Whether you’re a beginner to the mat, or you’re an experienced yogi well-versed in a range of yoga practice styles, having the right mat for you is so important to ensure you’re getting the most out of your yoga journey.
In this guide, we answer some of the most commonly asked questions about yoga mats, as well as providing details about a range of yoga mat types, their properties and benefits, and which styles of yoga they’re most suited to. We’ve also hand-selected some of our favourite yoga mats for 2022 (and beyond), to help you decide which is the best for you and your practice.
What should I look for when buying a yoga mat?
What you should look for when buying a yoga mat depends on a number of factors. These may include, but are certainly not limited to:
- your style of practice
- how much grip you prefer
- whether you have any ailments such as knee, wrist or ankle issues
- how much room you have to store your yoga mat
- how important portability is to you
- whether you prefer natural, environmentally friendly materials or PVC
- price range
What is the best thickness for a yoga mat in mm?
When it comes to the thickness of your mat, there really is no ‘best’, it all simply depends on what you will use the mat for. A thicker yoga mat is best for those who have sensitive knees and joints, as they provide more cushioning and support when in certain poses, such as Bharmanasana (table pose) or Anjaneyasana (crescent lunge).
However, if your practice features a lot of balance work, then you may wish to opt for a thinner mat, as you can feel a stronger connection to the floor in poses such as Vrksasana (tree pose) or Ardha Chandrasana (half moon pose).
Is a 3mm or 5mm yoga mat better?
As mentioned above, the thickness of your mat depends on your personal preferences. A 3mm mat will be better for balance and strengthening yoga styles, whereas a thicker mat may be preferable for more restorative yoga styles.
Consider portability also, a thicker 5mm mat will be a little bulkier to carry around, whereas a thinner 3mm mat will be a little lighter and more compact.
The yogamatters mat buying guide
Best yoga mats for beginners
If you’re just beginning your yoga journey, then you may wish to consider a yoga mat that would be suitable for a multitude of yoga styles, while you explore and discover your favoured yoga practice.
Our favourite all-rounder mat is the iconic Yogamatters Sticky Yoga Mat. Found in studios across the world, this one is a favourite among teachers and students alike.
Known for its durable, long-lasting properties, this mat wears-in with use and gets grippier each time you step onto the mat. Ideal for Vinyasa Flow and Ashtanga practices, the Sticky Mat offers a good amount of cushioning, while still being thin enough to keep you steady when balancing. It’s made from non-toxic, high grade PVC that is free of phthalates and latex, so you can rest your head on your mat safe in the knowledge that there are no harmful chemicals present. Weighing just 1.4kg, it’s lightweight and easily transportable for taking between classes and it’s easy-clean too. You can shop the Yogamatters Sticky Yoga Mat in a large variety of colours to suit you, and you can match your mat with our wide range of coordinating Yogamatters yoga props too.
Best yoga mats for hot yoga
As you move through asanas in an environment that can be heated anywhere from 32°C up to 40°C, you’re likely to get a little bit sweaty and require extra grip. In addition to a good, grippy mat, we recommend a yoga towel when taking part in hot yoga. This can be placed over the top of your mat to protect your mat’s surface and provide additional grip, or you can keep it handy to wipe down in between postures.
One of our go-to yoga mats for hot yoga is the Manduka PROlite Yoga Mat.
Offering high performance and durability, this mat is the ideal choice for those who are looking for extra support and cushioning in a lightweight style. Why we love this mat for hot yoga however, is rooted in its closed-cell surface. This keeps moisture and sweat from seeping into the mat, preventing bacteria from building up and providing a clean surface every time you step onto the mat. You’ll also remain sturdy and grounded in hot yoga classes with this mat, with its exclusive dot-patterned bottom that prevents slipping and sliding. Weighing just 1.8kg with a thickness of 4.7mm, this mat is easily portable and can be used in a studio or for home-practice.
With incredible grip and great traction, this mat provides enough cushioning for seated, kneeling or lunging poses, as well as providing a sturdy surface when in standing postures. It’s crafted from natural rubber, meaning you won’t find any toxins in the Jade Yoga Harmony Mat, creating a safe and comfortable base for you to enjoy your hot yoga practice. It’s available in a variety of fun and soothing colours, and comes with the added bonus that for every mat sold, a new tree is planted. The Jade Yoga Harmony Mat is also easy to care for, simply wipe clean with a damp cloth after class and leave to dry somewhere sunny.
Once you’ve decided on the perfect mat for your hot yoga practice, pair it with The Grippy Yoga Mat Towel.
This super absorbent yoga mat towel is lined with non-toxic, silicone dots that grip deeply into your mat for a steady, slip-free hot yoga practice. Simply layer it over your mat and push down to secure the dots in place, or use alone by placing it directly on the floor. After your practice, roll, scrunch or fold it up and machine wash at 30°C to keep it fresh and clean for your next class. The Grippy Yoga Mat Towel comes in four beautiful colourways to enhance your practice and soothe the mind.
Best yoga mats for Vinyasa flow and Ashtanga yoga
While Vinyasa flow focuses on dynamic movement with creativity between each practice, Ashtanga follows a fixed sequence and order of postures rooted in the eight limbs of yoga. Both practices feature movement from posture to posture, incorporating the breath to aid these movements, and so while different in style, the qualities required from a yoga mat to enhance these practices are very similar. As these practices are dynamic and can be challenging, a mat with strong grip is best to ensure stability in your postures.
