Decisions, decisions! With so many yoga mats on the market right now, it can be hard to figure out which one is right for you. Fortunately, here at Cody we’ve done the research for you and are proud to present our favorite yoga mats of 2015.
But first! What to look for in a yoga mat:
- Stickiness: You’re looking for a yoga mat, not a slip ‘n’ slide, so stickiness is a big factor here. You don’t want your hands and feet to be sliding out of position in your downward dog, and you definitely don’t want your hands to slip when practicing jump-throughs or arm balances. Although some yogi’s purposefully look for less sticky mats if they are trying to build strength, sticky mats are crucial for beginners and sweaty-betty’s.
- Thickness: Cushioning can be a make-or-break factor for many yogis, as thickness will have a direct impact on your comfort in poses where joints connect with the ground (especially the knees). Thick mats (1/8 – 1/4 inches thick) are heavier, take up more space, and are often more comfortable. If you are practicing outdoors, they can provide awesome padding on rocky or uneven surfaces. However, thin mats (1/16 to 1/8 inches thick) are portable, great for traveling, and provide a closer “connection” with the ground, making balancing poses more stable.
- Durability: Do you want a short-term relationship with your mat, or are you in it for the long haul? Do you take good care of your belongings, or do you have an unfortunate tendency to break things? For those who are looking for a lifetime mat, or are a bit accident-prone, investing in a durable mat is the right choice for you. If you are still in your experimental phase of yoga – unsure if you are going to be a lifetime practitioner, or lose things easily, then maybe investing in an expensive mat with a lifetime guarantee isn’t your best choice.
- Size: The standard yoga mat is 68 inches long and 24 inches wide. However, if you are on the taller or wider side, you may want to seek out mats that come in larger sizes such as 72, 74, or 76 inches long and 30 inches wide. Some yogis may also prefer larger mats because you can “claim” more floor space for yourself in crowded classes with a larger mat.
The All-Around Best Mat: Liforme Yoga Mat
- Why we like it: The team at Liforme set out to create the best yoga mat in the world, and that’s exactly what they did. The winning signature feature of this mat is their alignment markers etched into the surface. The top layer of the mat is water-absorbent and designed with grip in mind so that you don’t slip even when sweaty-wet. Liforme mats boast deeper cushioning to be easy on your knees, with a slight tradeoff of being a heavier mat at 5.5lbs. While a heavy mat may seem like a pain to carry, it’s a absolute blessing when practicing outside on uneven surfaces.
- What’s special: The unique AlignForMe system of subtle alignment markings on the mat is what truly sets Liforme apart from it’s competitors. With a lotus marking the exact center of the mat, and horizontal running “end to end lines” for the alignment of hands & feet, practitioners of any level will benefit. Plus, each Liforme mat comes with a yoga mat bag included!
- Who is it best for: At $140 a pop, Liforme mats are a worth-it splurge for anyone who is ready to invest in their practice in the long-term. Practitioners of alignment-focused styles of yoga, particularly Iyengar & Ashtanga yoga, would benefit most from the alignment markings.
- Where to get it: Shop four different color styles at the Liforme website.
Stickiest Mat: Jade Harmony Mat
- Why we like it: This mat takes the cake when it comes to a no-slip grip and wonderful traction. Made from natural rubber tapped from rubber trees, the distinction between natural & synthetic rubber (used in other, cheaper mats) is what makes the difference in grip here. This mat is truly excellent for giving you peace-of-mind from slipping and smashing your face when practicing your inversions.
- What’s special: Harmony Mat owners report owning this mat for incredibly long amounts of time, even up to ten years. Along with being incredibly durable and made out of natural materials by fair labor practices, Jade Yoga also plants a tree for each mat purchased.
- Who is it best for: Heavy-sweaters, hot-yoga practitioners, and inversion junkies.
- Where to get it: At $75 (plus shipping) on the Jade Yoga Website, this is a great moderately-price pick for the budget-conscious yogi.
Best Mat for Traveling: Lolë I Glow Travel Mat
- Why we like it: A travel mat that finally lives up to it’s name, this lightweight champion weighs in at a mere 0.7 pounds. At 72 inches long, this mat is actually a bit longer than average, but at only 2mm thick the result is a mat that you can fold into the size of a napkin. Perfect for the frequent fliers and restless spirits, this highly portable mat is easy to pack into bags, backpacks, and even purses.
- What’s special: Along with being easily foldable while keeping a good amount of length, the Glow Travel Mat is eco-friendly and only $30, so it’s not a major blow to your wallet if you lose it during the perils of travel.
- Who is it best for: Travelers who like (or need) to pack light, especially backpackers, festival-goers, people who want a backup mat, and the like.
- Where to get it: Enjoy free shipping on your mat from the Lolë website here.
Best Long-Term Investment: Manduka Pro
- Why we like it: This ultra-sturdy mat clocks in at 1/4 inches think and a whopping 7lbs in weight. This dense, thick mat will hold up against the wear and tear of life, and comes with a lifetime warranty just in case (but we doubt you’ll need it). Owners report using this mat for over 10 years, and loving it every step of the way.
- What’s special: Along with the thick cushioning, this high-performance mat has a non-slip surface. While the standard Manduka is 71 inches long, their extra large size is… well, extra large compared to other competitors’ offerings, at 85 inches long.
- Who is it best for: The committed yogi. If you have been blowing through mats with your high usage, it’s time to invest in a Manduka once and for all.
- Where to get it: Their website always has Manduka Pros in stock, and serves the US and Europe.
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