Lamb notes that he’s practiced on many a Manduka and can vouch for their longevity. “It’s basically a tank: sturdy, durable, and weighs accordingly. Unfortunately for the sweaty-palmed yogi, it can become something of a slip-and-slide if you’re engaging in a more rigorous practice,” he says. Considering the weight and thickness of the mat, he’d recommend it only for “someone cultivating an at-home yoga practice who needs a steady cushion for restorative, yin, Iyengar, or any other slower paced asana.”
The Best Yoga Mat for Tall Dudes
Yes, holding downward-facing dog for 10 breaths is challenging, even for experience yogis, but a downward-facing dog on a mat that is too small is even more challenging. Luckily, Lululemon makes this extra-long, extra-wide version of their Reversible Mat that’s perfect for tall guys. With a full seven feet of real estate (most yoga mats clock in around six), you can spread those limbs out quite comfortably without worrying about kicking your neighbors in the face on your next vinyasa flow. It’s also reversible, allowing you to choose between a firm, grippy base on one side or a more absorbent, springier base on the other. If it’s good enough for an NBA Finals MVP, it’s good enough for you.
The Best Yoga Mat for Hot Yoga
Whether you’re into Bikram or you just sweat a lot, it can be difficult to find a mat that gives you enough support without feeling like your hands might slip out from under you at any moment during downward dog. Laying a sweat towel on top of your mat can sometimes do the trick, but can also be a hassle to fumble with throughout your practice. If this sounds like you, check out Manduka’s extra absorbent GRP Mat which is specifically designed to provide excellent grip for hot yoga classes. Infused with charcoal, the basketball-like textured surface provides tremendous traction, even when it’s a little damp.
The Best Thick Yoga Mat for Home Workouts
Even some of the softest, squishiest yoga mats can be a bit harsh on your joints and bones over time. Sometimes you’ll hear teachers say you can fold your mat over for extra cushioning under your knees, but this PVC-free mat is already almost twice as thick as Jade’s Harmony mat—no folding required.
The Best Travel Yoga Mat
Manduka has always stocked lightweight options in its eKO series, but a couple years back, the brand released a new travel mat under the Pro series as well. Well under three pounds, the Pro travel gives you the same high quality you’d find in the Pro and Prolite (as well as that lifetime guarantee) in a sleek, easy-to-fold, 3mm size. It can fold up perfectly to fit at the bottom of a standard carry-on bag so you can take your practice on the road. Plus, it’s thin, but firm enough to use on top of a hotel room carpet or a hotel gym floor. Even better, the closed-cell technology in Manduka’s rubber mats also helps seal out moisture and bacteria so you’re not hauling a slick, fusty-smelling mat back home with your other clothes.
The Best Yoga Mat for Beginners
Lululemon’s Take Form mat is one of the latest additions to its lineup, and works like a cheat sheet for beginners, mapping out 3D quadrants where people should be lining up their feet for their standing asanas or placing their hands for a plank pose. Warrior II feels a little less intimidating, and easy to achieve, when you can feel out where to plant your feet. FYI: If you have a latex allergy, you may want to steer clear, since this mat is finished off with a combo of tree rubber and latex.
The Best Woven Yoga Mat
If you’re flowing on carpet (and don’t need a super thick, rubbery surface underfoot to keep you comfortable), a woven mat is a stylish, sustainable choice for grounding down into your practice. Najee Wilson—a 200-hour ashtanga yoga practitioner at Brooklyn’s Heal Haus—appreciates the look of Oko Living’s 5mm Herbal Mat for at-home yoga, and the feel-good knowledge that the woven material supports artisans and preserves an ancient craft. “It’s hand-loomed from super soft cotton, which offers fantastic stability especially when you work up a sweat,” Wilson says. “The underside is coated in natural rubber which keeps the mat from slipping,” he adds, and it all rolls up into its own woven carrying bag.
The Best Yoga Mat for Commuters
You don’t want to be that guy on the subway during rush hour, hurrying to make your evening class while your mat is sticking awkwardly out of your bag primed to get stuck in the closing doors or the turnstile or knock over a small child. For those on the go, Jade Yoga’s ultra-light, ultra-thin, foldable Voyager Mat is perfectly portable. Weighing only a pound and a half, it folds up to about the size of a yoga block, and easily fits inside totes, backpacks, and gym bags. It’s only 1/16” thick, so if you need a little more support, just throw it on top of a rental mat from the yoga studio and you’ll still get premium grip without the germs or the fuss of a sweat towel.
