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Which Yoga Mat?

Do you feel that it’s minefield of information out there when trying to decide which Yoga mat to get?

I do!

Even as a Yoga teacher, and long-time Yoga practitioner, over the years I've never had a clear answer to when students or friends have asked for Yoga mat recommendations, except for “I don’t know”.

I’m not really into buying a lot of Yoga equipment, so have pretty much ignored that market, and as a result been poorly informed.

Finally, I’ve arrived at a point where I'd probably like a new Yoga mat, so I reached out to the Yoga community for recommendations, and wanted to share with you the 6 mats which were most recommended…

But first...

Do you need a Yoga mat to practice Yoga?

No! Absolutely not.

A Yoga mat is NOT ESSENTIAL to practice Yoga.

Read that again. You DO NOT NEED a Yoga mat to practice Yoga.

You can practice Yoga on your bed, the sofa, in a chair, on the train, plane, practically anywhere, and wearing whatever you feel comfortable in (be that pyjamas, your favourite dress, a leotard, just your pants, or absolutely nothing).

And for most of that you don’t need a mat.

You can also practice Yoga on the floor. I have often done so without a mat, with a towel, with a blanket, but usually with a Yoga mat.

Why do you say I don’t need a Yoga mat when most people doing Yoga use them?

What I’d really like to emphasise, is that being without a Yoga mat, ‘Yoga equipment’, ‘Yoga clothes’, or a ‘Yoga body’*, is NOT an obstacle to practising Yoga. *(that one’s a joke, every body is a Yoga body!).

So please, avoid being tricked into thinking any of this 'stuff' is essential for Yoga (as hard as the likes of Lululemon and Sweaty Betty might try to convince you). You showing up is all that is needed.

Yoga has become an industry.

Industry is about economy, manufacturing and selling goods.

Unfortunately, Yoga is now commodified, sold as something which you need buy things to practice.

When this is so far from the truth of the deep spiritual practice that Yoga is (but this is probably a whole other blog post).

For now, let’s stick to the subject of Yoga mats (and hopefully not the mats themselves!), and if you choose to incorporate one into your practice, which one to go for?

Why might you want to use a Yoga mat?

The main reasons I use a Yoga mat during the practice of Asanas (Yoga postures) are:

  • Stability: preventing slipping all over the floor with limbs flailing like a new-born giraffe (which can happen with a towel or blanket on a smooth floor as it gets a bit skiddy).

  • Padding / Protection: of knees and any other joints or sensitive areas from contact with hard floors.

  • Comfort: providing a layer of insulation in cooler climates when the floor is cold (especially for floor-based practices such as laying down in shavasana).

Ok, so now we’ve established why a Yoga mat is helpful, find out which one is for you (if you decide to use one)…

Which Yoga Mat is best?

This depends on what your priorities are?

Here are some points to consider when choosing a mat:


How much money you are going to invest in a Yoga mat (whether buying brand new or second hand)?

A new Yoga mat need not be overly expensive. The prices of mats reviewed here are between £25 - £136.

That’s a big price difference I hear you say (it really is!).

And they seem to jump from £26 straight to £70 and upwards.

Many of the companies selling mats at the higher end of this pricing scale offer a discount off your first purchase if you sign up to their mailing list (which you can always unsubscribe from later).

Also consider how much value for money the investment is. This means, how long the mat might last you?

A higher priced mat does not necessarily mean better quality or longer lasting (as I learnt when I once invested in an ‘eco-friendly sustainably sourced’ travel mat, which really wasn’t all that!). It is usually a price-tag for items which use more eco-friendly and sustainably-sourced materials.

From the feedback received about Yoga mats, it was interesting to see is that those in the lower end of the price-range (under £30), such as Yoga matters and Yoga box were the reportedly longest lasting mats, followed by Jade Yoga mat and Manduka. We also cover this in the sustainability section.

