It’s a question I got asked a lot before becoming a yoga teacher, but now even more so – that question of course being ‘which yoga mat would you recommend’?
So…in a slight aside from my usual blog post, I thought it worth documenting my thoughts – an easy reference guide for my students, but also handy for anyone else who stumbles along. Note I’ve only referenced mats I have personal experience of so the list is far from exhaustive! There are hundreds of different mats out there, and I don’t have the luxury of knowing them all, so to be clear this isn’t to say all the rest aren’t any good – just that these are the best I know.
Starting at the top then…
The Yogamatters Sticky Yoga Mat is great value but good quality – which is why it’s often the one you’ll find at your local yoga studio. Available in a large range of colours (stock changes fairly frequently so worth an ask if the colour you had your eye on isn’t available) it’s thick enough and has a bit of grip to it too.
Price at time of writing: £20
Another budget option – and another studio fave
Offering an alternative to the above mat is Yoga Mad’s Studio Pro Mat – just marginally more expensive, and in a different range of colours. Again you’ll find plenty of studios kitted out with this mat so if you’re starting out it’s a safe (and sturdy) choice. Plus, as with the first option it’s machine washable – so easy to clean!
Price at time of writing: £29.99
If you’re after a mat that feels more cushioned but are still on a budget, this Yoga Mad Evolution Mat might be a better option. It’s still a 4mm mat but will feel springier due to the different material and, in many ways, is more akin to the Sweaty Betty Eco Yoga Mat listed later on. It comes with a carry string so is easy to transport around too (and if you need more ‘spring’ again there’s always a – more expensive – 6mm version too).
Price at time of writing: £34.99
A super grippy option – probably only if you have a problem with slipping
One of my students recently bought the Sweaty Betty Super Grip Mat and, as you might expect, it is seriously grippy! It’s not something I’d recommend to most students as the level of ‘stick’ will probably be too strong. But, if you find you have a tendency to slip out of your down dog no matter what you try, you might want to give this one a shot. And of course, it looks pretty smart too ;)
Price at time of writing: £65
Another grippy one – used by my beautiful friend elladoesyoga
The Yoga Mad Tree Mat is comfortable and spongy and, though not nearly as sticky as the previous option, it is very grippy (due to what they call ‘abrasion resistance’). It is a natural rubber mat, so there might be a slight odour to it on first use but I’d expect that to fade quite quickly. One thing you should note though is that the rubber used has the same origins as latex so it’s not for you if you’re allergic!
Price at time of writing: £57.49
I see students and teachers alike using Kat Pither’s Yogi Bare mats and while I’ve never used one myself I do hear good things. The original mat is grippy and padded at 4mm thick, and while perhaps on the heavy side at 2.5kg it’ll likely be very comfortable to practice on. There’s also a travel alternative, with a velvety covering. These are much thinner at 2mm, but lighter too – just 1.5kg.
Weight (standard mat): 2.5kg
Price at time of writing (standard mat): £56.95
Another Sweaty Betty listing for you. This one, their Eco Yoga Mat, is my old mat and one that I really, really loved. It lasts an age, is super comfy to practise on and has two sides to choose from in terms of grip. It’s pretty light which is a bonus for carrying to class and last time I looked there were two colour variations – what more could you want! Highly recommend this one…
Price at time of writing: £40
I discovered this Planet Sadhana PS Pro Lite while on a training workshop at Islington’s The Life Centre. Hard-wearing and firm but cushioned too it’s a great option for the list. As with the Mandukas that follow it will get better with use – so the more frequently you practise the better (and more quickly) this mat will work for you.
Price at time of writing: £45
If you’re after a mat to carry around I can assure you the Manduka Pro isn’t the one! It’s weighs a tonne (ok more accurately 3.4kg) and is in no way portable. But…it’s my long-tested, trusted and loved home mat so it had to make the list. Firm but comfortable, sticky but cushioned, and slightly larger than your normal mat it’s a lifetime mat and rolling it out each morning is a joy. If you’re after something that you’ll keep at home in a convenient spot I do like this a lot.
Price at time of writing: £84
There is a lighter version of the Manduka Pro – the Manduka Prolite. At 1.4kg it’s a fraction of the weight and most definitely is portable. It’s got all the same characteristics as the heavier version but is slightly smaller (you lose 5cm on the width – back to standard mat size) but if you’re a Manduka fan it’s a good option. I’m not as in love with this version as I am the Pro but I do have two of these at the moment that I use in 121s, and I’ve also seen at least one of my group class students with one too. Just like the Planet Sadhana mat and Manduka Pro it will need wearing in.
Price at time of writing: £60
Carrying your mat
Of course now you have a mat, you need an easy way to carry it! The simplest option is a basic two-loop carry strap – like this Yoga Mat Strap from Yogamatters (which at just £4.50 is an absolute bargain) – though if you want to get a bit snazzier you’ve also got something like this Tantra Mat Holder by prAna (currently £18). If you’d rather a bag though there’s a whole range – from Yogamatters again, or any other yoga retailer.
There we are then – my current mat recommendations! If anything changes I’ll come back and update the post but otherwise, feel free to get in touch if you have any questions – or a mat you’d like me to take a look at ;)