I bought my first yoga mat in college. Okay fine, my mom bought it for me.
Through the years, I’ve tried a bunch of different mats. Honestly, if you’re a beginner, I wouldn’t be too concerned with spending all of your money. But don’t just pick up an any ol’ mat. Mats are obviously very important to yoga practices. Of course, you can really do yoga anywhere and on every surface, but there’s something oddly special about stepping onto a mat you love.
While I cannot speak to this personally, this mat has gotten some good reviews. Honestly, you get what you pay for though. I’ve been reading that you get a few months of good use out of this mat. It’s a thicker mat, which is great for spine, knee, and hand/wrist/elbow support. This mat also comes with a free mat strap!
Price: Start around $21, and goes up based on premium styles
My very first yoga mat was from Gaiam. I signed up for a 3-credit course in college because I really wanted to learn the practice. This mat was the one that got me through a year or so of my beginner practice. For the cheaper options, I do find they are a little less supportive (I like a medium-thickness with my mats). I know their mats have good non-slip surfaces, and also come with a lifetime guarantee. Bonus points for being made with sustainable materials (latex free, no harmful phthalates).
I was introduced to Manduka when I started dating Nick. He absolutely LOVES Manduka, and I’ve learned to love their products as well. The two mats I am a BIG fan of are the eKO series and the GRP series. Their great for different reasons, but seriously cannot go wrong with any of them!
GRP: This lightweight mat is still heavy duty. I originally purchased this mat because I went to a lot of hot yoga classes, and hated feeling like I was slipping if I didn’t bring my own mat. The “lite” version is better for travel, and it is designed to have no-slip grips no matter how much you’re sweating. They use a charcoal-infused rubber technology to absorb sweat and eliminate odor. Even though I’m not going to hot yoga classes (UGH, can’t wait), I still use this mat for daily practice and yoga sculpt classes.
eKO: As I started brainstorming for this post, I acutally purchsed the eKO Lite mat for my at home practice — it’s the mat I’m using above! This mat feels naturally grippy, and I really do enjoy practicing on this mat and I don’t lose grip at all. Another great selling point of this mat is that it’s eco-friendly and biodegradable. If you’re looking to (eventually) lug your mat around, the SUPER LIGHT 1.5MM is probably your best option.
The main difference between these mats are basically how they’re made. The main benefit of the GRP mat is the stickiness capability. The mat stays in place and I can definitely vouch for that.
I’ve never owned a Jade mat, but I’ve used them at different studios. I enjoy these mats a lot, but never looked into buying. I find a lot of stability with these mats, so if you’re looking for something on the higher end — these are for you! They’re also eco-friendly. And for every mat sold, they plant one free!
Yoga mats are personal preference, and you definitely need to find one that makes YOU excited to get on your mat and practice.