Whether you’re a true yogi or just thinking about giving yoga a try, there’s one piece of equipment you will definitely need – a yoga mat. Once limited to simple PVC designs, now most sports and active wear brands sell their own. From jazzy prints and designer labels to eco-friendly options, there is so much choice. So how do you pick the best one for you?
Think about what you really need from your mat. If you’re partial to Bikram yoga look for one with extra strong grip – sweaty palms mean there’s more potential to slip while holding tricky poses. If you want to avoid sore knees, look at the thickness of your mat and if you’re not into distracting jazzy patterns, opt for subtle shades or block colours. We’ve rounded up the mats that withstood sweaty yoga classes and could easily be carried home.
1. Manuka Life Linen Yoga Mat: £38, Manuka Life
Manuka Life specialises in yoga apparel and accessories and its unusual linen mat offers excellent grip, whether you’re doing a hot Bikram or relaxing flow session. The texture is ideal for sweaty palms; it stops you from slipping so you can hold your poses. And if you usually place a towel on top of your mat, it won’t budge on top of this one, so no need to worry about any slipping or sliding. There’s a handy strap too, so you can roll it up and store it neatly.
2. LuLulemon Reversible Mat 5mm: £62, Lululemon
Although the most expensive of the bunch, this reversible mat from high-end athletics brand LuLulemon won’t let you down. It absorbs sweat and wicks away moisture so you won’t be slipping off your mat in the middle of a class. We love this fun pink colour but there are 10 other styles to pick from if you want something more subtle. It’s easily wiped clean, spacious and certainly thick enough.
3. Sweaty Betty Eco Yoga Mat: £40, Sweaty Betty
This is another stylish reversible mat but from active wear expert Sweaty Betty. Each side has a different type of grip – one more suited to classic yoga and the other to warm yoga. It’s pretty sturdy, even if you’re prone to sweating, and it’s big enough to keep all your moves contained to the mat. It comes with a handy carry strap too, so it’s easy to grab and go when you’re in a hurry.
4. Reebok 4mm Yoga Mat: £11.45, Sweatband
The sticky surface of this dark blue PVC mat means it holds out and prevents slipping during yoga classes. The cushioned surface is comfortable, even when pressure is applied and during a prolonged headstand. It’ easy to store away, as it doesn’t spring out of its rolled-up shape. Yoga purists might object to the white Rebook logo, but this is a solid mat at a good price.
5. Yogamatters Sticky Yoga Mat: £17, Yogamatters
Whether you’re curled up in child’s pose or stretched out like a warrior, the Yogamatters mat is comfortable and sturdy. The sticky finish offers a solid base even in the trickiest of one-legged stances, making it great for wobbly beginners. And the tack leaves no trace on hands and feet. At 183cm wide, it is also long enough to fully relax and perform moves on without worrying you'll miss the mat. It’s easy to clean, too: just pop it in the washing machine.
6. Adidas by Stella McCartney Embossed Yoga Mat: £44.95, Adidas
This rubberised orange yoga mat designed by Stella McCartney for Adidas is certainly snazzy, making it stand-out in any yoga class. The wavy design on the underside of the mat stops it from sliding around on the floor and the floral motif on the top side is designed to give extra grip to your hands, which it mostly did apart from the occasional slip while in downward dog. The mat’s thinness makes it lightweight and easy to carry though and it rolls up tightly into a manageable package.
7. Good Health & Fitness Thick Cushioned NBR Yoga Mat: £10.50, Amazon
The NBR yoga mat has many useful features, from being washable and lightweight to being latex free, but the best part about it is its thickness. The mat is comfortably cushioned, meaning that your back and knees are spared any soreness during poses – and it works pretty well for doing shavasana, too. Being a thicker mat means you might find it slightly more awkward to lug to and from class, but it does have the added benefit of staying put on the floor and stopping your hands and feet from slipping about during poses. At only £10.50 it’s ideal for beginners who want to give yoga a go.
8. Nike Ultimate Yoga Mat 5mm: £40, Surfdome
This sporty yoga mat from Nike, with the recognisable tick printed at the bottom is extremely sticky, both to the floor and your feet. Holding positions is easy and it’s fairly soft to touch. The design is also bright enough to be recognised but won’t distract you during class. There’s a handy strap to help you carry it too. It’s not the thickest we tested though, so you can feel the floor through the mat.
The Verdict: Yoga mats
The Manuka Linen Yoga mat can’t be beaten when it comes to grip and the linen texture and subtle design make it the ideal choice for yogis. Another good option is the Yogamatters Sticky Yoga Mat – great for beginners who don’t want to be wobbling in their first class.
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