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A quality yoga mat is imperative, whether you’re a casual yogi or an expert in mat Pilates. Similar to investing in key wardrobe staples, like coats and work bags, investing in a yoga mat can further your practice and protect your body to get the ultimate results.
What’s the criteria for a good yoga mat?
The main aspects to consider when choosing one is thickness and durability. For New York Pilates founder Heather Andersen, thickness is one of the most important aspects, especially if you plan to use the mat for Pilates instead of yoga. “The reason you’ll want a thicker mat for Pilates is because it is a very core-focused workout where you’re often laying on your back. The extra cushion provided by a thicker mat makes it more comfortable for your tailbone, spine, and pelvis,” Andersen shares. The thickness of the mat also contributes to its durability, since its thickness will help withstand wear and tear. You just have to make sure it’s thin enough to roll up easily. Thankfully, there’s a huge range of different thicknesses out there that are used for both yoga and Pilates.
How often should you clean your yoga mat?
Often! As in, after every use. Wiping your mat down after every use is key to longevity. Y7 founder Sarah Larson Levey uses a vinegar-and-witch-hazel mix (1:4 ratio) with a couple drops of tea-tree oil in a spray bottle and cleans her mat with it. Larson also suggests storing the mat out of sunlight to extend its wear.
Instead of going to your nearest T.J. Maxx and settling for the first one you find (no shame!), we spoke to the experts to find out what are the best yoga mats on the market.
The Best Yoga Mats
The Thicker Pilates-Favored One
Andersen’s favorite thick mat is this one from Solana. It’s available in more than ten colors and in a one-inch thickness for the ultimate foam cushion for all your joints and muscles.
The Classic One
Manduka is one of the most popular yoga brands out there, and its Eko mat is a must-have for any yogi. The mat is light and durable, 99 percent latex-free, and biodegradable. It also comes in a long option for the taller people out there.
The One With Extra Grip
This mat from Lululemon is Levey’s favorite because it’s light and has a nice texture. “[It] has a good amount of cushion for a lightweight mat. Plus, it’s easy to clean,” she says. For hot yoga, she loves to add in a towel from Manduka for extra grip and to collect sweat.
The Sleek One
Content creator (and yoga and Pilates enthusiast) Tyra Booker loves the Alo Yoga Warrior mat beyond its aesthetics. “It’s slip-free and super roomy,” Booker shares. Cushioned but light, this mat is also 100 percent formaldehyde- and PVC-free, for an anti-odor, slip-free practice.
The Best Cork One
Writer Maggie Lange wrote a whole story about how much she loves this cork yoga mat, so of course we had to include it. Not only is this mat made from a 100 percent cork top that is ecofriendly and latex-free (most yoga mats are not), but it’s still a durable, grippy option for any and all yoga practices.
The One to Help With Alignment
The fan-favorite warrior mat also comes in a chakra-alignment option, which is a favorite for many yoga instructors like Tochi Anueyiagu. “I find that a nice thick, grippy mat allows me to stretch out even more, especially in Downward Dog. Additionally, the lines on it are great guides for alignment and foot placement,” she says.
The Pink One
Pilates instructor (and Love Is Blind Star) Raven Ross loves the Bala mat in blush. “It’s still soft and squishy for knees and other boney parts that need extra support,” she says. Plus, Ross usually uses the mat while wearing shoes and can vouch for its durability and sturdiness. I’ve also used this mat, and I’m quite a fan of the feel and the fun portal shape.
The Reversible One
Another favorite of Anueyiagu? This reversible mat from Lululemon. “I love that this mat has two sides to it. It’s springy and grippy, which is great for my practice,” she says. “Another benefit is that it’s made of antimicrobial rubber, which makes keeping it clean a breeze.”
The Splurge-Worthy, Holy-Grail One
The Plush One With Fun Designs
These mats from Jollie are not only adorable for your adult self, but they come in a child size so you can take up a hobby alongside the kids in your life. A favorite of fitness trainer Megan Roup, the plush mats enhance the mission behind Jollie, which includes providing motherhood-driven products and continuing to give back to cancer treatment and the environment through its products.
The Best One for Hot Yoga
Nothing’s worse than trekking your thick, old yoga mat to a trendy hot-yoga class, which is why this thinner (yet still supportive) option from Gaiam is so popular. It also features a stay-dry top layer that provides traction and grip when you’re extra sweaty.
The Jealousy-Inducing One
If you show up to a yoga class with this mat and hot-pink carrier, be sure to keep an eye on it at all times. The Adidas X Stella McCartney mat is adorable, lightweight, and grippy enough for any type of workout you need to get in.
- Sarah Larson Levey, founder and CEO of Y7 Yoga
- Heather Andersen, founder and CEO of New York Pilates
- Megan Roup, celebrity fitness trainer and founder of the Sculpt Society.
- Tyra Booker, social-media manager and content creator
- Tochi Anueyiagu, yoga instructor at Y7 in NYC
- Raven Ross, Pilates instructor and founder of Pilates Body