Remember, second hand options of higher priced mats are available on re-selling platforms such as vinted, gumtree, ebay, or wallapop (some teachers have found their mats on these sites, which is a truly sustainable way to buy a mat!). And if you are concerned about the smell of someone else’s feet, you can of course wash the mat, and then place your own cotton throw or towel over it for use.


Will you be carrying the mat around with you, and if so where?

To local Yoga classes, on longer travels, or will you only use it at home?

If you only plan to use the mat at home, then weight is likely not on your list of concerns, so you can skip on from here to the next point.

If you plan on taking the mat to local classes or the odd workshop, weight may still not be a consideration, depending on how you travel there (walking, cycling, by car, or spaceship).

If you plan on taking your trusty mat on longer travels, then a mat of around 2kg or under would keep your luggage weight down.

If you want to go backpacking or trekking, then super-light-weight travel Yoga mats weighing 1kg or less are available*, but these often compromise on protection / padding due to being so thin (I would probably opt for a towel in this case).

*One Yoga teacher recommended the Manduka travel mat (website says recommended to use a towel over the top), purchased second hand on wallapop, which she said was excellent.

Price (new): 50€

Weight: 1kg

Thickness: 1.5mm

Sustainability: sustainably sourced natural tree rubber.


The thickness of the mat you choose will depend on your needs in terms of padding, and to some degree the weight you are prepared to have for your mat.

Standard mats detailed here are mostly between 4 - 4.5mm thick. I have always found this to be sufficient for protecting the knees.

If you are planning on travelling with your mat but would like a lot of padding, you can always use a folded blanket placing it in the areas you want padding (like under knees).

If you don’t mind a heavier mat and want to prioritise the comfort of extra padding, then consider one which is solidly built of fairly compact feeling material, such as the pharamond or manduka pro (and if your budget doesn't reach those prices go for the fail-proof blanket method).

A cautionary warning: There are ‘exercise mats’ which are sometimes used for Yoga which are quite thick and spongy. This can be great for comfort and when laying down or kneeling, but they can be stretchy and end up elongating when in downward dog or wide-legged standing postures, which can feel slightly destabilising (and create that new-born giraffe effect again). The underfoot squidge-factor may also create a wobble in standing balances.

Sustainability / Natural / Eco-friendly Materials

Sustainability not only refers to the environmental, economic, and social impact of materials used in the manufacturing of products, but also to the item being maintained over time.

Is the sustainability of a Yoga mat important to you?

If it’s a yes, then consider where your priorities lie within sustainability.

Are you prioritising how many years the mat will last you?

These came up best for longevity (in this order): Yogamatters, Yogabox, Jade, Manduka

(the other mat brands may have just not been around long enough to give feedback on this).

Is it important to you that the mat is made from eco-friendly sustainably sourced materials?

These are made entirely from sustainable materials: Yogibare, Jade

(these companies also plant a tree for each mat sold).

Sweat Factor

Are you a sweater once you start moving your booty around?

Concerned about your sticky mittens slipping on the mat?

Pharamond has been recommended as being helpful for this, providing a super grippy mat, even for the slipperiest of mitts.

Another brand recommended (but not detailed below), was Complete Unity Yoga, feedback on their site said their non-slip mats were excellent for the sweat-prone.

Another option: a trusty towel over any Yoga mat will help to absorb the moisture and keep you in place, even during the heaviest sweat downpour.


Meet The Mats

Here are the 6 Yoga mats which came top recommended from the Yoga Community who kindly gave me their feedback on which mats they use…

Feedback: These mats are used in a lot of Yoga studios I’ve practiced in. They have been adequate for my needs in terms of padding. Occasionally a little slippy if prone to sweaty mittens, nothing a towel or cotton throw placed over the mat won’t remedy.

Two Yoga teachers reported they are using this as their main mat, and have had them for a whopping

13, and 20 years (yes you read that right!).

