Best yoga mats 2021: Save money and improve your technique with these best-selling mats – Livescience.com

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Best yoga mats 2021: Save money and improve your technique with these best-selling mats – Livescience.com

By 29 November 2021
Improve your yoga workout and find the perfect mat for your needs and budget with our best yoga mats guide
Yoga is an increasingly popular and effective way to stay fit and relaxed. But whether you are a seasoned yogi or a complete novice, the yoga mat you use can make or break your workout. Luckily, we’ve tested and assessed a range of the best yoga mats we could find so you can find the perfect fit for you.
Yoga can be extremely beneficial for both your physical and mental health. One meta-analysis has shown that yoga can reduce your risk factors for cardiovascular disease and metabolic-related illnesses. It can also help build muscle, burn calories, lower blood pressure and improve your posture and bone density. A study published by Harvard Medical School has even found that it can reduce your chances of developing osteoporosis. If you’re still looking for reasons to start practicing yoga, we’ve compiled a list of 8 benefits of yoga
However, the yoga mat you pick can greatly influence your yoga workouts and the benefits you gain from them. 
At first glance, all yoga mats may look the same, but they can actually vary much more than you think. They come in different sizes, shapes and thicknesses and are made from a wide variety of different materials which will affect how comfortable, stable and long-lasting they are. Some mats are easier to transport than others, while some are designed to be odorless and others are made from eco-friendly or even vegan materials.   
With all these different things to consider, picking the right yoga mat for you can be a confusing, expensive and time-consuming process. Luckily for you, we’ve done the research so you don’t have to. Read on to find which mat is the best fit for your practice, ability and budget.
If you’re looking to improve your home gym then why not check out our other Cyber Monday deals on treadmills, exercise bikes or rowing machines
Best yoga mats: image of lululemon reversible yoga mat 5mm
For once you can believe the hype: the Lululemon Reversible 5mm Yoga Mat is worth every cent. 
On the whole, user reviews on this mat are positive with many people claiming it the ‘best mat they’ve ever used’. One Lululemon reviewer said that it was “the ultimate mat. Quality unbeatable. Versatile from yoga to HIIT and this mat will last you, so value for money”. However. one Lululemon user wasn’t happy with the color of the mat compared with the website image, comparing it to “a piece of ham”.
Well made, durable and with excellent traction in both wet and dry conditions, it’s the yoga mat that keeps on giving.
It’s springy enough to move around on with great cushioning to support bones and joints. Its thin polyurethane layer and ‘sweat-wicking’ natural rubber base, does a good job at absorbing moisture and the antimicrobial additive in the mat prevents bacteria from building up.
It’s a bit smelly when you first open it, and tends to scratch easily. It’s also a little on the heavy side at 2.38kg but that doesn’t matter if you’re driving to class or you usually workout from home. Plus, the 5mm thickness means you get the support where you need it most.
• Read the full Lululemon Reversible 5mm Mat review
Best yoga mats: sweaty betty super grip yoga mat
The Sweaty Betty Super Grip Yoga Mat lives up to its name on the grip front and provides excellent support and stability for all types of yoga. 
The Super Grip Yoga Mat gets lots of five star reviews on Sweaty Betty, with praise for the mat’s durability and support. Customers love the design and look of the mat, as well as the fact that it is biodegradable. Many reviewers had bought the mat multiple times, claiming it offered the perfect amount of grip and thickness. Negative reviews cite problems with the mat being too hard, losing its grip after a year and the logo peeling off. 
Its sticky latex surface makes it durable enough to withstand a hot yoga session, and its non-slip nature makes it great for stability, meaning that you can stay in balance poses such as downward dog for longer.
Our one complaint is that due to its stickiness, this yoga mat is also somewhat of a dust and dirt magnet. It also picks up marks easily, but this is nothing that regular cleaning (and a carry bag for storage) can’t resolve.
Because this eco-friendly mat is made from natural latex (avoid if you have a latex allergy) you should expect a strong odor at first. However, this does wear off in time. We would note that this mat is a little thin for headstands, so you might need to add a towel to make it thicker.
• Read the full Sweaty Betty Super Grip Yoga Mat review
Best yoga mats: image shows JadeYoga Travel Yoga Mat
The Jade Yoga Travel Yoga Mat is perfect for travel as it’s thin, lightweight and compact. 
