The best yoga mats are like a quality pair of shoes – they come in a wide variety of sizes, materials, colors, thickness, weights, styles, and textures and can last a lifetime! While there are plenty of yoga mat brands – I have been a Manduka yoga mat girl from day numero uno. When it comes to shoes, I am a red bottoms fanatic. Check my closets and you will see an abundance of both. My Manduka yoga mats (and shoes) each have a story to tell and the good thing is that they are guaranteed to last a lifetime. I’m here to help you choose the best yoga mat available. So, just as with my shoes, the only reason to buy more Manduka mats, is if I want a different style or color!

Now, some serious talk. Buying a yoga mat takes careful consideration and research to ensure that you are investing in the best yoga mat for you. Since there are tons to choose from, it’s easy to get sucked into the hype and end up selecting the wrong one. It pains me to see my students practicing on cheap, slippery yoga mats for which they’ve paid nearly $100. Obviously, they don’t want to trash it because they’ve spent so much, but the risk of injury is real! I’m here to spare you from that drama, so listen up.

My Manduka Yoga Mats

When it comes to the best yoga mat I choose Manduka (and you should too)! I currently have three Manduka mats.I’m gonna’ tell you why I bought and love each mat.

I must say in between rubbing down my aching muscles in yoga teacher training and dreaming of the perfect chaturanga, I had serious mat envy! My yoga teacher would roll out his Manduka Black Mat PRO each day before an exhilarating 90-minute practice, and all the girls would swoon (at the mat of course)! The thickness of this Manduka yoga mat is unparalleled and even if you can’t quite nail the asanas – you can rest assured that this mat will catch you when you fall. I bought the PRO later in my yoga journey after I had sampled around a bit, but I wish I would’ve known about it sooner. The PRO  is not a lightweight- weighing in at 8 pounds, with a thickness of 6 mm. It’s the best overall yoga mat due to its unmatched support and exceptional comfort. Sometimes I take a nap on my mat as for me it symbolizes rest, makes a cushy spot for a short sleep. I suppose that’s an added bonus! The Manduka PRO is made of PVC material and is guaranteed to never wear out. If you are looking for a yoga mat which will absolutely last a lifetime, the Manduka PRO might be the best yoga mat for you.

I bought this mat when I was a refugee from war! I used to work in South Sudan as an aid worker and when I was on my December holidays (2013) a fierce conflict broke out. I traveled from Bangkok to a friend’s place in Kuala Lumpur and I re-turned to yoga for solace. I settled on the Manduka Eko mat as it’s light enough to carry around but substantial enough to not need a second mat underneath. The mat is made from natural tree rubber material, which has not been harvested from the Amazon rainforest. The standard size of this yoga mat is 71 x 26-inches, and also comes in 79 x 26-inches version. The Manduka eko yoga mat features two layers for maximum durability and impermeability. It is free from any toxic materials or plasticizers, foaming agents, and PVC. Overall, the Manduka eko 5mm mat is the most durable natural rubber yoga mat available on the market today. I will always keep this mat because it’s a reminder of how my yoga mat was there for me in a time of intense emotional stress and need. It will always have a place in my yoga mat closet!

 

While I have my eko mat as a lighter option to the  PRO – it cannot compete with my shoes for space in my suitcase. I mean I’m trying to be more yogic, but you know, these things take time. So I was thrilled to discover the eko Superlite aka the Manduka travel mat which can be folded into your carry-on luggage. Hallelujah! Currently, I’ve visited more than 40 countries and I’m a travel-holic indeed – If you are looking for a travel yoga mat that doesn’t cramp your packing style, then the eKO SuperLite might be the best yoga mat for you. It doesn’t take too much space in your backpack or suitcase, and features endless folding options, making your adventure more memorable.

Below I’ve listed the most important factors to consider when shopping for your first yoga mat – or your once-in-a-lifetime replacement.

How to Choose the Best Yoga Mat

  • Material: Most yoga mats are made from Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC), which is incredibly durable and comfortable, offers exceptional floor grip, and is very easy to clean. Moreover, the PVC is latex-free which makes it an ideal option if you have an allergy. This material, however, is not bio-degradable. Fortunately, the Manduka yoga mats made from PVC have a lifetime guarantee so you won’t need to worry about recycling. For me, this is one reason why it’s the best yoga mat.
  • Thickness: Standard yoga mats are typically 1/8-inch thick, whereas the thickest are around 1/4-inch thick. Although you will find others which just 1/16-inch thick – often considered as “travel yoga mats” since they easy to fold and are incredibly lightweight.
  • Stickiness: For improved traction and grip, find mats with raised patterns (tiny grooves or bumps on the surface).
  • Sustainability/Environmental Impact: Non-recyclable mats that do not last a lifetime are pollutants to the environment. Choose a lifetime guarantee PVC mat or an eco-friendly yoga mat made of natural materials such as recycled rubber, organic cotton or jute
  • Price Range: You get what you pay for! If you’re looking for a thick and sticky mat it will cost you more, but it’s worth it. An eco-friendly yoga mat also tends to be towards the higher-end of the price scale but it’s also worth the investment.

Manduka Pro 



PVC

Standard: 7.5 lbs


Extra Long: 9.5 lbs


Standard/Extra Long 6 mm

Standard: 71” x 26” 


Extra Long: 85” x 26”

Bio

degradable: No

Lifetime

Guarantee: Yes 

Traction: Excellent

Durability: 

Excellent

$110

Manduka eko Mat 5mm


Natural tree rubber

Standard: 7 lbs


Long: 8 lbs


Standard/Long: 5mm


71” x 26”

Bio

degradable: Yes

Lifetime 

Guarantee: No

Traction: Excellent

Durability: 

Good

$88

Manduka eko SuperLite


Natural tree rubber


1.5 lbs


1.5mm


68” x 24”

Bio

degradable: Yes

Lifetime 

Guarantee: No

Traction: Good

Durability: 

Good

$42

 

Save 20% off the Mother’s Day Collection with code MOM20 at Manduka.com

If you are new to yoga please see my post on the 7 tips for yoga beginners. Also, check out Manduka’s welcOme Yoga Mat  ($48), which is a beginner-focused yoga mat that has a reversible design with an alignment stripe to help guide poses. Receive 30-Days of Yogaia Free with every welcOMe Mat purchase in Harbour at Manduka.com!

I hope you find your life-long mat 🙂

See sponsorship/affiliate notice here.

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About the author

Lisa Nicol

Hi, I’m Lisa Nicol the founder of She Yogic, and I’m so excited to be part of your yoga journey. I am a RYT 200 Yoga Instructor & Coach with an MSc in Public Health. I have worked in global public health for more than 10 years and specialize in working with people who are new to yoga and those interested in exploring yoga as a form of radical self care. I look forward to meeting you on the mat!

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