This beautifully designed mat from OHMat provides excellent grip, with anti-slip properties for a truly grounded practice. We love this mat because it’s instantly grippy, with no need to wear-in to see its benefits. It’s also crafted from eco-friendly and highly durable materials, meaning you’ll be able to step onto this mat for many, many practices to come. At 5mm thick, this mat provides a good level of cushioning and stability for your flow or Ashtanga practice.
Best yoga mats for Yin, Yoga Nidra and Restorative yoga
Whether you’re easing into a gentle and Restorative practice, or Yin Yoga practice, or exploring a meditative practice such as yoga nidra (yogic sleep), a supportive, comfortable yoga mat is key to getting the most from your journey. Therefore, we’d recommend a thicker mat that provides more cushioning, so you can settle into your practice for longer periods, undisturbed by discomfort. Additional props can also be helpful for a gentle practice and blankets and bolsters, in particular, work to help support your body as you release your weight.
At 5.5mm thick, this mat is one of our best-selling yoga mats with good reason. It has extra cushioning to protect and support your joints and is reversible to suit a range of yoga styles, making this yoga mat as versatile as it is supportive. It features a smooth side that is ideal for a gentle practice such as Yin, Nidra or Kundalini, and a dotted side that provides strong grip for more dynamic practices. This means, only one mat is required, saving you space, money and providing a sustainability mat alternative to see you through all types of practice.
Crafted from delicate, natural hemp to create a soft and sustainable collection of restorative yoga props, this kit offers yogis exceptional value and purposely includes everything you need to relax into your practice. The Yogamatters hemp buckwheat bolster can help support your body in various seated and lying asanas, along with the hemp and organic cotton blanket that can be used to wrap yourself up while in yogic sleep, or to support your sit bones when seated. The cork brick is a versatile prop that can be used to support your head during a Yin practice when holding postures for prolonged periods, but can also be used in more dynamic practices as an aid to balance and reach. Finally, the sensual hemp eye pillow can be placed over your eyes during meditation and savasana to help you reach a deeper state of relaxation.
Best travel yoga mats
For a yogi that loves to travel, the lighter a yoga mat is, the better. Ensuring your mat can be compactly stored away and is light enough to comfortably carry as you move around is key for travelling.
Weighing just 750 grams, with a depth of 1mm, this mat is as compact as it gets. It can be easily folded and placed into a backpack or carry-on suitcase, or can be rolled up and placed into a small yoga mat bag, making it the ideal option to take on your travels. Not only is it super lightweight, but it is also crafted from sustainably harvested natural tree rubber, which provides excellent grip, as well as being free from toxic chemicals and dyes. This mat is also recyclable and biodegradable, although we think you’ll love it so much you may hang on to it for a long time.
Best sustainable yoga mats
At Yogamatters, we understand the importance of sustainability and taking care of our beautiful planet. We do our best to hold sustainability at the heart of our core values and strive to ensure we provide a range of options that the eco-conscious yogi can be confident in.
Made from cork of oak trees, with a natural rubber base that is harvested from sustainable rubber farms, this cork yoga mat is a favourite among our eco-conscious yogis. Not only is this mat good to our planet, but the cork bark is also naturally antibacterial, so you can rest easily on your mat knowing that it is free from any nasties. At 4mm thick, this mat offers good cushioning and support without compromising stability in your asanas.
If you’re just beginning your yoga journey and hold sustainability high in your values, you may love our Eco Starter Yoga Kit. Each piece of equipment in this kit is crafted from sustainable or natural materials like natural rubber, cork and organic cotton, so you can enter your practice confident in the knowledge that your equipment hasn’t caused harm to the planet.
Best yoga mats for pregnancy yoga
Becoming pregnant doesn’t mean that your practice has to end, but instead be adapted to support and aid your blossoming body. Often during pregnancy, particularly in the later trimesters, gentle yoga can help to ease some of the discomfort, aches and pains that are common when your body is providing a home for your unborn baby. Much like in restorative yoga practices, we recommend a supportive mat with plenty of cushioning when taking part in pregnancy yoga.
We love the Revive Yoga Mat for pregnancy yoga because of its durability and strong grip, with 5mm thickness to offer comfort and cushioning. This supportive mat also weighs just 1.2kgs, so that it’s lightweight and easy to carry. It has a closed-cell surface which protects against bacteria build-up to keep you healthy during your pregnancy practice. This mat is also very versatile and can be used for a range of activities outside of yoga.
Best yoga mats for home yoga practice
When practising at home, you can afford for your mat to be a little thicker and heavier than one that you need to carry to a studio. We also think that having a little extra space on the mat can be helpful for a home practice, so that you can move more freely and create a dedicated space.
This mat can transform a room into a mini home studio, with plenty of space to practice inversions and transitions safely. You can also place plenty of props alongside you, so they’re easily within reach so that you can get deeper into your practice, undisturbed by searching for a misplaced piece of equipment. This mat is also very versatile and can be used for a wide range of fitness activities.
Shop all yoga mats and accessories at Yogamatters
Hopefully this guide has helped to shed some light on what kind of yoga mat is best for you and some of our personal recommendations on the best yoga mats for 2022 and beyond. If you require some further inspiration or guidance, then visit our Yoga Mat Buyer’s Guide, where you can select your level or style of yoga and browse through a range of yoga mats suited to this.