Yoga mats offer a sticky, non-skid surface to keep your hands and feet in place while in your poses. A yoga mat will also provide some cushioning and insulation between you and the floor.
There are several mat lengths, thicknesses, and materials to choose from. The "standard" yoga mat is 68" long, but long yoga mats are available ranging from 72"-74" and even extra long yoga mats are available up to 84" in length. The thickness of a yoga mat varies from thin travel mats to thick 5/16" non-slip mats or even thicker padded restorative mats. Widths of a yoga mat are generally 24" wide, but again, some wide yoga mats are also available at 36" wide or even bigger for partnering. A yoga mat can also be made of a variety of materials from PVC or a phthalate-free non-toxic PVC to eco mats made of natural fibers, natural rubber, or recycled materials and so on.
So, what is the best yoga mat to buy? That depends.
What type of yoga do you practice - Bikram Hot Yoga, Flow, Restorative, etc? For a Hot Yoga Mat, you might look at a closed-cell material. For a Restorative mat where you'll be on the floor more, you might look at a thicker cushioning yoga mat. While for a flowing practice with lots of standing poses, you might look for a thinner mat (1/8" or 4mm) that would keep you more grounded ("pro" mats or a "performance" mat).
How short or tall are you? Longer mats are generally better for taller people - you want to be able to move through poses without having to reposition yourself frequently.
How heavy of a mat do you want to carry? A lightweight TPE mat might weigh 2lbs compared to the Black Mat Pro which weighs a hefty 7lb.
Do you prefer eco-friendly materials? Choose a natural yoga mat or one made of recycled materials.
What is your budget?
Are you looking for a yoga mat to fold, pack & travel with?
Are you looking for a large yoga mat to practice with a partner?
Are you looking for a kids yoga mat? Consider a yoga mat in a smaller size or one made of lightweight materials so your child can carry their mat on their own more easily.
As you can see there is no one yoga mat that is best for everyone. There are a variety of yoga mats to choose from so you can find the one that would be the best for you individually and the style of yoga you practice.
Yoga Towels are often used in conjunction with your yoga mat for those that practice hot yoga or sweat profusely. These microfiber towels absorb sweat and keep you from slipping on your mat. Yoga Towels can be found in a separate category. The Yojita Towel Mat is a combination of yoga towel on the topside and non-slip yoga mat on the bottom. The best of both worlds.
Pilates Mats are similar to yoga mats but generally are thicker mats to cushion the spine during mat floor routines.