Yoga Mats: Which Should I Choose?

Your yoga mat is literally the foundation of your yoga practice but there are distinct differences, benefits and drawbacks to know before you buy.

So here you are, you’ve decided to finally take your friend or doctors advice to start practicing yoga, but where do you begin!? There are so many (almost too many) options available when it comes to choosing the right yoga mat for you and your practice. It’s great that we have so many options, however, finding the right one for you shouldn’t add stress to your stress relieving routine!

Your yoga mat can be quite an investment but before you whip out that credit card, here are a few things to consider:

1. How often do you plan to practice?                                                     

Over time, your yoga mat can take on quite a beating. If you are a bare bones beginner or only plan to practice occasionally, a less expensive “starter mat” might be a good entry level option. Department stores like Target and REI have a small section of decent options and online places like Amazon have an array of inexpensive mats to choose from. I suggest starting here first if you are just trying out different activities and aren’t quite sure if yoga is your calling. Some mats can run well over $100 so its best to try before your buy! If you are a starting a Yoga Teacher Training (think at least 200 hours will be spend on your mat in a matter of weeks/months) or find yourself practicing more than once a week, a more durable yet often higher priced mat would be a smart choice.

2. Do you have more sensitive joints or will you be practicing mostly Yin styles of yoga, consisting of more seated and floor postures?

Thicker mats can be beneficial on tender knees and hips when practicing yoga, however, the thicker the mat the more difficult it will be to balance in standing postures. Some mats can get be as much as an inch thick and it’s important for me to note that these are NOT traditional yoga mats but actually meant for Pilates!

3. Are you a taller individual or prefer to have a little more personal space between you and other students in class? 

Yoga mats come in a standard length of 71 inches and are the perfect size for most students but they can also be found in longer lengths of either 79 or 85 inches for taller individuals or those who just like more room to really stretch out!

                                             

 I’ve narrowed the options down to the Top 3 Yoga Brands I know and trust.

The BMAT by BYOGA

The BMAT Everyday yoga mat is what I personally love and use daily. It’s 4mm thickness gives just enough cushion for floor postures without throwing me off balance in standing poses. The super grippy texture is reminiscent of a pencil eraser and keeps me feeling safe and supported though even the sweatiest of classes! 

BYOGA also offers this same mat in a thicker option, The BMAT Strong, for maximum comfort on sensitive knees and hips. Long lengths and specialty mats are also available on their website in a multitude of colors and thicknesses. 

Want to take your yoga practice with you on the road? They even offer a super thin, foldable option that fits in your suitcase, the BMAT Travel Mat! 

Photo Credit: www.byoganow.com

  • FEATURES

    • Superior grip

    • Durable

    • Eco-friendly

    • Anti-microbial properties

    SPECS

    • 71” x 26” 

    • 4.1 lbs 

    • 4mm thickness

    • 100% rubber 

    • Starts at $68

 

Manduka Mats

Manduka probably offers the largest selection of yoga mats available anywhere. From children sized mats all the way up to extra large platform mats starting at 78″x78″…. that’s HUGE!

They also offer two mats specifically designed and reasonably priced for students new to yoga. They offer a little extra cushion, alignment markers and can even be used at the gym with shoes. 

If purchased directly from Manduka, they offer a lifetime warranty making this a great option for lifelong practitioners of yoga.

Photo Credit: www.manduka.com

  • OPTIONS

    • Eco Friendly Option

    • Extra Coushion

    • Length Options

    • Beginner Mats

    • Starts at $45

     

 

Gaiam Mats

My very first yoga may was a Gaiam mat that picked up for under $20 at my local Target store. These mats are probably the most accessible and readily available for purchase. 

They come in the standard length of 71″ as well as children’s sizes. Fun prints and colors make these mats feel personalized. 

Although I find them to be fun and accessible, the longevity, grip and cushion of these mats is lacking considerably. A good option for the occasional practice or gym routine!

Photo Credit: www.gaiam.com

  • OPTIONS

    • Lightweight

    • Prints and Colors

    • Local Availability

    • Beginner Mats

    • Starts at $15

So there you have it! A list of my favorite yoga mats and few things to consider before making your investment in the one that right for you. The good news is, there is no “one size fits all” yoga mat! I have found over the years that my yoga mats become an extension of myself and can be very representative of my personal style, practice and personality. Feel free to reach out with any additional questions or comments you may have about finding the mat that’s right for you.

 

Happy Practicing!

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