Having a trusted yoga mat that you absolutely love is essential for any yogi who is looking to connect deeply to their practice on a daily basis. As a 500 hour Registered Yoga Teacher, when I’m looking for the perfect, everyday yoga mat, I want to make sure that the mat is a good fit for both my studio practice and my home practice.
Criteria I Considered While Testing Everyday Yoga Mats
Prior to stepping onto each mat for the first time, I noted its mat thickness, grip, and weight. In addition to these factors, I look for a yoga mat that provides enough support and cushion for my joints, stays put while I’m in Downward-Facing Dog, and isn’t going to move across the floor while I’m transitioning through my poses. One final factor that’s important to me personally is whether or not my mat is made from eco-friendly materials. To determine which mat was the best for daily use, I tested each yoga mat during three flows: one at home, one in a non-heated studio space, and one in a hot studio. Before I share my honest thoughts on these popular yoga mats, I think it’s important to note that what is written below is simply a snippet of my experience, so it could look quite different from person to person based on individual preferences and needs. Yoga is all about your personal experience, and that is exactly what I am sharing with you in the hopes of guiding you in the purchase of your new yoga companion. [sol title=”Manduka ProLite + Towel Set” subheader=”Dimensions: 71”L × 24”W × 4.7mm | Weight 4 lb”] The quality of the Manduka ProLite stood out from the other two yoga mats I reviewed for everyday use. I could tell simply by the feel of the mat under my hands and feet that Manduka’s lifetime guarantee is well worth the investment. In addition to a high-quality mat, this set also comes with a towel in one of two available sizes: standard, which is 72”L × 26.5”W, and extra long, which is 86”L × 26.5”W.
The Manduka ProLite is the lightest of the three mats I reviewed, weighing in at 4 pounds. What I love about Manduka over lululemon is that they’ve managed to keep the comfort and quality of their Manduka Pro while making the ProLite a bit lighter to transport to and from class. Not only is the quality of this mat in a league of its own, but it’s also very comfortable. It has a thickness of nearly 5mm, making it comparable to lululemon’s Reversible Mat (more on this product later), and for me, the amount of cushion was perfect since I prefer a thicker mat to protect my joints and make seated postures more comfortable. This Manduka ProLite yoga mat provided me with more than enough support. The Manduka towel is almost like a mat in its own right. The grip is superb, especially when it gets wet. The towel stayed firmly in place through an extremely hot class and provided more grip than the mat itself, making this mat towel a worthwhile investment (especially for hot yoga).
Speaking of the towel, this naturally brings me to my next point: the slip and grip (or lack thereof) of the Manduka ProLite. I first used this mat in a warm class where the temperature was at 85 degrees, and I slid everywhere. It didn’t matter what pose I was in, I was moving constantly—to the point that it became a huge distraction. About halfway through my class, I put my towel on top of the mat and it was a game changer. The towel absorbed sweat, dried quickly, and was just as comfortable as the mat. Wondering if I was the only one to experience this slipping issue, I did some research and found that this was a common problem found all across the board with Manduka mats. Fortunately, I found a video made by Manduka that explains how to break in the yoga mat and why doing so is a must before you start practicing with this mat.
I ran through the process that Manduka recommends for breaking the ProLite in and I must admit, it’s well worth the time it takes. I experienced a huge difference in the grip of the mat and can now practice freely without any distractions. If you’re willing to put in the time to break it in, the Manduka ProLite is well worth the investment and comes with a lifetime guarantee. If you’re looking for a mat that you can roll out and use immediately in heated and non-heated settings, this may not be the best fit for your practice.[sol title=”lululemon Reversible 5mm Mat” subheader=”Dimensions: 71”L × 26”W × 5mm | Weight: 5.24 lb”] On a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being the most durable for everyday use), I would give the lululemon Reversible 5mm Mat an 8. It’s made from polyurethane, which makes it extremely durable for both home practice and studio classes. The mat also has a natural rubber base that provides extra cushion and a strong grip.
This yoga mat had the best grip out of the three that I tested for everyday use. I also would consider this mat to be the most durable out of the three. Did I mention that the grip on this mat is insanely impressive? I felt comfortable and confident being fully planted in my Downward-Facing Dog knowing that I’m not going to slip or slide anywhere—in both hot classes and non-heated classes. Before you fully break this mat in, the grip is almost so intense that transitions can be a little rough, but this will wear off with time and use (or by placing a yoga mat towel on top). If you plan on using this mat solely for hot classes, I would suggest getting The Towel from lululemon to prevent extra moisture from getting directly onto the mat since this can result in staining. This mat also features an antimicrobial additive that prevents mold and mildew from forming, which really comes in handy during the times where you’re not able to clean the mat with warm water and soap after every practice. This is definitely a feature that I would look for if I was going to use this mat solely for hot yoga classes.
