best yoga mats

Yoga Mats: Test & Reviews

Author: Manuel Heitmann

Coach & Fitness Expert

Welcome to our great yoga mat review. Here we present you all of the yoga mats that we have tested. We have compiled detailed background information for you.

We want to make the purchase decision easier for you and help you find the best yoga mat for you.

You can also find answers to frequently asked questions in our guide. You will find important information on this page that you should definitely pay attention to if you want to buy a yoga mat.

There are two points of criticism that are particularly common with a yoga mat: a strong chemical odor and pressure points. What has improved significantly, however, is the coasting behavior. Most of the mats stay nice and smooth on the floor and no longer roll up independently (as was the problem in the past). Our excellent consumer portal has selected the best yoga mats based on external tests and customer ratings. The yoga mats made of natural materials such as cork are also worth mentioning here. Chemical smell is no longer a problem here, but at just 0.3 or 0.5 cm they are much harder than 1.5 cm thick comfort mats.

Some manufacturers supply the yoga mats with fixing straps, alternatively you can also use an extra yoga bag. In both cases, the mats are rolled up to give them a handy format. There are also foldable yoga mats. In our yoga mat test 2020 we examined various mats with a view to the criteria mentioned and also considered the use of harmful substances. This is especially important for sensitive people. Certifications such as those awarded by Oeko-Tex, for example, give the all-clear.

  • Yoga mats are made from different materials. These include various plastics and rubber, cotton and virgin wool and cork. Some substances can contain harmful substances that can cause allergies. Here it is advisable to look for a seal of approval.
  • Yoga mats should be between 2 and 15 millimeters thick for optimal execution of the exercises. In demanding forms of yoga such as Ashtanga yoga and power yoga, the thickness should be small and the hardness high. Other forms of yoga can also be performed well with softer mats.

Best Yoga Mats

Questions to Consider Before Buying A Yoga Mat

What is a yoga mat?

Yoga mats are documents that have been specially produced with a view to the requirements of the yoga directions. Your task is to optimally support the yoga student by their nature in performing their exercises and at the same time to protect their health.

The dimensions of the yoga mats and, in particular, the material properties are essential for achieving these goals. The mats must be suitable to offer the yoga students a firm and safe stand. To ensure this is permanent, good yoga mats have a high degree of dimensional stability. This is understood to mean the ability of the material to return to its original state after a long-term deformation of the surface.

In addition, the optimal thickness and high slip resistance ensure stability. For hygienic reasons, a good yoga mat is also characterized by the possibility of easy cleaning.

For the body-hugging and sometimes strenuous forms of yoga such as hatha yoga, ashtanga yoga and power yoga, mats with a low thickness, a relatively high density and a non-slip surface are required. With these prerequisites, they allow on the one hand a firm and at the same time comfortable stand and on the other hand a safe change between different figures. Since these forms of yoga can be very sweaty, the mats must be easy to clean.

For quieter forms such as Kundalini yoga, you can also use slightly thicker yoga mats. However, it should also be ensured that the body is supported by the yoga mat in its natural posture and does not sink into it. The purpose of the yoga mat is to reduce the pressure on the parts of the body that are resting on it for a longer period of time and thus to increase comfort. You can also use these yoga mats for Pilates exercises.

In our yoga mat test, we have thoroughly tested various mats with a view to the most important properties and determined the ten yoga mats comparison test winners. These have achieved the highest points in the set criteria and are perfect for performing the respective form of yoga.

How does a yoga mat work?

The function of a yoga mat is to protect the yoga student from pressure pain and injuries while performing his exercises and to make it easier to perform the respective exercises. In many respects they are similar to the very similar exercise mats. Both have similar dimensions and protect the athlete from the influences of the ground – i.e. cold and dirt. With the same material, the decisive difference is the thickness of the mats. We found out why this is so in our yoga mat test.

Since yoga exercises are carried out standing, sitting, squatting and lying down, a yoga mat must offer sufficient space for the person performing it. It must also be considered that the yoga student may not be able to hold an exercise and will fall over.

The yoga mat absorbs most of these falls and thus also serves to protect against injuries. As a guideline, it is therefore recommended that the length of the yoga mat should be 10 to 20 centimeters above the body’s length. In most cases, this can be done well with the standard dimensions of 60 centimeters wide and 180 centimeters long. For taller people there are yoga mats with a length of up to 200 centimeters.

In addition to the space, the yoga mats have a certain thickness. This is between 2 and 15 millimeters and is a clear distinction from the exercise mats. Their thickness is between 15 and 25 millimeters. The consequence of the lower thickness of the yoga mats is a greater hardness with identical material. This prevents the body from sinking too deeply, especially during physical exercises, as this would result in an unstable stance.

