The 5 Best Yoga Mats to Unroll in 2021

Shreya Chari | February 5, 2021 | Lifestyle

Best Yoga Mats

Whether it's new year, new you or 10 years into your practice, yoga is an art form that requires sturdy foundation.

The ancient practice has been found to bring a variety of physical and mental benefits. According to John Hopkins Medicine, yoga improves your strength, balance and flexibility. It eases back pain and arthritis, while a daily yoga practice improves heart health and sleep. Some of its mental benefits include increased energy levels, stress management and promotion of self-care.

When practicing yoga, it's imperative to use a good yoga mat that can withstand the daily wear and tear of exercise sessions. Three elements are typically key: thickness, material and texture. Thickness depends on the kind of workout you want. Do you prefer being cushioned (for which 1/4" is good) or feeling close to the ground (then you should look at 1/16")? We suggest 1/8" as a happy medium for those seeking blance.

Most yoga mats are made of rubber or vinyl. Vinyl lasts a long time and endures a lot of daily use. Rubber is more eco-friendly, but not as spongy. The texture you seek also depends on the kind of yoga you like to do. For hot yoga, which produces more sweat, you want more texture to avoid slips. If you prefer a smooth texture, find a mat that can control moisture.

Whether you're just getting into yoga or are practically an expert, there's a yoga mat for you. These are the best we found for 2021.

BalanceFrom Go Yoga All-Purpose Mat

Definitely the most affordable in the group, this $21 All-Purpose Mat is great for beginners. Designed to keep you steady when transitioning through poses, the non-slip surface increases resistance and stays resilient, so you can move smoothly. It measures 0.5" thick and was constructed with high-density foam that will guard your knees and wrists against potential injury. It's also easy to wash and keep clean, which is so important for all the sweat that accumulates on your mat over time.

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Lululemon Reversible Mat

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As can be expected with Lululemon, this $88 Reversible Mat hits the pricier end of the spectrum but is well-tried and well-loved. Each side of the mat offers its own advantages, so you're really getting two mats in one. There's a sticky side that keeps your hands and feet adhered to the mat, while the spongy side has a textured surface to promote better grip. It measures 5 mm thick and is longer and wider than the average yoga mat, giving you more room to stretch. Plus, the antimicrobial additive prevents bacteria and mold from growing on the mat.

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Yoga Design Lab The Combo Yoga Mat

This Combo Yoga Mat is a little more niche, as it was developed specifically for hot yoga workouts. For $88 to $98, it keeps you firmly planted no matter how sliperry things get, which is great for sweaty hot yoga or any high-intensity exercise routine. Developed to as a bridge between a traditional mat and a towel, this no-slip, sproty favorite has a smooth, velvety feel.

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JadeYoga Voyager Yoga Mat

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Yoga is great, but traveling with your mat is nearly impossible - until now. For $36, the Voyager Yoga Mat was made for wander lust. Bring it to the gym or another country entirely. It's only 1.7 lbs and able to fold into a small block perfect for packing. It's meant for adventure, so it's durable, too, ready for the hustle and bustle of traveling, without losing the grip you need when it's actually in use.

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Manduka PROlite Yoga Mat

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A well-recommended tool by workout trainers and yoga specialists alike, this $74 mat has a soft but good grip, is easy to break in (a huge bonus for people to practice yoga daily) and is quite durable. Interestingly, it was made to be a little more slippery than most rubber mats. According to workout trainers in The Strategist's post, this extra slip provides more engagement when practicing poses. In fact, this texture is actually preferred, because it aids in "flowing through transitions" and "cushioning for the joints." The report also claims that it is easy to transport, which is always a bonus.

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Photography by: BSIP