The Essential Guide to Choosing the Perfect Yoga Mat for Your Practice
The Essential Guide to Choosing the Perfect Yoga Mat for Your Practice

The Essential Guide to Choosing the Perfect Yoga Mat for Your Practice

As a yogi, your mat is your sanctuary. It’s where you connect with your breath, find your flow, and ground yourself. But with so many options on the market, how do you choose the right one? In this guide, we’ll explore the key factors to consider when selecting a yoga mat that’s perfect for your practice.


One of the most important factors to consider when choosing a yoga mat is thickness. The thickness of your mat can impact your comfort, stability, and overall practice. Mats generally range from 1/16 inch to 1/4 inch in thickness. Thinner mats are typically lighter and more portable, but may not provide enough cushioning for those with sensitive joints. Thicker mats offer more support and cushioning, but can be heavier and less portable.


The material of your yoga mat is another crucial consideration. Mats can be made from a variety of materials, each with their own unique benefits and drawbacks. Some common materials include:

  • PVC: This is the most common material used for yoga mats. PVC mats are durable, affordable, and easy to clean, but they may not be the most environmentally friendly option.
  • Natural rubber: Mats made from natural rubber are eco-friendly, biodegradable, and offer excellent grip. However, they may not be as durable as PVC mats and can have a strong rubber smell.
  • TPE: Thermoplastic elastomers (TPE) are a newer material used for yoga mats. TPE mats are lightweight, non-toxic, and recyclable, making them a great choice for eco-conscious yogis.
  • Cork: Cork mats are sustainable, antimicrobial, and provide a natural grip that gets better with use. However, they can be expensive and may not offer as much cushioning as other materials.


Having a non-slip surface is essential for a safe and effective yoga practice. Look for a mat that offers a good grip to prevent slips and falls. Mats made from natural rubber, TPE, and cork tend to offer excellent grip, while PVC mats can be slippery when wet.


The texture of your mat can also impact your grip and comfort during practice. Some mats have a smooth surface, while others have a textured or raised pattern. Textured mats can provide extra grip, but may be uncomfortable for some yogis. Smooth mats can be more comfortable, but may not offer as much traction.


Yoga mats come in a variety of sizes, so it’s important to choose one that fits your body and practice. Standard mats are typically 68 inches long and 24 inches wide, but you can also find longer and wider mats to accommodate taller or broader yogis. Keep in mind that larger mats may be heavier and less portable.


As a yogi, you may be mindful of your impact on the environment. Look for a mat that’s made from sustainable materials and produced in an eco-friendly way. Mats made from natural rubber, cork, and TPE are all eco-friendly options. Some brands also offer mats made from recycled materials.


Yoga mats can range in price from less than $20 to over $100. While a more expensive mat may offer better quality and durability, you can also find affordable mats that are comfortable and functional. Determine your budget and prioritize the features that are most important to you.

Do I really need a Yoga mat?

While a yoga mat is not essential for practicing yoga, it can provide several benefits that can enhance your practice. If you’re unsure whether to invest in a yoga mat, consider trying out a few classes with and without a mat to see what works best for you.. Here are some reasons why a yoga mat may be beneficial:

  1. Cushioning and support: A yoga mat provides a cushioned and supportive surface that can help protect your joints, particularly during poses that require kneeling, standing, or balancing.
  2. Grip: A yoga mat provides a non-slip surface that can help prevent slips and falls, particularly if you tend to sweat during your practice. This can help you feel more secure and confident in your movements.
  3. Hygiene: A yoga mat provides a clean and hygienic surface for your practice, particularly if you practice in a studio or gym where multiple people may use the same floor space. Using your own mat can help prevent the spread of germs and bacteria.
  4. Focus: A yoga mat can help create a designated space for your practice, both physically and mentally. When you unroll your mat, you create a boundary between yourself and the rest of the world, allowing you to focus on your breath and movement.
  5. Convenience: A yoga mat is lightweight and portable, making it easy to take with you wherever you go. This can be particularly helpful if you like to practice yoga outdoors or while traveling.

Where can I buy a yoga mat?

Yoga mats are widely available for purchase both online and in physical stores. Here are some options for where to buy a yoga mat:

  1. Online retailers: Online retailers such as Amazon, REI, and YogaOutlet offer a wide variety of yoga mats in different sizes, thicknesses, materials, and colors. You can browse through their selection and read reviews from other customers to find the best mat for your needs.
  2. Sporting goods stores: Sporting goods stores such as Dick’s Sporting Goods, Academy Sports, and Decathlon also carry yoga mats. You can visit their physical stores to try out different mats and get advice from their staff.
  3. Yoga studios: Many yoga studios sell yoga mats in their retail areas. Buying a mat directly from a yoga studio can be a great way to support the local yoga community and get advice from experienced yogis.
  4. Specialty stores: Specialty stores such as Lululemon and Manduka have their own lines of yoga mats that are designed for different types of yoga and levels of practice.
  5. Discount stores: Discount stores such as Walmart and Target also carry yoga mats at affordable prices. While the selection may be limited, you can find basic mats that are suitable for beginners or occasional use.

No matter where you choose to buy your yoga mat, be sure to consider the factors discussed in this guide, such as thickness, material, grip, and sustainability, to ensure that you find the perfect mat for your practice.

How to keep a yoga mat clean

Keeping your yoga mat clean is important for maintaining hygiene, extending the life of your mat, and enhancing your overall yoga experience. Here are some tips for keeping your yoga mat clean:

  1. Wipe down your mat after each use: After each yoga session, use a clean towel or cloth to wipe down your mat. This will remove any sweat, oils, or dirt that may have accumulated during your practice.
  2. Use a mat cleaner: You can also use a mat cleaner to deep clean your mat. Look for a cleaner that’s specifically designed for yoga mats and made from natural, non-toxic ingredients. You can either spray the cleaner directly onto your mat or apply it to a clean towel and wipe down your mat.
  3. Air dry your mat: Allow your mat to air dry completely before rolling it up and storing it. Avoid exposing your mat to direct sunlight or high heat, as this can damage the material.
  4. Wash your mat: If your mat is particularly dirty or has an odor, you can wash it in the bathtub or shower. Fill the tub with warm water and a small amount of gentle soap or mat cleaner. Submerge your mat in the water and use a soft brush or sponge to gently scrub the surface. Rinse the mat thoroughly with clean water and hang it to air dry.
  5. Avoid using harsh chemicals: Avoid using harsh chemicals or bleach to clean your mat, as these can damage the material and reduce the grip.

By following these tips, you can keep your yoga mat clean and hygienic, ensuring a safe and enjoyable practice.