I’m so excited to chat yoga mats with you guys today. And not just yoga mats in general but the BEST yoga mats for everything from hot yoga to deep stretch to HIIT sessions to weight workouts and more.
Without question, the piece of exercise equipment that I utilize the most is my yoga mat. I don’t just use it for yoga practices but also for my strength workouts, core training, mobility work and stretching sessions. I roll my mat out for some reason or the other pretty much every day.
I think a high-quality yoga mat is a worthwhile investment. We’ve all used those exercise mats that are so squishy that you can’t really move around well on them, so flimsy that they don’t stay put where you lay them out and move all over the place or so poorly made that they start to crumble all over the floor. Not only are these issues frustrating and inconvenient but they also break the flow of your yoga practice or workout because you spend so much time distracted by your mat.
In my nearly 15 years of teaching group fitness and yoga I’ve tried a lot of different mats and let me tell you…getting a sturdy, well-made mat was a game-changer. Once I made that switch I never looked back.
THE BEST YOGA MATS FOR YOGA AND FITNESS
It can be hard to narrow down what the best yoga mat is for your needs. There’s a lot of selection and they can get pricy. Today I wanted to share some of my favorite yoga and workout mats with you in hopes that you find a high-quality mat that can help you take your yoga practice and sweat sessions to the next level!
All hail the Manduka Pro! This is by far my favorite mat for its durability alone. True story: I was gifted a Manduka Pro black mat in 2010 before I started yoga teacher training and just threw it away summer 2020 when I was moving into my new house…and there was nothing wrong with it! I just felt that the mat had a lot of history and it was time to retire it and start fresh. I literally used this mat for thousands of hot yoga practices and workout sessions. I had an emotional attachment to it and for many years no other mat felt like “my mat.”
What I love about the Manduka Pro 6mm:
- Thick and cushioned feel (without any squishiness). If you are practicing or working out on a hard surface, this mat is very supportive. I never feel like I need extra cushion under my knees or anything with this mat and it’s great for shock absorption if you’re doing a HIIT workout with jumping.
- Easy to clean and sterilize. I always felt like I could get my Manduka Pro super clean. It doesn’t have the absorbent finish that some of the mats that I am going to list below have. I could really scrub this one and it never held a smell. I would let it air dry outside from time to time to let the sunshine work its magic on my mat.
- Durable. As I mentioned above, this mat lasted me 10 years and thousands of practices/workouts without any wearing down or crumbling. It was still in prime condition when I retired it. The Manduka Pro actually comes with a lifetime guarantee and if your mat shows signs of wear and tear they will replace it!
- Stays in place. Once you lay out your Manduka Pro it does not go anywhere! It’s so heavy that it anchors down to whatever floor you roll it out on and doesn’t bunch or move…at all!
- Weight. Weighing 7.5 pounds, this is a heavy mat. If you tend to carry your mat around, walk to class or travel a lot, this might not be the mat for you.
- Price. This mat runs around $120 which is definitely in the high-end of yoga and fitness mats but remember…lifetime guarantee! How many of the $10-$15 cheap mats might you go through in 10 years?
- Grip when sweaty. The Manduka Pro is a super grippy mat unless you are practicing hot yoga or get super sweaty during a HIIT workout. In that case, I recommend a mat towel overlay to prevent of hands or bare feet.
You might also like:
- The Manduka PROLite. If you want the functionality and feel of a Manduka Pro with a little less weight, the PROLite might be just the thing for you. I keep one in Florida at my grandmother’s condo for yoga practices and workouts when I’m visiting and it definitely gets the job done! This mat is 4.7mm thick and weighs 4 pounds.
- YogiToes Mat Towel – if you use a Manduka Pro and you practice hot yoga or do a lot of sweaty strength workouts I recommend using a YogiToes mat towel over your mat to help prevent slipping.
To be honest, while I almost exclusively practice and workout in lululemon apparel, I was not a fan of their yoga mats for many years because they had an off-putting odor when first used and would not stay in place on the floor. I’m not sure when they changed the construction of their mats but I bought The Reversible Mat 5mm last fall when I was out of town and needing a mat to teach a virtual class and it’s become a favorite!
What I love about The Reversible Mat 5mm:
- Super grippy during hot yoga or sweaty workouts. I have never used a mat towel with this mat. This mat actually has a polyurethane top layer that absorbs moisture to help with grip.
- Cushioned feel. While this mat is not quite as thick as the 6mm Manduka Pro, it’s still plenty thick and cushioned and I don’t get that feeling of the hard floor underneath me when I’m on it.
- Antimicrobial additive that helps prevent the mat from getting mold and mildew.
- Stays put. In the past I always found that lululemon mats bunched together in the middle while practicing but this one stays put. Note, while this is a reversible mat I always practice with the grippier/rubbery side down and the smooth side up. I think that helps with the movement.
- Pretty design. There are currently nine colors and designs to choose from.
- Due to the polyurethane non-slip top layer, there is a smell that needs to air out when you first purchase this mat. I can assure you that it completely goes away in a few days.
- Lighter colors might show stains.
- Slow to fully dry. Because this mat is so absorbent, it can take a while to fully dry after a hot yoga practice or sweaty workout.
- Not quite as durable. I’ve been using this mat consistently for about six months and I’m seeing some minor signs of wear and tear. That said, it’s nothing super noticeable and lululemon does stand behind their products and will usually replace things no questions asked if you do have quality issues.