The JadeYoga Travel Yoga Mat scores an impressive 4.6 stars out of 5 on Amazon, with 76% of reviews giving it the full five stars. Positive reviews praise the lightweight design and the fact it’s thin and portable. Customers particularly liked the grip and support it offered. They also appreciated that it was made from renewable resources. Negative reviews cite problems with the mat being difficult to clean, as well as leaving hands and feet feeling greasy after a workout. 
It easily folds down to the size of a yoga block, and has a textured design that gives it great grip. While this mat will take up very little space in your luggage or your closet at home, the downside is that its super thin profile means that there is zero padding in this travel mat. We would also recommend rolling the mat out after you unpack it to minimize creases.
This yoga mat is made from PVC-free natural rubber so expect a rubbery smell for the first few weeks (and avoid this product if you have a latex allergy). It has an open cell construction and is really sticky, which is ideal as it means that you won’t slip and slide during your yoga session.
We would note that the mat can be a little slippery when sweat-soaked, but it doesn’t tend to mark or stain which is a big bonus. Jade Yoga has a plant-based mat wash you can use for cleaning, but we found that regular sprays worked just as well (although avoid UV cleaners as these can damage the rubber). Overall a great value mat with good performance for travelling yogis.
best yoga mats: image shows PREMIUM 2-COLOR YOGA MATS
The Gaiam Premium 2-Color Yoga Mat is reversible, so you can choose which side suits your yoga style or activity. 
This mat scores 4.1 stars out of 5 on Target, with 59% of reviews giving it the full five stars. Positive reviews praise the price, cushioning and color choices as well as the thickness of the mat. Taller customers particularly liked the size and extended length. Users also appreciated the quality and thickness, while negative reviews cite problems with the grip lessening the sweatier the user got.
It comes in at under 50 bucks so it’s a solid budget-friendly option for people new to yoga. 
It’s a good size for taller people who need a bit more mat space, and has great cushioning to support joints and bones. That makes it a good choice for anyone using it for circuits or HIIT workouts, too. 
Our main complaints are that it tends to mark easily and the stickiness doesn’t last very long. It’s sweat absorbent to an extent, but not compatible with hot yoga. The plus side is that it’s latex-free and comes with Gaiam’s lifetime guarantee.
Best yoga mats: image shows Alo yoga warrior mat
Yoga wear brand Alo makes mats as beautiful as their clothes but does the Alo Yoga Warrior Mat deliver on performance? 
This mat is often ranked top of ‘the best yoga mat’ lists with reviewers praising it for being high quality with a premium look and feel. Customers also appreciated that the Alo Yoga Warrior Mat has an incredible grip, is made from ethically sourced rubber and is extra long. Less favorable reviews said the mat was quite expensive, too heavy and picked up dirt easily. 
We have to say that, despite being one of the most expensive out there, this is one of the best yoga mats you can buy. It looks and feels luxurious and is made with non-toxic ethically sourced rubber, which gives it an excellent grip.
It has an extended length (75” / 6.2ft) and the thickness (5mm) means that it’s super durable and comfortable. We found it extremely hard-working during our hot yoga sessions, as the moisture-wicking material helps it keep its grip.
This yoga mat comes in a bold array of colorways and has a matte finish that gives it a premium feel. An added bonus is that when you buy the Alo Yoga Warrior Mat you get a free 30-day trial of Alo Moves, which gives you access to unlimited yoga, fitness and meditation classes led by their pro instructors.
best yoga mats: image shows Manduka Pro Yoga Mat
Skin-safe and OEKO-TEX certified (free from hazardous chemicals), the Manduka Pro Yoga Mat is a favourite of yoga teachers and called pro for good reason.
The Manduka pro scores 4.5 out of five stars on Amazon, with 86% of reviews giving the mat the full five stars. Customers raved about the padding and the fact that the yoga mat is heavy and stable, allowing people to feel secure when in balance poses. However some negative reviews claimed the mat was too slippy, with many people saying it was very hard to break in and not suitable for hot yoga.
Its ultra thick 6mm cushioning provides excellent support and stability, while it’s still firm enough underfoot for tree/balance poses. The dot pattern keeps the mat steady on any surface and the textured top layer means you can flow between moves without sticking to the mat.