At the same time, the mat counteracts the pressure of the body on the floor and prevents the counter pressure and the associated pain. In the quieter forms of yoga, in which a resting position is maintained over a longer period of time, this can also be achieved with softer mats.

However, too high a thickness prevents the yoga positions from developing their optimal effect.

Advantages & areas of application

The great advantage of yoga exercises is that they can be carried out spontaneously almost anytime and anywhere: at home in front of the TV, at a class in the sports club or on the lawn in the park. But the exercises can also be carried out without any problems during the lunch break in the office, on business trips in the hotel or on vacation at the beach. All you need is some space and your yoga mat.

This flexibility is of course included in the development of yoga mats. The mats are manufactured with a view to the lowest possible weight, easy handling and a small footprint. In the majority of cases, the yoga mats are transported as a roll, but there are also foldable versions.

When performing the exercises, a yoga mat offers protection from the influences of the environment. This mainly includes dirt, moisture or cold in public spaces or outdoors. In addition, an appropriate coating on the underside prevents the yoga mat from slipping. In addition, the mat evens out any unevenness and insulates the influence of hard surfaces.

On the other hand, the yoga mats increase comfort by enabling you to stand firmly on the one hand and lying down without pressure on the other. This allows you to concentrate completely on the individual movement sequences or on achieving a meditative state.
The use of a yoga mat makes sense for every form of yoga. The only differences are the demands on the thickness of the yoga mat. The firmer the mat, the better it supports demanding physical yoga exercises, while softer mats are conducive to relaxation exercises. Firmer yoga mats are also recommended for beginners in yoga teaching. For more experienced yoga students who practice several forms of yoga, mats with a thickness of 60 centimeters offer a good compromise.

What types of yoga Mats are available?

At first glance, yoga mats can hardly be distinguished from exercise mats. As a rule, these are colorful plastic mats that are 180 centimeters long and at least 60 centimeters wide and are optimally adapted to the average body size of people and usually have a non-slip underside. The main differences between the individual mats are the hardness and thickness of the mats. The relevant purpose is decisive. We would like to explain why this is so in our yoga mat test.

Typical exercise mats are between 15 and 25 millimeters thick and made of a relatively soft plastic. This makes them well suited to reducing the pressure on the stressed parts of the body and joints during dynamic exercises that are performed in multiple repetitions. Exercises that have this effect include, for example, sit-ups, hip lifts or “cycling”. The greater softness of the exercise mats also encourages you to push your own limits, because it is possible at any time to drop onto the mat without risking a painful impact. Exercise mats are unsuitable for catching higher jumps or the like.

A Pilates mat is between 8 to 15 millimeters thick and slightly harder than an exercise mat. It offers the optimal basis for the proper execution of the Pilates exercises. The reduced softness in comparison to the exercise mat prevents the body from sinking too deep into the mat during the holding and support exercises and thereby distorting its posture. This is important because improving posture is the stated goal of Pilates. At the same time, the mats are still sufficiently soft that holding the respective positions is not uncomfortable.

The thickness of the yoga mats ranges from 2 to 15 millimeters and thus overlaps that of the Pilates mats. In fact, these can also be used in yoga, with Hatha yoga and Kundalini yoga being particularly suitable because of the appropriate framework conditions.
The thickness and hardness are sufficient to carry out the change of the individual asanas without any problems and to be able to get involved in the relaxation exercises. In the more physically demanding types of yoga such as Ashtanga yoga or power yoga, the thickness of the mat should be less and the hardness higher. The yoga mat only increases the comfort of the stand, sinking in too high must be prevented in order to improve stability.

What do I have to look out for when buying a yoga Mat?

As the extensive list of our test criteria shows, there are a lot to consider when buying a yoga mat. Above all, it is important that the mat suits both the desired yoga form and personal preferences. In addition, the local conditions – for example the hard PVC floor in the fitness center, the soft carpet at home or the damp meadow in the park – should be taken into account when choosing the material. Last but not least, you should of course make sure that the quality of the mat is good. In addition to durability, this also includes, above all, freedom from harmful substances, as you are in close contact with the mat during the exercises.

With regard to the yoga form, we recommend the following rule of thumb: The firmer the mat, the better it supports demanding physical yoga exercises, while softer mats are conducive to relaxation exercises. You should also consider the type of surface on which you would prefer to use the yoga mat. On a solid floor, a plastic mat 4 millimeters thick can be perceived as too thin, while it is the optimal choice on soft surfaces such as carpets or grass. If you train on different floors, a mat with a thickness between 6 and 8 millimeters is often a good compromise.

