What type of yoga mat should I get?
One of our favorite frequently asked questions (FFAQ): What kind of yoga mat should I get?
You could ask a room of 30 yogis this question and you’ll get 30 different answers 😅
When deciding what type of yoga mat you should get, keep these principles in mind:
- There are many different types of yoga, and certain mats are better for certain styles of yoga. A mat that is great for a “Hot 26” class might not be great for a Power Vinyasa class.
- You get what you pay for
- Your ability to enter a state of flow will be hindered if you are constantly sliding around or having to adjust your mat
- A yoga mat is pretty much the only equipment you really need as a yogi, like a good pair of running shoes, you want to invest where it matters.
Now let’s compare some types of mats:
BASIC CHEAPO YOGA MAT ($10-20):
While these mats might be great for the budget, you will find that it isn’t very grippy (especially once the sweat starts pouring off your body), it slides around on the floor, and after a couple of uses, they will start to shed little rubber flakes everywhere. Resist the temptation to save a buck and pass on these.
MID-LEVEL YOGA MAT ($40-50):
You’ll find some durable, plush, stickier mats when you increase your budget. This is where I would suggest you begin your yoga journey. Depending on usage, you may get a few years out of it. You may need a yoga towel to help with the sweat, and you’ll know it’s time to upgrade when it starts to shed.
LULULEMON REVERSIBLE “THE MAT” ($78-90):
This is one of the two types of yoga mats we sell at our yoga studio because they are great for a heated power vinyasa practice. They are super grippy right out of the packaging and they soak up sweat immediately so you don’t spend the whole class sliding around. The price point is tolerable but be warned: These mats lose their stickiness over time and will need to be replaced every 1-3 years depending on how they are used. By the way, do not wipe these mats down with your lavender towel after class: The oil in the towel will break down the special surface on the mat and it will lose its grippiness faster.
MANDUKA PRO OR PROLITE MATS ($100-150):
The other type of mat we carry, and my personal fav (Cat), the Manduka is the priciest for a reason. They have a lifetime warranty and they only get better with age. My first Manduka ProLite is still kicking after 12 years of heavy use! The downside is that they take a while to break in (they are pretty slick when brand new), and for a really sweaty class, a mat towel may be needed, and some people don’t like having to deal with a towel. By the way, we carry these mats in extra long for our tall friends!
YOGA MAT TOWELS ($40-50)
As mentioned above, a yoga mat towel can be helpful if:
your mat is lower quality and feels pretty slippery
you identify as a heavy sweater, and/or
the class you’re taking is extra hot.
These towels are yoga mat sized and lay directly on top of your mat, and they are specially formulated to actually be grippy when wet. I’m going to say that again, louder for the people in the back: These towels get grippy when wet. When they are dry, they slip and slide worse than a wet mat! If you use a mat towel to accompany your practice, I recommend keeping it folded at the top of your mat until the moisture from your hands/body makes you slip and slide. Or, drizzle some of the water from your water bottle onto the top and back of the mat (think where your hands and feet would go in downward-facing dog).
Still not sure?
Clear as mud, right? When in doubt, give a mat a test run. We offer Manduka mats, lululemon mats, and mat towels as rentals ($3 each) so you can give them each a try at the studio.
What type of yoga mat do you prefer for a heated vinyasa flow yoga class? Tell us why you love it in the comments below!