Admittedly, this mat needs a bit of breaking in and it’s recommended to use a sea salt scrub to speed up the process. Each mat is handmade and is made from closed-cell material, which seals out moisture and bacteria, keeping mold and mildew at bay.
We love that it comes in two sizes – standard and extra long, so taller people can enjoy not hanging off the mat for once (but word to the wise: the bigger mat may take up valuable space in smaller yoga studios, which might prove unpopular!).
best yoga mats: image shows Heathyoga TPE Body Alignment System Yoga Mat
New to yoga? The Heathyoga TPE Body Alignment System Yoga Mat is a solid choice because it comes with marks for hands and feet placement. 
This yoga mat gets a lot of love of Amazon – 4.6 out of five stars and 77% of users gave it the full five stars. Reviewers praised the grip, cushioning and non-slip surface, while many also appreciated the alignment guide on the mat, which helped people get into the right positions. Negative reviews cited issues with the initial rubbery odor of the mat when you first open it. Some users claimed the mat lost its grip after a few months, too.
This is really helpful for newcomers to yoga, as you can work on correct technique and positioning with less risk of injury.
It’s slip resistant, easy to clean and stays nice and flat once it’s unrolled. It’s thick enough to do prolonged yin practice poses with comfort and has excellent grip, even in hot yoga classes. We love how durable it is, with just the right amount of cushioning for standing poses. 
Longer and wider than standard yoga mats, the Heathyoga TPE Body Alignment System Yoga Mat comes with a free Velcro strap and carrying strap
best yoga mats: image shows Manduka EKO Superlite Yoga Travel Mat
Going on vacation? You need the Manduka Eko Superlite Yoga Mat in your life! 
This lightweight travel mat gets an impressive 4.5 stars out of five on Amazon, with 76% giving it the full five stars. Customers love how portable and sticky it is. They also praised how foldable it was and the fact that it didn’t weigh much. Negative reviews state that because it’s thin, it can be uncomfortable on the knees. There were also lots of comments on the odor of the mat.
Easy to fold or roll, this eco-friendly, lightweight mat has superb grip and is versatile for all types of yoga practice.
As it’s a travel yoga mat, it’s very thin (1.5mm) but you can always put it on top of a thicker mat in a yoga studio. It has a tightly woven scrim that resists tearing or scratching, and a good grip considering how thin it is.
It’s made from sustainably harvester tree rubber (so expect a rubbery odor at first), without PVC or harmful dyes and is 99% latex free. It folds and rolls away easily into luggage and is a great investment for people who love traveling.
best yoga mats: Yogi Bare Paws Extreme Grip Yoga Mat
The Yogi Bare Paws Extreme Grip Yoga Mat is famous for its non-slip tech and made from eco-friendly natural rubber and PU, meaning you can stay in poses for longer.
This mat gets 4.8 out of five stars on Amazon, with 87% of reviewers giving it the full five stars. Customers liked that it had premium features, including the “perfect thickness’. It gets praise for being non-slip and a good size, particularly if you are tall. Reviewers also appreciated that it comes with alignment marks. Negative reviews cited problems with the grip lessening after a few months, that it showed up water and grease and had an initial rubbery odor.
 From a simple downward dog to more dynamic moves such as crow and fallen star, this mat keeps you in place regardless of how much you’re sweating.
At 4mm thick, the Yogi Bare Paws Extreme Grip Yoga Mat is as good for vinyasa flow and hot yoga as it is for more strenuous HIIT and circuit workouts, but if you’re worried about your knees you might want a slighter thicker mat. We used it on wooden floorboards, and it stayed put. However, there was a bit of movement when used on carpet – but nothing compared with cheaper mats. That said, it did pick up a lot of fluff and dirt from the floor.
It’s easy to clean (warm water with lemon juice works well) and comes with laser etched alignment guides on the mat to help you get into position. It’s made from vegan-friendly rubber with water-based dyes, so won’t cost the earth.
Best yoga Mats: image shows With Every Atom Cork Yoga Mat
The With Every Atom Cork Yoga Mat is extra large so it’s a great option for taller people.
This yoga mat gets lots of praise for how it looks and feels. One reviewer on TrustPilot said: “It’s the ultimate in yoga luxury.” Many users like that the eco-friendly mat was made from sustainable resources and had antibacterial properties. Negative reviews cited problems with the mat getting easily marked and stained, particularly with sweat.
