(**The photos in this article are taken from respective yoga mat companies, and we do not own the rights to them, nor were we paid for this article in any form or fashion.**)
Having the right yoga mat may very well be the most important yoga accessory even more important than proper yoga clothing, but as you will learn it was not always this way. Many yogis, including those at Rigazzi Wellness, have a favorite mat, and a reason for selecting that favorite mat. Finding the perfect mat can be influenced by many institutes that have conducted hours of research on all the varieties of mats on the market. Sound overwhelming? Well, let’s dive into how to choose the best yoga mat for your yoga practice.
The Brief but lovely History of the Yoga Mat
Yogis of old did not consider a yoga mat a necessity. The very first yogis most often practiced the limbs of yoga known as dhyana – meditation and pranayama – breath practices, therefore they did not need a sturdy mat and used animal skins for their seated practices. As asana, the physical poses of yoga, became more popular, yogis sought out better support for these movements, and the yoga mat was born. Evolving from floorcloths, to rugs, to the variety of yoga mats seen on the market today, the yoga mat has a beautiful evolution all its own.
Types of Yoga Mats Available For Your Practice If you research yoga mats online, you are going to run into a lot of options. A quick search reveals about 95 billion options online. What a daunting task to sort through! Luckily, we have some suggestions for you. Some things to consider before making a new yoga mat purchase:
Know your yoga style: Are you a weekend recovery yogi or a daily devoted guru? If you are a yogi seeking out a recovery practice, chances are you are using your mat once a week or so. Your investment into yoga mats need not be that great. If you are a hot yoga practitioner, Buti yoga practitioner, or vinyasa yoga practitioner, your yoga mat is going to have different requirements than someone who is looking for Iyengar style or restorative yoga. Most often in restorative classes, a blanket is placed over a mat so one might prefer a cushiony mat, making again the need for a heavy investment into a mat a non-necessity. If you are a hot yogi, Buti yogi, or vinyasa practitioner you will need a mat that won’t allow for slipping as the sweat starts to pour.
How frequent are you going to practice? Daily? Weekly? On special occasions? If you are someone who attends yoga classes as a social event, then making an investment in a yoga mat will not be necessary, and hopefully when you head to that event you can find your yoga mat :). If you are planning to, or already do, practice regularly, you will need a mat that can withstand the rigors of daily use.
Your investment. How much are you willing to pay for a yoga mat? At Rigazzi, we have seen all types, shapes, colors, and uses of mats. Yoga mats, as seen in that 95 billion search engine results can start at $10 and can end up over $150 in price. Not always does cost reflect function. Some of these “higher end” mats are priced highly because they are prettier. That’s it. While we love a pretty yoga mat, and often comment on the pretty ones we see, make sure the cost is worth the risk that your mat may not last, even if it is pretty.
Researched and Reviewed Yoga Mat Styles for Your Yoga Practice
That 95 billion search engine result we found means we obviously cannot review every mat on the market. Luckily, we had some help. A while back, before the pandemic stay-in-place put our classes and instructors on hold, we received an email from Consumer Advocate about referencing their article written on yoga mats they had researched. They are a for-profit company that conducts research on products and services. While Rigazzi Wellness did not get paid to reference them, we thought we could use their research to discuss a topic we often get asked. (Co-founder Tracy Riggs has helped more than 20 people make educated yoga mat decisions in her four year yoga instructing career, while other instructors report getting asked regularly from students and friends). Using the article by Consumer Advocate, along with years of practice and instruction along with reader comments,, here are our top five yoga mat recommendations in order from our preference and our reader’s preferences . Read through and find the mat that fits your needs.
Manduka Pro Mat: The go to mat for Rigazzi Owners: Manduka Pro Mat, 6mm. Each year, Manduka releases new colors, but keep staple colors around. This mat has been in our studios and homes for over 5 years, has been used almost daily for vinyasa, Buti, restorative, and more. This mat is hands down a Rigazzi fave. This is THE mat that is recommended by co-founder Tracy Riggs for its lifetime guarantee, unbeatable durability, and anti-slip. The price is a lot. But the lifetime guarantee and continuous thick support for concrete and wooden floors is better than any mat Tracy has used. This is the mat she recommends to everyone who can pay this price, the mat retails at $120. The B Mat: If you’re going for anti-slip and support, look no further: The B Mat, created by Canadian neighbors to the north. A woman owned business; the founder created her superior no-slip technology after hours of researching carpet pads to support her lifelong love of yoga. The price point starts at $84 for the 4mm thick, which is ideal for a vinyasa/Buti/Hot yoga class but if you’re tired of sliding on your mat during a vigorous yoga session, this is the mat for you. This mat has been tested in local studios by Buti instructors and comes highly recommended by all.
LiforMe Mat: natural rubber, continuous alignment assistance: When asked to complete this article by the writers at Consumer Research, we reached out to you, our followers. Your votes for the second
favorite mat was the Liforme mat. If your desire is to get more aligned, work on functional movement and heal, this might be the mat for you. Grippy and cushiony, this mat weathers many uses while boasting that the mat is entirely biodegradable, PVC free, and non-toxic. With prices starting at $140, this may not be the first yoga mat purchased in your collection, but as your practice deepens in focus and longevity, the Liforme mat will be the perfect addition to your collection.
B Mat: Canadian made, innovative non-slip technology, eco-friendly: The B Mat gained traction within the power, hot, and Buti yoga communities over the last several years. Pun intended. The mat was designed by female entrepreneur and yogi, Andrea Morris to provide continued performance support while offering a contemporary design in an array of jewel tones and rich colors. The B Mat has personally held up to hours of sweat-testing at Buti Yoga retreats and day-long certifications. For $84, you can start with the Everyday mat option and have it stand up to the demands of your vinyasa sessions.
Gaiam Mat: lowest prices and great variety of colors: The beginner yoga mat, as we have yet to meet a yogi who has not come to class first with a Gaiam yoga mat (they can be purchased at many local retailers , including Target). For the price, the mat, if used minimally, and kept out of your car (as fluctuations in weather will break down this mat easily) can last for many years. Starting at around $20, this may be the perfect company to consider if looking for a cushy mat for recovery yoga, or a pretty mat for stretching when you and your friends attend a social class once a month. Gaiam is synonymous with offering accessible yoga materials (videos, mats, education) for all. We started with these mats, but they are not long-suffering.
Suga Mat: Recycled wetsuit, best eco-friendly option, and great cushion: The Suga Mat was recommended as the number one rated mat by Consumer Advocate in their article. The reasons? Excellent grip, cushioning, and overall feel due to texture. The Suga company has collected over 12,000 wetsuits for recycling (at the writing of this article) and prides itself on environmental stewardship, durability of mat, and hopes to set an example of sustainability for years to come. Their price point is on the high end, coming in at $64.00, for their smallest cushion.
Rigazzi Mobile Wellness Supports Your Yoga Practice, Whichever Mat You Choose
As all of our classes have gone online, we miss you. We miss connecting with you and practicing with you in person. If ever you need help purchasing a yoga mat for your now independent at-home or outdoor practice, feel free to reach out to let us chat with you. We love helping you move and look forward to the times when we can join you in moving, mindfulness, and breath. May you be well.