The Best Budget Yoga Mat
If you’re not all in on yoga just yet, you probably don’t want to drop around $100 on a fancy mat that you might only use twice. This $15 investment should do the trick. Better yet, you can do a lot more than just yoga on it! This mat is also a swell surface for a post-workout stretch, a 15-minute at-home meditation, or some Sunday afternoon roof sun bathing. And who doesn’t love a complimentary carrying strap?
11 More Yoga Mats and Accessories That We Like
Who said you have to do yoga on these things? These affordable pilates mats are also great for an at-home stretch session or core work given their superior thickness for executing various postures comfortably (then transitioning to some HIIT cardio moves directly after).
If you’re cool with slightly thinner mats, the Eko is a very popular alternative to Manduka’s Pro travel series. “When I travel, I love the eKo Superlite Travel Yoga Mat,” Wilson says. “The natural rubber surface offers grippy contact. And it’s ultra-thin at 1.5mm which means it can easily roll and even fold when you need to save space.”
Not quite as thick as Jade Yoga’s, but a closer runner-up at 5mm thick, Italic’s mats supposedly come from the same manufacturers as Manduka and YogaDesignLab, except they sell at a much lower price point. Our tester noticed some chemical offgassing from the polyurethane top layer when it first arrived, and it took awhile for the edges to completely roll out. But after a week or so, it became their favorite long, thick mat for completing a variety of exercises comfortably—from running jacks to burpees to vinyasa poses—and without pissing off the downstairs neighbors. The non-slip yoga mat also provides great grip for leaning into a pose without losing your balance.
Similar to the Take Form mat above, Toplus’ yoga mat features lines and marks to help you perfect your alignment in various poses. It’s another solid choice for beginners or visual learners, and much cheaper than the Lululemon mat above. It’s also blessedly thick at 6mm for executing all kinds of moves in yoga and beyond.
When a teacher tells you to grab a block it’s not a slight against your immense yogic powers. Blocks are simply there to help you unlock a deeper, more supported expression of a pose. Cork blocks hit a good balance of give and firmness that is not found in those soft, ratty foam ones at your gym. And, maybe most importantly, they look a hell of a lot cooler.
Other alternatives to typical rectangle shapes are these multipurpose curved balance blocks from Bala, made from a dense foam, that support the curve of your spine if you’re leaning back on one and stretching out your chest muscles during restorative yoga. Wanna work on your balance? You can do a bit of that, too, if you rest your feet or hands on the flat ends and rock on the curved edges.
No matter how sweat-resistant a mat may claim to be, there’s always the option to top it off with an absorbent yoga towel that’ll keep your feet extra dry as you transition from pose to pose. It’s lightweight, compact, easy to clean, and extra portable for packing away on long-distance trips, or toting to the gym.
Chilling out in restorative yoga is an excellent way to restore your sense of calm after a stressful day, and grabbing a bolster (pretty much a long, dense yoga cushion) is a very useful prop for winding down during savasana. Lamb considers the Hugger Mugger Standard Yoga Bolster a “fantastic choice” for restorative poses. “It’s a simple but huge boost to calming the nervous system and getting the most out of a (sometimes too short) resting period,” Lamb says. Throw in an eye pillow and blanket, he adds, and you’re in for ultimate restorative luxury.
Whether rolled out for a simple stretch or for dialing up the resistance on a restorative pose, you can reach even more zen with a strap doing some of the work for you. Lamb notes that there isn’t a ton of variation in straps out there (they all do basically the same thing, with some variation in widths), so just make sure to get one that’s easy to grip and resist for a bigger release in your muscles.
Or, consider Alo Yoga’s two-fer of a yoga strap that combines the completely practical set-up of a carrying strap for your mat with decadent elastic panels to help you stretch out those weary leg muscles after a yoga session heavy on lunges and warrior poses.
Great for your at-home practice and your home decor, a humble, Southwestern-inspired blanket always does the trick, whether it’s laid over you in corpse pose or rolled underneath your hamstring in a challenging pigeon stretch.