It’s made from naturally grippy rubber and moisture wicking cork, so the grip actually improves the more you sweat. It’s a great choice for all styles of yoga, including Ashtanga, Hatha, hot yoga and other floor-based workouts.
It’s fairly lightweight and not too thick yet supportive and comfortable enough for daily practice. We love that the With Every Atom Cork Yoga Mat is vegan-friendly and made from sustainably sourced, natural and recycled materials. 
Cork is naturally antimicrobial and hypoallergenic, so it’s also low maintenance. It tends to mark easily, but is easy to clean. Plus, when you buy an Every Atom Cork Yoga Mat the brand plants a tree. The only downside is that this yoga mat only comes in one color.
So which is the best yoga mat for you? And what should you look for when you are deciding how to choose a yoga mat?
One of the first things to consider is what types of yoga you’ll be doing. Are you going to be spending a lot of time sweating in a hot yoga class? If the answer is yes, then the best yoga mats for you to buy are ones that have an antimicrobial layer or sweat-wicking properties.
Meanwhile, if you prefer enjoying the benefits of yoga in a studio, then you’ll want a relatively lightweight one that you can transport to your classes. The same advice goes for people who like to do yoga on vacation – you should look for a portable travel yoga mat that folds easily into your luggage.
If you’re on the taller side, you might want to invest in an extra long yoga mat so you’re not hanging off the end – considering that many people practice yoga to fix posture, a yoga mat that doesn’t suit your size might be counterintuitive! However, bear in mind that this might not win you any friends at your local yoga studio if you’re taking up extra space with an oversized mat!
Thicker mats are better for therapeutic practices so if restorative yoga is your favorite, then you’ll want to buy one that has more cushioning. For daily practice to improve your flexibility, make sure you opt for a well-designed, high quality mat. You can even buy yoga mats with alignment marks etched into them to help with technique and form.
The amount of grip your yoga mat has is also key – you’ll want to look for a mat with a good amount of traction in order to practice the balance poses without slipping. Meanwhile, price will also be a factor when deciding which yoga mat is best for you, so shop around to find something that meets your needs and budget.
If you’re unsure where to buy your yoga mat from, we’ve rounded up the best models available to help you out. Very premium and well-known brands like Lululemon and Sweaty Betty do live up to the hype, but you can get a perfectly good mat for everyday use at Gaiam, for example.
Alo Yoga also comes up trumps, with excellent quality, hard-working yoga mats to suit all practices. They have earned a trusted reputation for creating durable yoga mats that last a lifetime. Both companies also sell highly desirable, premium workout clothes. 
You can pick up some amazing yoga mat deals and discounts from places like Amazon, Bestbuy, Target and Walmart, but be careful about paying too little and thinking you’ve found a bargain. Cheap yoga mats are cheap for a reason – they might save you money, but they will have a short lifespan and most likely provide poor grip, meaning you are at more risk of injury. Cheaper mats are best for infrequent use, rather than yogis who use them every day.

• Read more: Six yoga myths debunked
If you are looking to buy an eco-friendly mat, then keep your eyes out for sustainable brands Manduka, Heathyoga, With Every Atom and Yogi Bare Paws. Many of these mats are made with natural rubber, but they still contain some latex so these products aren’t suitable for anyone with allergies.
Yoga teacher Ro Grogan says, “I really rate a cork mat from somewhere like Cork Space – it’s sustainable, natural and grounding. Everyone is different, but you want a yoga mat that suits you visually. A bit like our clothes, your mat should spark joy.”
People who love to attend yoga classes or go on holiday with their mat should look to invest in a yoga mat from JadeYoga or Gaiam. Both brands make excellent lightweight travel mats that are easy to fold and pack.
Maddy is a freelance journalist specializing in fitness, health and wellbeing content. She has been a writer and editor for 22 years, and has worked for some of the UK’s bestselling newspapers and women’s magazines, including Marie Claire, The Sunday Times and Women’s Health. Maddy loves HIIT training and can often be found working out while her two young daughters do matching burpees or star jumps. As a massive foodie, she loves cooking and trying out new healthy recipes (especially ones with hidden vegetables so the kids eat them). Maddy is currently completing a diploma in Level 3 personal training and can’t wait to help other busy mums like her feel energized and confident in how they look and feel. 
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