Price: £26 / 36€

Weight: 1.4kg easily transportable

Thickness: 4.5mm

Sustainability / Materials: long lasting (13 – 20+ years)! PVC non-toxic OEKO-TEX® test approved (phthalate / heavy metal / latex free)

Cleaning: wipe-down with damp cloth or diluted detergent.

Feedback: recommended by a Yoga teacher friend who was given one second hand, uses it every day, has travelled to India with it, washes it in the machine regularly, and around 7 years later it is still going strong.

She also buys mats from the same company for her Yoga studio.

Price: £26 / 29.95€

Weight: 2.1kg easily transportable

Thickness: 4.5mm

Sustainability / Materials: long lasting (7+ years). Vinyl foam (PVC) with PES / glass fibre yarn incorporated, non-toxic OEKO-TEX® test approved

Cleaning: Machine washable up to 60 ° C (without spin)

Feedback: Two Yoga students chose this mat for the extra grip which helped avoid slippage when sweaty palms arise. Both were very pleased with it, and had them for around 18 months.

Price: £69.99 / 82.95€ (currently out of stock)

Weight: 2.5kg

Thickness: 4.4mm

Sustainability / Materials: 18 months so far. Organic rubber & environmentally friendly eco-polyurethane. Non-toxic (no toxic materials, heavy metals, or PVC).

The company plants 1 tree for every mat purchased.

Cleaning: wipe down with damp cloth.

4. Jade Yoga Mat (buy in UK / buy in EU)

Feedback: an environmentally conscious Yoga teacher friend recommended this mat. She has had it for 7-years and is very happy with it. Company with good sustainability credentials, eco-friendly materials, & seemingly long-lasting. (Their website had a lot of pop-ups which I found off-putting).

Price: £70.00 / 95.00€

Weight: 2.3kg (recommended by someone who has another lighter mat for trekking)

Thickness: 4.7mm

Sustainability / Materials: Long-lasting (7+ years). Made from natural rubber (renewable sources), non-toxic (no PVC, EVA or other synthetic rubber). The company plants 1 tree for every mat sold.

Cleaning: wipe down with special rubber mat cleaner.

Feedback: recommended by 2 Yoga teachers, who are both happy with the mat. I like this brand because they are completely eco-friendly in every way (and don’t try to sell a special mat cleaner because lemon and water will do!). They also offer a mat recycle scheme, you can recycle your old mat, which will be made into rubber chippings for playparks, and receive 15% discount on your new mat.

Price: £74.95 (ships to EU) try discount code: LORNAF10 (travel mat options also available starting at £45)

Weight: 2.5kg

Thickness: 4mm

Sustainability / Materials: Still a new brand, 1-year of use reported so far. Made from natural rubber, PVC & plastic-free. Tree planted for every mat sold.

Cleaning: wipe down with water diluted with lemon juice, once per week (depending on use).

6. Manduka Pro Yoga Mat (UK / EU)

Feedback: These mats are hefty in weight, and price tag (in my opinion), but come recommended by 2 Yoga teachers who report these mats are great. One has had for 4+ years which is still lasting well, and the other for ‘ages’. Another Yoga teacher recommended the Manduka travel mat which they got second hand and said was great too.

NOTE: These mats do not absorb moisture, so if your Yoga practice usually involves a sweat-fest you may want to employ the use of a towel with this mat. The materials are super grippy when sweat is not a factor and take breaking in to benefit from this.

Price: £134.00 / 134.00€

Weight: 3.4kg

Thickness: 6mm

Sustainability / Materials: Lasts well so far (4+ years). Made from PVC, toxin-free OEKO-TEX®️ tested.

Cleaning: wipe down with mat cleaner and dry off before storing after each use.


Whichever Yoga mat you choose (if you decide you need one), I sincerely hope your Yoga practice brings connection with inner peace, and is as positively life-changing for you as it has been for me.

Thanks for reading!

Much love,



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