You might also like:
- The Reversible Mat 3mm. If you’re looking for a lighter, thinner, more travel-friendly mat…consider the 3mm version of The Reversible Mat.
- The Stow and Flow Mat Strap. This adjustable yoga mat strap comes with a zippered side pocket for your pre- and post-practice essentials.
A few years ago Manduka introduced their own nonslip hot yoga mat to the market (presumably to compete with the lululemon mats) and I was an early adopter of the GRP Hot Yoga Mat. I bought one right when we got them in the studio at VIDA and used it regularly for about two years. I loved this mat but did have some issues after a couple of years of use with it starting to peel a bit in some heavily trafficked spots like where my feet go at the back of the mat. That said, I plan to get another one because I liked it so much and hopefully they’ve corrected this problem. The problem might have also been how I was cleaning it because I was new to the world of nonslip mats and they have different care needs than traditional mats.
What I love about the Manduka GRP Hot Yoga Mat:
- ZERO SLIPPAGE! I really do not love to use a mat towel over my mat for hot yoga practices (one more thing to wash, remember to bring with you and they do tend to get a little funky/smelly after a while). This mat is so super grippy and I never felt like I needed a mat towel when I used it for the hottest yoga classes and sweatiest strength sessions.
- Same thick and cushioned feel that I get with the Manduka Pro. This is also a 6mm mat and it’s wonderful to practice on. Also, it only weighs 5.5 pounds so 2 pounds less than the Pro but with the same thickness.
- High quality surface feel with a leather-like top layer that feels good on your hands.
- Charcoal-infused rubber core to absorb sweat and eliminate odor.
- Similar to the lululemon mat, there is a strong odor when you first roll out this mat. It does go away with time.
- I experienced some peeling in heavily used areas of my mat.
- No lifetime guarantee like you get with the Manduka Pro.
You might also like:
- The GRP Lite Mat. Coming in at 4mm this is a lightweight and travel-friendly version of the GRP.
- Yoga Mat Wash and Refresh. This cleaner is specifically made for yoga mats including the GRP. It uses 100% naturally derived ingredients and is formulated to keep your yoga mat smelling fresh and free from surface dirt and stains.
In full disclosure I have never owned or practiced on a Lifeforme mat but they are popular in some of the studios that I work for and I’m seeing more and more yogis with Lifeforme mats. This is another non-slip mat that has a few other cool features that I’m going to share below.
What I love about the Lifeforme Yoga Mat:
- Features “GripForMe” material that prevents slippage during hot yoga flows and sweaty workouts.
- This mat features a unique AlignForMe system of practical alignment markers designed for bodies of all shapes and sizes.
- This mat is a few inches longer and wider than traditional mats to give you a little more space.
- Complimentary yoga mat bag is included.
- Eco-conscious. All Lifeforme mats are PVC-free. This mat is biodegradable in 1-5 years in normal landfill conditions. They use naturally sourced sustainable rubber for the bulk of the mat. An innovative heat-bonding process to bind the top and base layer together eliminates the need for toxic glues.
- At 4.5mm the Lifeforme mat is a little thinner than the 6mm Manduka Pro Mat and 5mm lululemon Reversible Mat.
- Can also be slow to dry.
- At $140 it’s the most expensive mat included in this roundup. That being said, it does seem like they go on sale sometimes. There’s currently a 20% discount for Earth Day.
You might also like:
- The Lifeforme Blue Sky Rainbow Mat. If you’re looking for a pop of color and a fun design on your yoga mat, this mat features a bold rainbow variation of Lifeforme’s signature alignment system.
- The Lifeforme Yoga Pad. This mini mat packs up super small to provide the comfort, stability, and grip you need wherever you go.
I have not owned the B Mat but I have practiced on it. It’s a popular mat choice at Charlotte Yoga and also at Studio B Power Yoga. This mat has a very different feel than any other mat I’ve listed here. The B Mat is another mat designed for non-slip functionality but it actually feels grippy under your hands where the other mats listed above feel more grippy once you get sweaty. I don’t necessarily think one feel is better than the other. It’s mostly personal preference. Here are some highlights!
What I love about the B Mat Strong 6mm:
- Performance grip. The B Mat is ultra grippy and feels grippy/textured where the lululemon and Manduka GRP mats have more of a slick/leathery feel.
- Eco-friendly and biodegradable. This mat is made with 100% non-slip rubber and features open-cell technology to ensure that sweat won’t pool on top of your mat.
- The 6mm thickness offers cushioning and comfort and is great for high-impact vinyasa practices or strength workouts.
- Once again, since it’s a non-slip mat no mat towel is needed.
- Because the surface is “grippier” than the other mats listed above, it can collect dirt/hair a little easier and can be harder to keep clean.
- Less dependable with lying flat and not moving than some of the other mats listed above.
You might also like:
- The B Mat Everyday 4mm. This is B Mat’s top-selling mat. Coming in at 4mm and 4 pounds, it’s a lightweight version of the STRONG mat.
- The Mat Duffle. This canvas and vegan leather combo is not only beautiful but also carefully designed, sized and sewn to carry around any sized B MAT with room to spare.
I hope you’ve found this round up of the best yoga mats to be helpful in your search for a high-quality, functional and long-lasting mat for your yoga and fitness needs! Please let me know if you have any questions or feedback to add to what I’ve shared above!
Want to read more about my favorite gear for yoga?
What’s your favorite yoga/fitness mat?
What piece of yoga/fitness gear do you use more often than any other?
What are the most important features for you when it comes to choosing a yoga mat?
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