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When first starting yoga as a beginner, there is just so much to think about. You’re trying to figure out what kind of yoga you want to do, if you want to start at home or in a studio, and then there comes the issue of getting a mat.
Yoga mats are sold everywhere nowadays, there are so many options. How can you possibly figure out which yoga mat is best for beginners, and most importantly, best for you?
The only way to really do this is research. There are a lot of yoga mats that are great for beginners, but the one that is best for you depends on a few factors:
What type of yoga are you planning to do?
This matters a lot. Not all mats are great for every type of yoga. One mat that is amazing for a Vinyasa class will in no way hold up in a Hot Yoga or Ashtanga class. Before you go getting all excited and buy a mat, you definitely should have in mind what kind of class you plan on taking.
If you are not sure what type of yoga is right for you, I wrote an article here on the top tips for beginner yogis, where I go over the most common types of yoga to help you figure out which one is suitable for you!
What is Your Budget?
Budget does play a role when setting up your yoga practice, unfortunately. As you probably are aware, the cheaper mats will tend to be more, well…cheap. But that doesn’t mean you need to go drop two hundred dollars on a mat when you haven’t even done your first pose yet.
There are a lot of great mats out there in different price ranges. Have a range in mind for yourself along with a few key things you are looking for in a mat (grip, cushion, durability) and take those things into consideration when looking at your options.
How Much Support Do You Need?
This I think, is important for beginners, as most beginners tend to want more cushy mats because they are not used to practicing poses on a hard floor. If you have fragile joints this is also something to take into consideration, because you want to get a mat where you feel the most comfortable throughout your practice while still providing enough stability, so you’ll want to come back again and again!
I love Amazon because of all of the helpful reviews people leave. I always read through the best and the worst reviews before I make a decision about whether a product is right for me or not.
There are a lot of great yoga mats on Amazon, both big and small brands. I have reviewed a ton of yoga mats, and these are the top 5 I feel are the absolute best for beginners based on different needs!
Best Mat For Extra Grip:
Pros: This mat is made out of natural rubber, which is not only good for the environment and your health, but it makes the mat more cushiony and comfortable for you. The grip on this really is outstanding compared to others. This was actually the first mat I bought after beginning my yoga practice on my Walmart mat. That was over 3 years ago, and I still use the mat today! This price is a bit higher than other mats because of the high quality, but it will literally last you for years. In my book, that is a great investment.
Added bonus of this mat is that for every mat you buy, Jade Yoga plants a tree!
Cons: It has a pretty strong rubber smell. I got used to it after awhile, and after multiple uses and spraying it to clean it a few times, the smell does become weaker. But if you have a very sensitive nose and you think something like that will ruin your practice, then I would suggest looking a other mats on the list.
The Bottom Line: If you want a mat that has great grip to help you stay in poses, is eco friendly, and will last you a long time, this is a great mat to invest in.
Best Mat For Extra Padding for Joints:
Pros: This mat is a true 5/8 inch thick, which is comparably superior to other mats on Amazon. Based on people’s reviews, the cushioning on this mat is much sturdier than other foam, and it doesn’t compress under your body weight, giving you a more comfortable experience.
Cons: The focus on this mat is comfort, not grip or stickiness, so although it doesn’t seem to have as many issues with grip as other mats, it is definitely not the stickiest for helping you stay in poses. Some reviews also stated that because the foam doesn’t compress under you, it actually can make some balancing poses a bit more challenging, as if you are balancing on a stability ball.
The Bottom Line: If your main concern is protecting your joints, or you are in need of some extra support to make your yoga practice more comfortable, then this mat is a good choice for you.
Best Budget Mat Option:
Pros: Reviews on Amazon say that, despite the low price, this mat actually has pretty good grip. Not as good as Jade Yoga’s mat, but for a mat at this price, that is a pretty good compliment. It also comes with a free carrying strap, which is a nice addition. It is also extremely light weight, making it easy to transport and bring where ever.
Cons: The biggest complaint is about the wear and tear. It seems after a few months, this mat starts to shed and break down. But really, you get what you pay for. This is a very inexpensive mat, so it’s not going to last you nearly as long as the more expensive mats on this list.
The Bottom Line: If you are looking for a mat just to get started before investing in a better mat, then this is a good one to start with. Many of the reviews that did complain about the wear and tear said it was a great mat for beginners to use the first few months of your practice.
Best Mat for Alignment:
Pros: This mat is designed with lines on the top of the mat that help guide your body into proper alignment into each pose such as staying centered on your mat with a central point, reverse points to align your feet and hands when you’re on your back, and a central alignment line to stay centered in standing poses.
This is very helpful if you are practicing at home and don’t have a teacher to guide you into proper alignment. Reviews also say that this mat provides pretty good cushioning, and that the TPE non-slip material it is made out of provides good grip.
Also, just like Jade Yoga, this company plants a tree for every yoga mat purchased as well!
Cons: A few people complained that there is a noticeable chemical smell to this mat. Also, although many people said it has pretty good grip, this will not hold up in a hot yoga class or if you naturally sweat a lot. Heathyoga does recommend purchasing their non-slip yoga towel if planning to use this mat in hot yoga.
The Bottom Line: If you are planning to start your yoga practice at home, are a complete beginner, and don’t plan on using your mat for hot yoga, this seems like a pretty good mat to look into.
Best Mat for Hot Yoga Lovers:
Pros: This mat is designed to be used in yoga practice where you sweat A LOT, like Hot Yoga, Bikram, or Ashtanga Yoga. The more you sweat, the better the grip becomes on this mat! I recently just switched over to this mat from using a nonslip towel with my Jade Yoga Mat when I do hot yoga and I have noticed a huge difference. The bottom is really sticky so your mat won’t slide. It is made of a microfiber material, so it’s kind of like having a built-in towel in your mat. The top feels really soft and cushiony and is very comfortable.
Cons: Because this mat is like having a built-in towel and yoga mat in one, it requires much more maintenance, meaning you have to wash it more. When you use a regular mat and a towel, you can just use multiple towels and switch them out every time you go, and just spray your mat. Depending on how often you do yoga, you’ll need to wash this at least once a week in the wash to make sure it doesn’t get smelly.
The Bottom Line: This is an excellent, high quality mat that provides great grip and comfort during high intensity yoga like Hot, Bikram or Ashtanga. If you are planning on practicing any of these styles and don’t mind spending the time to was it once or twice a week, then definitely get this one!
If you are just getting started with yoga, we have a few resources to help you out:
Ally is the co-founder of GroundedPanda.com with her fiance Victor. She began practicing yoga at the beginning of her career as a Registered Nurse to cope with the physical and mental stress it put on her, and fell in love with it. Her goal is to help beginners develop a fulfilling practice without the intimidation. Besides managing this website, she loves hiking with her loving fiance and cuddling with her two silly cats.