When you first purchase this mat you will likely notice a strong rubber-like smell. I recommend rolling this mat out once you return home and leaving it to air out for several days prior to your first use. This smell will go away over time, even if it stays rolled up (but it may take slightly longer than if the mat is completely rolled out). The care instructions for this yoga mat recommend cleaning with warm, soapy water. Seeing that this isn’t always an option when you’re practicing at a studio, this mat is a little more difficult to clean and take care of. A lot of studios will provide their own cleaner and I’ve noticed that any kind of mat cleaner with an oil base will stain this mat and compromise the grip over time. If you decide to purchase this mat, you’ll want to make sure you dedicate the time to washing and caring for it properly to extend the life of your yoga mat. In addition to oil-based cleaners threatening the integrity and appearance of the mat, I’ve noticed that the sticky rubber side will wear down over time if you’re not protecting it with a towel and taking the extra time to clean the mat with warm, soapy water on a regular basis.
One other thing to mention about this mat is its weight. Unlike the Jade Harmony, this lululemon mat is very heavy. I would recommend purchasing the Loop It Up Mat Strap or The Yoga Bag for carrying it to and from the studio. The Yoga Bag is my top pick because I can fit my towel, car keys, and other small items in the pockets. Lululemon does also have a reversible 3mm mat option if you’re after a yoga mat that is more portable and lightweight. Out of the three yoga mats I reviewed for this category, I would say lululemon’s Reversible 5mm Mat performed the best in terms of cushion and comfort due to the natural rubber base that provides an extra bit of support in poses where your knees and wrists are bearing weight. With that being said, there was one yoga mat that outperformed the lululemon reversible mat.[sol title=”Jade Harmony Mat” subheader=”Dimensions: 68”, 71”, or 74”L × 24”W × 4.76mm | Weight: About 5 lb”] Jade mats are tapped from rubber trees that are a natural and renewable resource. They are free from PVC, EVA, and any other synthetic materials. Jade takes pride in their mats being the first ever “green” and non-toxic yoga mats of their kind. As an added bonus, Jade also plants a tree for every mat they sell and has planted over one million trees thus far!
The rubber material provided a soft but durable feel for my hands and feet in every pose. I never felt the need to prop up on a blanket for extra cushion since my wrists and knees were fully supported and comfortable. This yoga mat is the perfect balance of non-slip with just a little bit of give that enables easy transitions when you’re moving through a Vinyasa-style practice. The grip on the Jade Harmony mat provided me with the exact amount of non-slip resistance I look for when doing my everyday practice. For my hot class, I chose not to use a mat towel. The rubber material has a great way of absorbing any extra moisture from sweat while still maintaining its grip. I did have a towel handy throughout my practice but did not feel the need to lay it down on the mat while I was moving through my flow. Practicing on this mat, I felt completely distraction-free both at home and throughout both of my studio classes. One factor that sets the Jade Harmony Mat apart from the other higher priced, non-slip mats is its lightweight feel and ease of travel. I can easily roll up this mat and don’t have to worry about lugging it in a bag or using a strap due to it being too heavy. This feature makes this mat a great travel companion since it can easily fit into your carry-on or suitcase.
If I were to name one downfall of this mat it would be the length. If you’re purchasing the Jade Harmony Mat for $74.95, which is the cheapest of the three lengths available, you’re getting a mat that’s only 68 inches long. I found myself adjusting my body up and down so that my hands and feet wouldn’t wind up on the bare floor. That being said, Jade does offer a variety of lengths for the Harmony mat, but as the length increases, so does the price.
Just like any other yoga mat, the Jade Harmony Mat will wear down over time with consistent use. I have also noticed that the grip gets a little more slippery with time (I’ve had mine for years—proving that it is a worthy investment!). The material itself, however, is still holding up beautifully—no flakes or rips at all. The grip of the Jade Harmony mat is exactly what I need to stay in place in Downward Dog but has enough give that I can transition smoothly through my flow. It’s extremely lightweight and easy to transport in and out of the studio. It’s also a great travel companion that packs nicely without taking up too much space. Last but not least, Jade believes in something bigger and gives back to the community in such a meaningful way, which really resonates with me. Out of the three mats reviewed for best everyday mat, the Jade Harmony is my winner. I would say that this product is 100 percent worth the value if you have a regular yoga practice. It’s something that you’re going to use all the time, and I have to say, having a Jade mat makes me want to practice more! I get genuinely excited to roll this mat out every single time I’m ready to greet my practice.