The yoga mats in my house seem to be reproducing. I don’t have an out-of-control yoga mat buying habit or anything, but being in the yoga community, I’ve started to acquire them from various events or receive them as gifts.
This is great news for me because not only do I feel super official and legit having a ton of rolled up yoga mats in the corner of my living room, but I also get to pick and choose which mat to use based on the type of practice I want to have that day.
I realize this is not a convenience had by most, and I did spend a good number of years with a mat that was too thin for my bony joints. So I was constantly seeking out different types of mats to see what would be best for me. I needed one that wasn’t slippery in case I was sweating (yes we ladies do sweat!), I also needed it to have enough padding and thickness but not too much.
So I decided to find out once and for all from people in the yoga industry what the best mats were. I don’t believe there’s only one because obviously there are different needs and different types of practices. That would be like asking people what their favorite food is (…just kidding the answer is always pizza).
I asked yoga teachers across all practices and almost everyone names these four brands.
Manduka: Manduka mats are sturdy, thick, and durable. People are raving about how they last forever and get better with age. They also come with a lifetime warranty and are eco friendly! Some teachers have expressed that they are a bit slippery when wet. So maybe not the best choice if you prefer a hot yoga practice. Someone expressed that they love Manduka mats because it helpes them “glide through vinyasas better.” They are heavy and dense, so depending on your practice that might be a good thing, or a bad thing. I find that Manduka mats are one of the higher quality mats out there. You’ll feel like a serious yogi when practicing on Manduka.
Jade: Jade was another name that kept popping up over and over again when polling teachers about their favorite yoga mats. People love the grip! You know that moment in downward facing dog when your hands and feet start to slide away from eachother? Well, this mat helps keep everything in place. The material can be somewhat rough if you do a practice with a lot of movements. One person told me it chafed their feet because the texture is so “grippy.” Overall the grip is everyone’s favorite feature. So this is the mat to use during your sweaty practices. Other bonuses, they are eco friendly, and come in varying thickness to suit your needs.
Liforme: I had actually not heard about Liforme before doing this research, but I’m glad I found it. Liforme does things a little differently. On every Liforme mat you will see markings designed to guide you into your best alignment. How brilliant! I think this is great for at home practices when you don’t have a teacher giving you alignment cues. It’s also got a great grip and is “impossible to slip on” one teacher told me. Another teacher said that it “literally absorbs sweat.” One downside someone else expressed to me is that they are not that thick, so if you have bony knees and ankles you may need some extra padding. One thing that turned me off is the price, they can go for a lot, but it may be a worthwhile investment.
PrAna: What people love about PrAna yoga mats are their size and stickiness. I’ve also found that PrAna has a lot of choices for thickness and design, so you can really pick out works best for your practice. The biggest downside for me is that PrAna mats are very think and don’t have enough padding for my joints, but I love the grip!
So now I want to hear from you! What is your favorite yoga mat? Share in the comments below.
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