Despite being over 5000 years old and originating in India, yoga is now performed by over 400,000 Brits each week. It is becoming increasingly popular, and if you live in a busy area, you've probably seen people with a yoga mat in hand on their way to a class.
Yogis (those who do yoga) will tell you they take part in yoga for the physical and mental benefits that come from the stretching routine. But, if you want to start yoga yourself, you may be put off by notoriously expensive classes and high studio membership fees.
Luckily, there are millions of free online classes and videos, which means you can practise yoga from the comfort of your own home - all you need is a mat. Now you're met with your first challenge, finding a good yoga mat.
To help you navigate this, The Recommended set out on a quest to find the best. We spoke to two of the most knowledgeable yoga experts to guide us in discovering a mat which will form the perfect foundation for your planks and pigeon poses.
The best yoga mats at a glance:
- Best overall yoga mat: Liforme Original Yoga Mat, £114.50 at Amazon
- Best multipurpose yoga mat: Umi Yoga Mat, £24.99 at Amazon
- Best yoga mat for families: Manduka Begin Yoga and Pilates Mat, £45 at Argos
- Best yoga mat for taking to class: Liforme Travel Yoga Mat, £94.95 at Amazon
- Best yoga mat for travel: Jade Voyager Yoga Mat, £59 at Decathlon
- Best thick yoga mat: Maximo Fitness Exercise Mat, from £20.99 at Amazon
- Best yoga mat for hot yoga: Pro Fitness Cork Mat, £23 at Argos
- Best yoga mat for grip: Yogamatters Sticky Yoga Mat, £27 at Amazon
The best yoga mats
Best overall yoga mat: Liforme Original Yoga Mat
The mat used by pros
Liforme’s original yoga mat comes recommended by our experts, who rate its ability to help with balance, thanks to its grip and unique alignment system.
The brand is the name on the lips of all expert yogis. While its mats are at the higher end of the price scale, they promise to offer unparalleled grip and guidance on alignment to avoid injury and assist in your flow from pose to pose. These mats are also PVC-free and biodegradable, making them a great sustainable choice.
Best multipurpose yoga mat: Umi Yoga Mat
Ideal for home workouts
This mat from Umi is thick and tear-proof, making it a good choice if you’re looking for a comfortable mat that can handle a lot of wear. It also features a clear alignment line down its centre to help guide positioning during yoga poses.
This yoga mat is great for a variety of at-home workouts, including Pilates, with a good level of thickness and support, making it ideal for yoga beginners. If you're just starting your yoga journey, check out our guide to the easiest yoga poses for beginners. With a helpful alignment guide and non-slip underside, this mat should give newcomers the confidence to learn poses without fear of misplacing hands or feet or sliding around.
Best yoga mat for families: Manduka Begin Yoga and Pilates Mat
Easy to clean
This mat from Manduka comes recommended by our expert Adam Husler, thanks to it being hardwearing and easy to clean, making it a great choice if it’s going to be used by multiple people.
If you’re looking for a mat to share with your family or friends, the Manduka Begin is a great all-rounder to choose. It features a grippy upper surface that should suit most basic yoga poses, with an alignment guideline down its centre to help with positioning, while its lifetime guarantee promises longevity. And if you're looking to do yoga with a friend or family member, check out our guide to the best yoga poses for two people, as recommended by experts.
Best yoga mat for taking to class: Liforme Travel Yoga Mat
Ideal for on-the-go
This travel version of Liforme’s original yoga mat is thinner and lighter, making it the perfect mat to travel to classes with and comes recommended by our yoga expert Adam Husler.
Liforme’s travel mat still features all the alignment and grip features of its original mat but is almost a full kilogram lighter and half the thickness of the original mat, making it the perfect choice for travelling to and from in-person yoga classes.
More like this
Best yoga mat for travel: Jade Voyager Yoga Mat
Lightweight and super portable
Unlike traditional rollable yoga mats, the extra-thin Jade Voyager mat folds up to about the size of a yoga block, making it ideal for stashing in a backpack or luggage.
While this mat is ultra-portable, it’s still designed to provide grip and comfort, with a netted underside created to stick to the floor underneath, while the upper rubber side provides a grounding surface for your hands and feet during your yoga practice.
Best thick yoga mat: Maximo Fitness Exercise Mat
Extra cushioning and comfort
While not strictly just a yoga mat, Maximo Fitness’s Exercise Mat is a great choice for would-be yoga enthusiasts. Made from lightweight, high-density foam to give a comfortable, cushioned grounding, it’s ideal for yoga.
This mat can be used for lots of different exercises, including Pilates and HIIT workouts, thanks to its thickness, but it would be ideal for those looking for a thicker yoga mat to provide a more cushioned floor for more adventurous yoga poses. Don’t be put off by its thickness, though. It’s also lightweight, coming in at just under a kilogram.
Best yoga mat for hot yoga: Pro Fitness cork yoga mat
Made from sustainable cork
Instead of using man-made materials, Pro Fitness's eco-friendly mat has been created using a natural cork upper side, which provides grip while also being water and sweat resistant - making it great for hot yoga.
This double-sided mat’s cork upper is non-slip, while the non-toxic TPE underside is designed to provide cushioning and comfort while gripping the surface underneath.
Best yoga mat for grip: Yogamatters Sticky Yoga Mat
Extra hold and comfort
This ultra-grippy mat from Yogamatters is made from high-density foam that’s designed to cushion, support and protect knees, bottoms, and backs from hard surfaces while providing a non-slip surface to help with balance.
