Life

The Best Yoga Mats of 2016

we tested the new crop—so you don’t have to. Use our guide to find your mat match.

Ah, the yoga mat: It’s arguably the only piece of equipment you really need to practice, and it can make or break a class. Start sliding all over a too-slick surface and there goes your alignment; try to hold Low Lunge on a too-thin mat and bam: knee pain. Yet with so many options when it comes to materials, designs, and price, it can be tough to single out The One. That’s why we tested the new crop—so you don’t have to. Use our guide to find your mat match, and in honor of September’s National Yoga Month, enter now to win one of our favorites.

Have Mat, Will Travel

On the road a lot? Jade’s new Voyager mat takes up about as much space in your suitcase as a pair of folded jeans—and at 1.7 pounds, it’s lighter. We also love the YOGO Mat Ultralight, which has a built-in carrying handle that makes it perfect for far-away festivals.

$35, purple mat, jadeyoga.com
$69, green mat, yogo.net

See also 10 Spa Vacations for Yogis

Follow a Pattern

Liforme mat

Not only did the Liforme mat take no time to break in—and by “no time,” we mean the mat kept us in place from our very first Down Dog—it also has a subtle graphic that helps newbies figure out proper foot and hand placement. Bonus: It’s made from planet-friendly naturally sourced rubber.

$140, us.liforme.com

See also 6 Gorgeous (and Wildly Creative!) Yoga Mat Designs We Love

Stick to It

There’s nothing worse than your hands and feet sliding all over a mat, and our testers with the sweatiest extremities loved the stickiness of the Jade Harmony. Bonus: All of Jade’s mats are super sticky, and you can choose from vari- ous thicknesses and gorgeous colors to find one that feels customized for you.

$75, jadeyoga.com

See also Video: The Live Be Yoga Tour Visits the JadeYoga Mat Factory

High Art

Magic Carpet Yoga Mats

Want a mat that motivates by beauty and will score you compliments every time you roll it out? California-based artist Sophie Leininger hand-paints designs that she prints onto her Magic Carpet Yoga Mats. Yet these aren’t just pretty mats: Our testers didn’t slip in the slightest on the non- latex PVC surface.

$98, magiccarpetym.com

See also 5 Kids Yoga Mats We Love

Teachers’ Faves

manduka mats

The Manduka Black Mat PRO ($108) and PROlite ($80, shown here in red) are the top choices of many yoga teachers for good reason: They’re sticky from the get-go, offer good cushioning, and last so long you won’t have to take advantage of the lifetime guarantee.

$108, The Manduka Black Mat Pro, manduka.com
$80, PROlite, manduka.com

See also 5 Beautiful Yoga Mats to Enhance Your Practice

Earth Lovers’ Delight

BareFoot Yoga Co.’s Original Eco Yoga jute mat

BareFoot Yoga Co.’s Original Eco Yoga jute mat is made from all-natural rubber and hessian, the material woven from jute fiber, making it one of the most sustainable on the market. Even better, our testers loved how sticky it was from the outset.

$72, barefootyoga.com

See also Self-Rolling Sticky Mat: Adding Slap Bracelet Technology to Savasana

Some Like It Hot

Yoga Design Lab’s gorgeous Combo Mat

Yoga Design Lab’s gorgeous Combo Mat has a suedelike towel texture on top that sops up sweat and keeps you from slipping when that hot yoga class gets super steamy.

$68, yogadesignlab.com

See also The Best Yoga Mat for a Seaside Practice

The Cal-King Mat

PrAna’s Large E.C.O. Yoga Mat

PrAna’s Large E.C.O. Yoga Mat is a generous 76 inches long by 30 inches wide—perfect for tall yogis or simply spreading (way) out in Savasana.

$60, prana.com

See also Ask The Expert: Is The “New Yoga Mat” Smell Toxic?

Light as a Feather

Wai Lana’s Yogi Mat

Looking for a lightweight mat to carry to class on foot or via bike or public transportation? Wai Lana’s Yogi Mat is your new portable go-to.

$22, wailana.com

See also 5 Road Trip Gear Essentials for the Traveling Yogi

Save Your Knees

CALYANA Professional Yoga Mat

At a quarter-plus-inch thick, the CALYANA Professional Yoga Mat feels downright cushy compared to most others, yet it’s still light- weight enough to tote to class without a hassle.

$99, calyana-yoga.com

See also Ask the Expert: Do Studio Yoga Mats Spread Infection?

More Bang for Your Buck

Gaiam’s Sol Dry-Grip Yoga Mat

Gaiam’s Sol Dry-Grip Yoga Mat is an all-around great mat, thanks to rubber-free material (read: it’s not as stinky as some rubber mats initially are) and a polyurethane top layer that wicks away moisture and provides a slip-free grip.

$70, gaiam.com

See also Asana Essentials: Yoga Mats to Enhance Your Practice

Get a Dry-Grip

lululemon athletica designed The Reversible Mat 5mm

Oftentimes, dry-grip rubber mats don’t offer much cushioning. But lululemon athletica designed The Reversible Mat 5mm to feel softer on your knees and hips in floor poses. Plus, our testers’ hands didn’t budge—no matter how hot and sweaty class got.

$68, lululemon.com

See also The Truth About the PVC in Your Yoga Mat

Best Yoga Rugs

They were used in India for centuries, and now yoga rugs are a growing trend. Our testers loved Yogasana’s Earth Yoga Mat and Barefoot Yoga Co.’s Extra Long Mysore Practice Rug. Both have a tight weave that feels smooth on hands and feet, and are made of grippy, 100 percent cotton that works whether palms are dry or a bit moist. Bonus: They’re machine washable.

$95, blue, yogasanamats.com
$55, brown, barefootyoga.com

See also 3 Powerful Lessons Learned from a Deep Dive into India’s Yoga

The Crowd Pleaser

Hugger Mugger’s Para Rubber Yoga Mat

Hugger Mugger’s Para Rubber Yoga Mat is the Goldilocks of the yoga-mat world: It’s just right when it comes to comfort, support, and grip. The mat is made from natural rubber that has a soft texture, its 1⁄4-inch thickness means plenty of padding, and it provides solid traction so that you won’t slip—starting with your first use.

$80, huggermugger.com

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Instant Inspiration

Affirmats Classic

With mantras like “breathe in love,” “i am enough,” instant and “you are awesome,” Affirmats Classic and XLong mats are a great choice if you need that empowerment nudge.

$76-$86, affirmats.com

See also Stoke Your Spirit: 31 Daily Mantras + Affirmations

Multitasker

Kulae’s Elite Hybrid mat

It’s a double-duty genius: Kulae’s Elite Hybrid mat combines a mat and towel in one, with the top layer made from a sweat-absorbant bamboo/microfiber blend and a bottom layer constructed from eco-friendly polymer environmental resin (PER) that kept the mat perfectly in place on jump-through after jump-through.

$68, kulae.com

See also 6 Yoga Towels for Surviving Sweaty Practices

mat giveaway

Enter to win one of these mats.