Of course, it is also important that your mat is non-slip. In the case of mats made of plastic, this is usually not a problem due to the material. The situation is different with mats made from natural materials. Especially with yoga mats made of new wool and cotton, it is important to ensure that the underside is coated accordingly. If you prefer a purely natural product, you can also use an anti-slip cover.

If you want to use the yoga mat in different places and have to transport it frequently, you should pay attention to the transport properties. In this context, the weight, space requirements and handiness of the mat are important.

ADVERTISEMENT

The lightest mats weigh less than a kilogram and are usually made of plastic or cork. The space required depends mainly on the thickness and on whether the mat is rolled or folded. When rolled, the mats are a bit more compact and can therefore be stowed more easily in the sports bag. Often there are also straps or yoga bags for transport. It is worth taking a look at the accessories here. When folded, it is easier to carry the mat individually using a shoulder strap. It can then also be used as a seat pad.

Some providers prove that their yoga mats are free from harmful substances with the help of the Oeko-Tex certificate. The label Confidence in Textiles is awarded to textiles whose content of harmful substances is below the legally prescribed limit values. If there is no label, you can – within limits – rely on your nose. A strong chemical smell that does not dissipate within the first day is a good reason to return the yoga mat.

Where is the best place to buy my yoga mat?

Nowadays, yoga mats are offered almost everywhere: in specialist shops for sporting goods, in well-stocked supermarkets with their own sports department and of course on the Internet. As with most articles, in the case of yoga mats, the question arises as to whether buying from local specialist shops is preferable to buying on the Internet. Of course, there are good reasons for both the specialist trade and the Internet. That is why we have tested both variants in our yoga mat test and would now like to pass on our experience to you.

What speaks for the specialist trade is that you can test the yoga mats using four of your senses. You can see whether the color is what you want and whether all the seams have been properly sewn. You can smell whether the mat emits a chemical odor or whether it has an unpleasant odor of its own. You can feel whether the mat has the right thickness and firmness and whether the texture is comfortable for you. You may even be able to hear if the material is making any unpleasant noises. Another great advantage is that you can get advice from a specialist regarding the mat.

On the Internet, of course, you have to forego direct use of your senses and personal advice from specialist retailers. But you can easily compensate for this shortcoming. A large number of offers from various providers are available to you online, all of which you can easily and quickly compare with one another. As a decision-making aid, many retailers offer you the option of sorting the articles from different suppliers according to common criteria in order to compare them with one another. Another option is to directly compare different articles. The customer ratings are also very helpful, especially if the dealer allows you to leave comments.

There are also numerous websites on the Internet with tips on how to use yoga mats. In many cases, there are people behind the pages who have practiced yoga for years and want to share their experiences with others.
Often there are not only tips on choosing and maintaining the right yoga mat, but also additional information on the various forms of yoga. Exercises are often explained in detail by a text and supplemented with images – either a photo series or a video recording.

In our yoga mat test, we found both options very pleasant. Personal on-site advice at a specialist retailer is a very pleasant option and cannot be replaced by a really competent specialist retailer. Here you have the opportunity to ask personal questions and, if necessary, even test the mat. In contrast, the Internet offers a large number of different providers that can be easily compared with each other and thus lead to some bargains. Reviews from other customers reflect personal impressions that the dealer will not have. If you have more specific questions, you usually have the option of contacting online customer service. These are often manned even over the weekend.

The great flexibility in shopping on the Internet and the possibility of getting a bargain were the decisive factors for us in favor of the Internet.

Frequently Asked Questions: Yoga Mats

How big should a yoga mat be?

As a guide, a yoga mat should be at least 10 centimeters longer than your body. The standard size is therefore a good 180 centimeters. Most mats also have a width of 60 centimeters.

Which yoga mats can allergy sufferers use?

Of course, that depends on the allergy. But as a rule, mats made of natural fibers are particularly suitable for allergy sufferers, with cork mats specifically being certified as having an anti-allergic effect. Caution is advised with natural rubber, as it can cause a latex allergy.

How thick should a yoga mat be?

Since the thickness also depends on the strength of the material, there is no absolute value. With plastic mats, you are generally well advised to have a mat thickness between 4 and 8 millimeters.

How to clean a Yoga Mat?

A damp cloth is usually sufficient for cleaning. In the case of very stubborn soiling, a very diluted soap solution can also be used; it is worth trying a hidden place here. There are also cleaning sprays or, if necessary, the option of machine cleaning the mat.

How should a yoga mat be stored?

At home, the mats are often rolled up or stored folded if necessary. If the mat is stored for a very long time, it is worthwhile to keep the mat unrolled if possible. This prevents the mat from permanently rolling up the ends. In addition, the storage location should be warm and dry and not exposed to direct sunlight.

ADVERTISEMENT