The yoga mat post
"What kind of yoga mat should I get?"
This is a question I get a lot from new students.
The answer: It depends. On a few things.
- The type of yoga you practice
- How invested you are in the practice
- Your personal preference (every yogi is different!)
I used a cheap mat for a couple of years, not realizing that there were better options. I started Bikram (hot yoga) with that same cheap mat, using an old bath towel on top to help prevent me from sliding all over.
There's nothing wrong with cheap mats and bath towels, but if you're practicing regularly and have the means to invest in something more luxurious — yes, yoga is luxurious — here are some of my favorite mat picks.
For hot yoga: Lululemon The Mat
I didn't want to like this mat. But it's become my favorite for hot classes. It gets better the more you break it in and I'm shocked that I don't slide even if I'm dripping in sweat. This is also great for tall yogis because it's available in an extra long size.
Pros: Super great grip, which gets better as you sweat
Cons: Pricey, heavy to carry around, smells when first opened and it needs some time to air out, kind of hard to clean (because it's so absorbent)
For non-heated yoga: Jade Harmony
Jade was my first love. And I still love my Jade. I use it for non-heated or slightly heated classes. The grip is great as long as it doesn't get too sweaty. Plus, it's a company I feel good about supporting.
Pros: Good grip, great company, doesn't smell, easy to clean, not too heavy to carry
Cons:A little pricey, can lose its grip with a lot of sweat
For restorative yoga: Manduka PRO
I use my Manduka mat at home and for restorative classes when I like a nice cushion on my joints. It's not as grippy as the Lululemon or Jade, but it's definitely better quality than a cheap mat. It's worth noting that there are yogis who love this mat above all others. I'm just not one of them.
Pros: Thick, comfortable on joints, decent grip
Cons: A little heavy and pricey
For starting out: Anything
If you're just starting out, I don't recommend shelling out a lot of money for a yoga mat. Most studios have loaner mats you can borrow, or you can purchase one for $10-20 at places like TJMaxx or Target. Any mat at this price point is going to be about the same. Just know that if your hands are sliding in downward facing dog, it's not you — it's the mat.
To upgrade your grip: Yoga mat towels
A good yoga mat towel is a great way to upgrade your cheap mat for a heated class. These towels are specifically meant for yoga, so they fit your mat perfectly and help prevent you from sliding.
I used a Yoga Rat towel that I purchased on Amazon for less than $20 before I started using the Lululemon mat (which doesn't need the extra grip of a towel). And my husband has the same one that he uses on his mat. The Yoga Rat towel works great, but if you want the Rolls Royce of yoga mat towels, check out the Yogitoes towels by Manduka. I don't personally have one, but they feel super grippy and are a yogi fave.
Also, kind of obsessed with how beautiful this one is.
These are all my personal preferences and I hope it will give you a starting point if you're looking to buy a mat. And if you're in the KC area and would like to try before you buy (which I recommend doing!), we have both the Jade and the Lululemon available to try out at CorePower Yoga. Stop by for one of my classes!