellbeing, and your relaxation. If there is one area in life to save for or put it a bit extra towards, this is it!
Many yoga mats are made with PVC, but there are many eco-friendly, PVC-free, and latex-free mats available. I look for mats made with manufactured materials because I spent lots of time on my mat and want to be conscious about what I’m breathing in for hours each year. When shopping for mats, look for the materials section to learn more.
Yoga mats come in all colors, so selecting a color is completely up to you! I prefer to choose calming colors for my yoga mats – deep blues, purples, or grays. I like to look down at my mat during class and feel at peace!
Now you can take what you’ve learned and pick out the best mat for you!