It's true that the saying, "all the gear and no idea", certainly has its place; but there are some situations where having the right equipment is just as important as the training. One such exercise is the art of yoga. Proven to be highly beneficial during times of stress, over the last year, more and more people have begun adopting this ancient artform – particularly in the comfort of their own homes. Haven't quite joined the crowd but interest in making a start? Our list of the best yoga mats will certainly point you in the right direction.
Resident yogi and RUSSH's market editor, Angel Jhang, tells me that while it might be tempting to choose the first mat the pops up in your Google search, it's important to dig a little deeper; as each mat serves a different purpose.
"I would always say be careful – these days it's worth investing in a little more money for a good mat. Obviously, this depends on how often you use it; but a slippery mat with bad grip can lead to dire accidents."
It's also important to consider the type of yoga you're looking to practice; whether you require extra joint support; or if you're trying to finesse your alignment techniques. No matter your needs – even if you are making a selection based on aesthetics – here are 10 of the best yoga mats to suit all yogis.
As far as good quality, all-around yoga mats go, you would be hard-pressed to find one better than the Manduka Prolite Yoga Mat. The mat is a medium thickness which provides ample support, stability and joint protection; while still being thin enough to be light and easy to cart around. The mat is made with a closed-cell material, which seals out moisture and bacteria. If you're someone who moves between traditional snd bikram yoga, then the Manduka Prolite Yoga Mat provides better grip for a non-slip experience. The brand also has a lifetime guarantee, so you can feel confident in knowing that your mat is designed to last.
The Heathyoga TPE Body Alignment Mat is perfectly designed for beginner yoga lovers. The mat is fitted with body alignment lines which offer guidance for those still working on their movement placement. The Heathyoga mat is also non-slip and odourless, while still offering a desirable amount of cushioning. You'll also find that the double-layer structure design helps significantly with grip; meaning that this mat is suitable for all types of yoga.
JadeYoga mats are particularly good for hot yoga, as the advanced level of grip can withstand even the warmest of climates. They are also less clunky in thickness but don't compromise on comfort or stability. The JadeYoga Harmony Mat is also made sustainably from natural rubber tapped from rubber trees; which is a renewable resource.
Whether you're practicing yoga on a hardwood floor, or simply want to be more conscious of the impact on your muscles and joints, a thicker, more cushioned mat like the ProsourceFit Extra Thick Yoga Mat is the way to go. The mat is made from high-density foam and is a thickness of 1/2" – which is comparatively thicker than most other mats. Not only does the extra padding provide comfort, but the non-slip surface also allows for greater stability.
If you're the type of yogi who is always on the go, you'll certainly need a compact mat that can keep up with your travelling lifestyle. Enter the Yoga Design Lab Combo Yoga Mat – a supremely light-weight companion that can fit in almost any suitcase or bag, the mat is also extremely absorbent; featuring a microfiber towel top layer, bonded to a natural tree rubber base, which is a great sweat barrier for when you're travelling.
The Create Flow Mukti Grounded Yoga Mat has become renowned for its environmentally-friendly properties. Designed here in Australia, this reversible mat is a great option for all skill levels – beginners, teachers and masters of the craft. The mat is crafted from a blend of supple natural tree rubber and natural jute fibres. The layer of natural tree rubber provides a non-slip, moisture absorbent material, where the jute fibres are great for an edgy grip. The entire mat is biodegradable and is made with durable, easy-to-care-for materials that are ideal for the Australian climate and way of life.
We'd be lying if we said we haven't at least once bought a piece of workout equipment for its aesthetics. In the way of yoga mats, this Jil Sander one is incomparable. Minimalist, timeless and chic in its design, this is the yoga mat you take on a tropical retreat. Unlike the other mats on this list, this Jil Sander one is actually made from a jute-rubber blend – which is both great for grip and for absorbing sweat as it is a natural fibre. See, there's more than meets the eye.
One of the biggest names in the yoga world is the Lifeorme Yoga Mat. The mats have become internationally regarded for their intelligently designed alignment mats, which is based on the brand's innovative AlignForMe system. The mat is also longer and wider, so for yogi's just starting out, the extra space gives you more freedom to understand how your body should move and where it should be placed. If sustainability is also one of your concerns, the mat is PVC-free, biodegradable in one-five years in normal landfill conditions and made using high-quality non-toxic materials. The Liforme Yoga Mat is also designed with the GripForMe material, which is known to retain its grip even under the sweatiest of circumstances.
Many may not know this, but not all yoga mats can survive the great outdoors. Some, for example, may not be as resistant to water as others, and some types of rubbers cannot withstand the sun. The Alo Yoga Warrior Mat, however, thrives in the great outdoors. The mat is perfectly cushioned for joint support – which is important if you're training on unusual terrain – anti-odour, dry-wicking and slip-free, wet or dry.
For the taller yogis out there or those who are wanted to spread out along their mat, it's recommended to find one that gives you some extra wriggle room – like this Yoga Hustle Mat. Slightly longer and wider than your normal yoga mat, (185cm x 68cm), this is not only one of the best extra-long yoga mats, but it it is also made from 100% recyclable materials and is suitable for all types of yoga including hot yoga.