The Sticky mat from Yogamatters is, unsurprisingly, designed to provide unrivalled grip to users when working on their flow. It’s a great choice for those starting out on their yoga journey who want a non-slip mat for an affordable price.
Our yoga experts
Adam Husler and Natasha Kerry are experts in yoga. Both have spent years teaching thousands of people how to perfect their practice through in-person classes, online courses and specialist retreats and have themselves used countless different yoga mats during their years of yoga practice.
Adam Husler is a law school graduate, ultramarathon runner and yoga teacher who specialises in a signature style of Alignment-Based Vinyasa. Having been taught by globally renowned teachers, Adam now teaches others, through in-person classes and retreats across the UK and Europe, and online, through his own online platform The Huslers.
Natasha Kerry is a leading yoga teacher in London who teaches privately and in prestigious member's clubs and studios throughout the city. She trained in India at the Yoga Vidya Gurukul ashram, is an expert in Vinyasa yoga, Yin yoga and yoga Nidra, and shares these methodologies at workshops, retreats and festivals across the UK and internationally.
We put three questions to each of them to understand precisely what you need to know when shopping for your new yoga mat and got their expert recommendations of the best yoga mat to buy and why.
What should you look for when buying a yoga mat?
“A grippy surface is the most important thing for any yogi”, advises Adam, “everything beyond that is a personal preference. Do you want a thick cushioned mat, or do you prefer a thinner mat you can travel with? Do you want a mat to show off your fashion taste, or do you want minimal distraction?” Making these decisions before you start searching for the perfect mat will definitely help you find the perfect mat faster.
Natasha agrees that choosing a non-slip mat is a priority. “Seasoned practitioners tend to look for a mat that is non-slip – it’s the worst when you are sweating in class, and your hands and feet are slipping on the yoga mat. It really affects your focus and your flow!”
But it’s also important to think about who might be using the mat other than yourself. As Adam points out, “Do you want a mat that can be shared with friends or family or will it be a personal mat; the ones that absorb sweat tend to be much grippier, but less desirable to share with others.”
What should you avoid when looking for a yoga mat?
For Adam, avoiding mats that aren’t made sustainably is key, explaining that “yoga brands have made huge headway into making mats that are kind to the planet. Manduka mats are eco-kind because they will last most people a lifetime or and Liforme mats are kind because of their super eco-friendly materials and because the company does a huge amount of work to make the world a better place.”
When it comes to practicality, Natasha warns against mats that are “too heavy or bulky to carry to class” and, underlining the importance of grip, “avoid mats that are too slippy!”
Which yoga mat do you recommend?
So now we know what to look for and what to avoid; what mats do our experts recommend?
“Liforme has been my go-to mat for around seven years”, says Adam, “thanks to their grip, alignment system and how much work the company do for the plant and community. Their original mats stay in my home studio, and travel mats come to me on my international workshops.”
Natasha also recommends Liforme, “the yogis in the know all use Liforme Yoga mats, but it is a splurge!”
For those not willing to shell out three figures for a yoga mat, Adam has more suggestions, “Occasionally, if I’m travelling super light and want something to put on a studio mat, I might take the foldable Jade Voyager. If I were a studio owner, I’d be using Manduka’s; not so grippy as some, but far easier to clean and will last longer than anything else out there.”
How to look after your yoga mat
After you've brought your yoga mat, you want to keep it in good nick to avoid having to splash out on another one. Here are some tips which will help enhance how long your yoga mat lasts:
- Keep it clean: After each practice, wipe your mat with a damp cloth or mild soapy water. Avoid using harsh chemicals that can damage the material. Read our guide on how to clean your yoga mat for more.
- Air it out: Allow your mat to air dry after cleaning to prevent mould or mildew growth.
- Avoid direct sunlight: Prolonged exposure to sunlight can cause your mat to fade and become brittle. Store it away from direct sunlight when you're not using it.
- Roll it properly: Roll your mat loosely with the top (sticky) side facing out. Avoid folding or creasing, as it can cause permanent damage.
- Be mindful of sharp objects: Keep your mat away from sharp objects or rough surfaces that can cause tears or scratches. Be wary when using it in the park or outdoors.
When to replace your current yoga mat
Are you still holding on to an old yoga mat which you picked up years ago? Are you wondering whether you're really in need of a new yoga mat? Here are some signs that it's time to replace your current one:
- Wear and tear: If you notice visible signs of wear and tear, such as cracks, holes, or fraying edges, it's time to replace your mat.
- Loss of grip: When your mat starts to lose its sticky texture, and you find yourself slipping during poses, it may no longer provide the support you need—time to buy a new one.
- Odour and stains: Lingering odours or stubborn stains that don't go away with cleaning can indicate a build up of bacteria, making it necessary to replace your mat.
- Flattening or thinning: Over time, the cushioning and thickness of your mat may wear down, reducing its ability to cushion your joints adequately.
- Hygiene concerns: If your mat has become challenging to clean, and you're worried about hygiene, it's time to invest in a new one.
- Allergies or skin irritations: If you experience allergies or skin irritations while using your mat, it's best to switch to a new one made from different materials.
Want to read more about yoga with expert tips? Check out our yoga page for a full list of recommendations. Here you can find guides, including the ten best yoga poses for pain relief and stress, yoga for runners, and the easiest yoga poses for beginners.
Finn Byrne is a Digital Writer for Immediate Media. He works across several brands including The Recommended, RadioTimes.com, MadeforMums and BBC Gardeners’ World. Finn has previously written for publications including MyLondon, The Mirror, The Express, and The Star. When not writing Finn enjoys spending time on the football pitch and getting stuck into a book.