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Yoga Mats

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Yoga Mats

A yoga mat serves as a foundation for your practice. It provides support for your body and traction so that your feet and hands don't slip as you move between poses. While many studios and gyms provide mats for shared use, owning your own can be a more hygienic choice.

Most yoga mats work perfectly well for any style of yoga, so your choice will depend on personal preference. The two main factors to consider when choosing a yoga mat are its thickness and material.

Mat Thickness

Thinner mats can help increase stability for styles of yoga with more active poses or balanced, focused poses. Look for mats with textured surfaces for better grip when the poses get more strenuous.

Thicker mats provide extra cushioning for all types of yoga and are great for therapeutic practices. For example, if you enjoy restorative yoga, a style with fewer poses that you hold longer, you may want a softer, more cushioned mat. Thicker mats are also more comfortable for forearm and kneeling poses, and for yogis with tender knees or achy joints. They can, however, be more difficult to balance on during standing poses.

Mat Materials

Materials range from inexpensive PVC to environmentally friendly natural rubber. The material will affect the mat's price, weight, grip and durability.

Eco / natural mats come from a number of sources, including natural rubber, organic cotton and jute. Eco mats are a great choice if sustainability is a priority. They tend to be slightly less grippy on the floor, but their natural texture provides traction for your body.

PVC is a plastic-based material. It's durable, easy to clean and provides excellent floor grip. But PVC mats are not absorbent and can become slippery when you sweat heavily. PVC is latex-free, a benefit to those with latex allergies. It's not biodegradable or as environmentally friendly as other options.

TPE (thermoplastic elastomer) is a synthetic blend, usually of plastic and rubber polymers. TPE mats may be more environmentally friendly than PVC, and some are fully recyclable. TPE mats are generally less durable than PVC mats of the same thickness, but still deliver good traction.

More to Consider

Once you've found a yoga mat you like, gear up for your next workout with yoga clothing and accessories such as yoga towels, yoga props, yoga mat bags and yoga mat holders.

More Reasons to Shop at REI

REI carries top yoga brands like Manduka, Prana and Jade. We offer a broad selection of the best yoga gear to get you ready for your next practice. We also have articles to help you get started with yoga, choose your yoga clothing and learn how to care for your yoga mat.