Whether you’re just getting into the healthy practice of yoga or are a longtime practitioner, having a comfortable and durable mat is key to your routine. If you’re looking for the best yoga mat on the market, StudyFinds set out to find which ones were most recommended by experts.
The spiritual discipline of yoga has been around since the dawn of civilization, with an estimated 300 million people worldwide currently practicing these sacred movements. “The science of yoga has its origin thousands of years ago, long before the first religions or belief systems were born. In the yogic lore, Shiva is seen as the first yogi or Adiyogi, and the first Guru or Adi Guru,” India’s Ministry of External Affairs explains on its website.
What may have begun as a deeply spiritual act has now become more widespread and mainstream, with many people practicing for exercise, flexibility, and mental health purposes.
Researchers at the NYU Grossman School of Medicine say yoga is actually more effective at treating anxiety disorders than standard stress management education. More than half of the study group who tried yoga for three months had a meaningful improvement in their symptoms. Although not as good as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), yoga produced significantly better results than normal therapies.
Another recent study finds that yoga is not only good for your muscles, joints, and ligaments, it’s also good for you at the genetic level. Researchers say that yoga and other mindful practices like meditation can actually reverse the reactions in our DNA that cause stress, depression, or similar mental health conditions.
One of the most incredible aspects of yoga is that its practice knows no boundaries in terms of groups of people. Researchers from Tulane University report that school-based yoga helped improve the emotional health and overall well-being of third graders who exhibited signs of stress and anxiety at the start of the school year.
So whether you’re young or old, an all-star athlete or someone who is just looking to alleviate your back pain, grab a mat and get to it!
For our findings, we visited 10 of the leading expert websites to see which yoga mats were rated the highest. Our list of the best yoga mats is ranked based on the most-recommended products across these sites.
The List: Best Yoga Mats According To The Experts
1. Lululemon The Reversible Mat (~$78)
Health experts agree that Lululemon’s The Reversible Mat is hard to beat as an overall yoga mat that’s essentially two mats in one.
“One side is made from polyurethane while the other is lined with natural rubber for a softer, grippier feel,” The New Yorker writes. “At three millimeters it’s a very thin mat so it won’t provide a ton of cushioning, but it is also available in a squishier five-millimeter version if you want that support.”
The mat is highly-rated for its exceptionally large size, excellent textures, and quick drying.
“The Reversible Mat 3mm features a sweat-absorbent surface and a bottom layer that grips the floor for stability. It’s a great pick if you often find yourself slipping and sliding on your mat,” Healthline writes. “Though it’s only 3 mm thick, this lightweight mat is firm and supportive. Plus, it has an antimicrobial additive that prevents mold and mildew.”
2. Manduka Prolite Mat (~$90)
Manduka Prolite mats are a great option for those looking to travel with a lightweight, quality mat.
“If you can afford it, this is one of the best yoga mats out there. Luxuriously thick for a comfortable practice, the mat comes with a lifetime guarantee, so if it begins to wear away, you can swap it for a new one,” reviews Runner’s World.
The yoga mats are latex-free and made from a material that helps absorb moisture.
“Ultra dense, the PVC mat’s weight works to cement it into your flooring, while its ultra-tacky top side features a state-of-the-art texture that results in a no-slip grip — yes, even when you’re dripping in sweat,” CNN writes.
3. Gaiam Premium Mat (~$35)
Gaiam’s Premium Yoga Mat is a practice favorite for those looking for something simple, durable, and affordable.
“In addition to offering 6 mm of spongy-yet-supportive material, the mat also features a textured nonslip surface to keep you from slipping and sliding. I also love that the mat is available in a wide variety of colors and prints, making it a great gift too,” Fitness Market Editor Kelli McGrane, MS, RD, tells Healthline.
The mats are sticky, non-slip and also free of six harmful chemicals often found in exercise equipment.
“For novices and experts alike, this mat is an all-around great pick. A six-millimeter thickness makes for plenty of cushion, though it’s still lightweight enough to make carrying it around a breeze,” Byrdie writes. “Yoga newbs will also appreciate that you get a free downloadable yoga workout with the mat, the perfect way to get started on your yoga journey.”
4. JadeYoga Harmony Mat (~$85)
If you’re looking for an eco-friendly yoga mat option with great functionality, experts agree that it doesn’t get much better than JadeYoga’s Harmony Mat.
“Made of natural rubber for extra grip and nearly a quarter of an inch thick, this mat is also great for giving a charitable boost: For every mat sold, JadeYoga will plant a tree. And if you purchase certain colors, some of the proceeds will be donated to a cancer charity,” Self writes.
The mats are made from 100 percent natural rubber from South American rubber trees.
“The 4.5-millimeter thick natural rubber mat’s textured surface offers up a sticky resilience perfect for low-impact and high-octane workouts alike, while the underside stays put on hard floors and carpeting,” CNN writes.
Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations.