How to Choose the Right Yoga Mat & A Ton of Options to Choose From
Choosing the right yoga mat is very dependent on what your needs are as a yogi. There are so many options on the market ranging in price from $15 to $150. It’s a smart idea to assess your needs and pick a mat that will best accommodate you. It’s a lot like owning a car, you want to make sure you love driving it, have a place to park it, know if you are taking many trips with it or just using it occasionally, and what the weather is like where you drive. Also take in to consideration whether you’re an expert driver or a first time car owner and if you want something that’s built to last or just something that will do for a short period.
Brand New to Yoga: You might want to invest in a kit that includes a mat, strap, block and beginner’s yoga DVD. I recommend looking at Gaiam’s for $29.98 or PurAthletics beginner’s yoga mat kit at $29.99. You’re not making too much of an investment and you’ll have all of the tools you need to get started. If you really want to save $ and just test the waters first look at my economical suggestion.
Economical: If you want something that is inexpensive yet really does the job, I recommend C9’s Classic Grip Yoga Mat at Target. The mat is only $12.99 and is a durable and a great value.
Practice in the Heat: If you are a fan of Bikram yoga or Hot yoga classes, you want to invest in a skidless yoga mat towel. Yogitoes makes awesome yoga mat towes in all sorts of colors and fun designs for $68. You can use the towel alone or place it over a sticky mat if you want the extra support underneath. They are also easy to travel with since you can roll it up and put it in your suitcase.
Need Something to Travel With: If you’re a yogi who always brings their own mat with them to class or on trips and retreats, check out Manduka’s PROlite mat. The PROlite is super lightweight has a non-slip fabric like surface, and comes in two lengths: 71” for $78 and 79” for $88.
Tend to have Sweaty Hands and Feet: If you tend to build up a good sweat when you practice and find your hands slipping on the mat, you must get the Sequence STILLMOTION mat. The unique grip zones with rubber cushions at the front and back of the mat make sure you never slip slide away when practicing. The $120 mat comes with a free yoga mat bag and free shipping.
Best Mat for Storage: My yoga client Bethenny Frankel invented an awesome yoga mat that folds up in to a tiny square, it’s super easy to store and great for those of us with limited space. The Skinnygirl workout folding yoga mat only costs $24 on Amazon and comes with a great little tote as well.
Want a Great Home Practice Mat: Kharma Khare is an incredible yoga mat and ideal if you are a dedicated yoga practitioner with a home practice. Kharma Khare mats weigh 8 lbs. are 72” long and durable as can be. The eco friendly mats are made from recyclable tires and come with a lifetime guarantee. The Kharma Khare is built to last; but can also be traded in if you feel you need a new one at some point for a new ½ price mat. I love Kharma Khare’s philosophy and the causes the non- toxic sticky mat supports. $145 may seem steep, but the mat is well worth it!
Have Tender Joints: Tomuno claims to make the “Best Yoga Mat Ever”. It is a good mat that is environmentally friendly and non-slip; but I think this is the best mat as far as cushion goes. It just has the right amount of padding without being too thick or firm. If you have sensitive joints, you might consider buying this mat. The mat is $69.99 but has a guarantee and the customer service is supposedly great.
Environmentally Friendly: If one of your main concerns is buying a mat that is environmentally friendly, Jade is the way to go. Jade yoga mats are made sustainably in the United States and contain no PVC or synthetic rubber. When you buy a Jade yoga mat, they plant a tree. Jade also has a reuse and recyclable program so you can donate your used mat once you’re ready to buy a new one. They’re priced from $69.95 to $119.
For the Creative Yogi: Yogamatic sells mats in over 100 different designs and also let’s you customize your own. The mats are $79-$89 and are fun gifts to give to your yogi friends. I love Yeah Dave’s limited edition Chocolate Bar mat!
Stickler for Alignment: Annie Appleby created the YogaForce A-Line mat, $85, to help yogi’s find perfect alignment. The cushiony mat tapers at the end for the feet and has a grid so practitioners can track their hands and feet.
No matter what mat you choose, it’s important to take good care of it. If you store it properly and clean it regularly, you’ll have a sticky mat that will stick with you for many years. And if you need a great mat bag for traveling with you should check out Hot Dog Yoga. The yoga mat bag now comes in a new amethyst color and all of my friends can receive 25% off their order when they enter BENDIGIRL.
Kristin McGee is a celebrity yoga and Pilates instructor in New York City. She is the star of over 100 videos, a contributing editor at Health Magazine and a spokeswoman for many brands and causes she believes in. Kristin also appears frequently on television. A proud mom to three, she sure keeps herself busy!