Thanks to the rise and rise of online yoga and home practice, the mat market is flourishing. Your major decision when buying is whether a mat with a smooth surface or a mat with a textured surface is appropriate for your practice. Smooth-surfaced mats, counterintuitively, have better grip, so are perfect for practising hot yoga, ashtanga or any kind of vigorous vinyasa where you might build up a sweat. They can lack the comfort of textured mats, though, and we found they seemed to show dust and dirt much more easily. As well as texture, consider whether you plan to travel with your mat — if so, look for something lighter — and whether you need extra padding for knees and wrists, so need a thicker mat.
We really put these mats through their paces, with hours of home practice and classes. Making allowances for style and intended use travel or home , and preferring mats that were eco-friendly in material and production, we tested for grip, portability, comfort and style. You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps to fund journalism across The Independent.
Liforme yoga mat: £100, Liforme
What makes it so unique, though, is the grid system laid over the top to help you align yourself in poses. Buy now. The grip was excellent, even in hot yoga, and we really appreciated how light the mat was. We found that water left dark patches on this mat: these fade very quickly, but is worth considering if you sweat a lot in class — a darker colour would show up stains less.
The most beautiful mat we tried, and one of our absolute favourites, these are designed and handmade in the UK by a small team dedicated to producing high quality, environmentally-friendly mats. The natural fibre hessian top looks beautiful — textured, like carpet — and the rubber underside is superbly sticky and stable.
The mats also roll up tightly and come with a pretty cotton bag, making them excellent for travel. Thick, stable and with extra length cm x 66cm , they somehow manage to suit both active vinyasa classes and gentler, restorative practices. It was also our favourite mat for inversions, both because of the padding and the real sense of stability.
One of the lightest mats we tried, it still does a great job of cushioning poses, even on a hardwood floor.
Prana prides itself on its sustainability, and this mat is no different: the manufacturing process is non-toxic and all the materials are sustainable. Almost all yoga mat makers strive to ensure their products are eco-friendly, but Cork goes a step further, teaming up with Destiny Reflection, a Kolkata-based charity that supports and trains survivors of sex slavery and human trafficking. The mats are splendid, with good grip and a secure grasp on the floor. Cork is environmentally-friendly, naturally antibacterial and — to an extent — self-cleaning, making it an ideal material for a yoga mat.
The texture is particularly lovely when lying down or practising in a cold room — it feels snugglier and warmer than a rubber mat. This insanely grippy map topped our testing for hot yoga: it was grippier than any other mat we tested, extremely lightweight, and rolled up easily and tightly for easy transportation.
At 4mm in thickness, it ticked our box for the kind of padding that you would look for in a mat for restorative or yin yoga, and managed to do so without being too heavy 2kg. Made from biodegradable latex, it has a bit of give for ease on your wrists, but not at the expense of a stable hold on the floor.
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This would be a perfect mat for any really active kind of yoga, like ashtanga, where you need the mat to stay in place while you spring through transitions. Our reviewer has been a fan of these game-changing circular mats for a long time. A round mat makes a lot of sense: for reclined twists, for example, where you want padding on a horizontal and vertical plane, or for standing wide-legged forward bends and other poses where you usually need to change orientation on the mat.
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Update newsletter preferences. Subscribe to Independent Premium to bookmark this article Want to bookmark your favourite articles and stories to read or reference later? Bluesign: A Swiss organization that provides a system and a certification program for the sustainable and clean manufacturing of textiles. Nylon: A synthetic thermoplastic linear polyamide known for being strong, durable, elastic, easy to clean and water-resistant.
Also known as Lycra and elastane. Polyester: A category of polymers used commonly in clothing and home furnishings. They can be naturally-occurring or synthetic. Generally speaking, polyester is stain-resistant, strong and resistant to water and wind. Merino: Wool from the merino sheep. Polygiene: An antimicrobial silver chloride treatment applied at the finishing stages of textile production to control odor in a garment.
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