Whether you have an advanced yoga practice, or you are just starting out, the right yoga mat can make a big difference to how comfortable you feel and how well you perform. Invest in yourself by investing in a yoga mat that enhances your mobility, tranquillity, and joy.
We are going to take you through everything you need to know about yoga mats, including size, thickness, material, and design, so you know what is important when it comes to choosing your mat. We will also recommend what we think are the eight best yoga mats on the UK, no matter your budget or experience level.
As a yoga teacher I also know how common it is for people to neglect looking after their mats, so I’ll make sure to leave you some expert tips on caring for your mat as well!
Yoga Mat UK Buying Guide
So, what exactly should you be considering when choosing your yoga mat?
Here are the six things we think are the most important (plus a bonus extra!)
Standard yoga mats are 24 inches by 68-72 inches, and if you plan on taking your mat to a studio with you, it is worth investing in this size as there is not always space for a larger mat.
However, if the mat is for your own individual practice, and you like to have a bit more space to spread out, of course, you can go for something bigger.
Standard yoga mats are between 1/8 and ¼ of an inch thick. This thickness is designed to be cushy enough on your joints when sitting, kneeling or lying, but stable enough not to trip you up when undertaking postures that demand balance.
You can get thicker mats that provide additional cushioning, if this is something that you feel like you need for your joints. But remember, a thicker mat will also be heavier and bulkier for transport.
You can also get thinner mats that allow you to connect with the floor more firmly when doing certain movements. They also fold away to almost nothing, and therefore can be useful when travelling.
Most standard yoga mats are made from vinyl or PVC, as these tend to last a long time. But a lot of yogis are turning away from these mats due to their environmental impact. Toxic chemicals can be used in their production, and they don’t tend to be biodegradable, so once discarded, they can sit in landfill forever.
A lot of companies are now making more eco-friendly mats made out of cotton, jute, or recycled rubber, but you should expect to pay a little more for these.
The texture of a yoga mat is designed to help you grip. For this reason, some people like a rougher texture which allows them to really cling to the mat with their feet and hands. But others find that this causes chaffing and irritation, and prefer a mat with a smoother, less sticky texture.
Now we are moving beyond functionality to aesthetic preference, but that doesn’t mean that its not important. Yoga is supposed to be something that brings you joy and pleasure. If you are using a mat in a horrible shade of fuchsia that someone gave you as a present, it can diminish your joy. Choose something that you like.
If you are a beginner to yoga, you can also invest in a mat with guiding lines that help you get your hands and feet in optimal positions to perform some of the movements.
Cost is a consideration that should not be overlooked, especially as there is no need to pay a small fortune for a yoga mat, there are plenty of budget friendly options on the market. But do consider the true economy of buying a “cheap” mat.
If you get a budget mat that only lasts about six months before it starts to lose its bounciness and grip, and starts to smell really bad, is that really more affordable than a mat that costs you twice the price and lasts five years?
When getting your yoga mat, there are two principal extras you might want to consider as well.
1. Yoga Mat Towel
If you do hot yoga, or you are just the type the sweats a lot, you might want to consider getting a yoga mat cover, such as a yoga towel. It should be about the same size as your yoga mat and have some kind of grip mechanism that allows it to cling to the mat.
This will improve your practice when you are sweating, as you sweat will not soak into the mat and make it slippery and uncomfortable. It will also extend the life of your mat as it soaks up less sweat over time.
We recommend towels from Yogabasics as our favourite yoga mat cover.
Even experienced yogis sometimes used blocks to get deeper into certain positions, and for new yogis, they can be a vital tool for attempting even some of the more basic poses. Don’t forget to invest in two nice yoga blocks to assist your practice.
8 Best Yoga Mats Reviewed
Now that we have a pretty good idea of what makes a good yoga mat, we have come up with a list of eight of the best that you can order today and have delivered to your doorstep.
Our goal during our review was to find the right range that would meet your needs whether you were a beginner or expert, and options that covered all types of budget. Luckily there was no shortage of options to try! We looked at standard mats, large mats, travel mats, thick and thin mats. All of these can be great depending on your needs.
In the end these were our final picks. We’re sure there’s something here to suit everyone!
JadeYoga Harmony – Best Overall Yoga Mat
Available in a wide variety of colours, this is a “standard” but premium yoga mat. It might not do anything extra, but what it does, it does well.
Standard size at 71 by 24 inches it is 3/16 of an inch thick, making it on the thinner side that many yoga practitioners prefer when looking for a balance of traction and cushioning.
The mat is made from natural rubber, sourced from renewable sources, and contains no synthetic or ozone-depleting substances. The rubber in this may also give it a natural grippiness, without the need for complex patterning that some yogis find uncomfortable or distracting.
- Standard Size 21 by 24 inches
- 1/16 inch thick
- Good balance of traction and cushioning
- Natural grip
- Made with no synthetic or ozone-depleting materials
IUGA Non-Slip – Best Affordable Yoga Mat
Another standard size, ¼ inch yoga mat, this mat is designed for both comfort and performance. It is double sided, with the lower side ridged to grip the floor, and the top side designed to be both comfortable and non-stick. The mat is also durable with an anti-tear mesh layer running through its core.
This attractive yoga mat is standard size at 72 by 24 inches, and at the thick end of standard at ¼ inch thick. Plus, it comes in five different dual colour combinations, so you should be able to find something that suits your taste. It is designed to be non-slip, with a wave grip texture that helps the mat stick to the floor, and an anti-slip surface for under your feet. Weighing just two pounds, you can take it anywhere.
This mat is also made from thermoplastic elastomers (TPE), which is eco-friendly, non-toxic and recyclable, so you can feel like you are investing in something that is good for you, and good for the environment.
- Standard size 72 by 24 inches
- 1/4 inch thick
- Range of colour options
- Floor and top grip
- Non-toxic and recyclable
Aurora Synergy 2 in 1 – Best Mat for Hot Yoga
This standard size ¼ inch yoga mat deals with the problem of your towel slipping around on your yoga mat by integrating the two. The mat bonds a 5mm PER yoga mat bottom with a lush, non-slip micro-fibre top. This means that your grip actually gets better rather than worse as this mat gets wet. In fact, it is advisable to spray a little water on your hands and feet before beginning your practice. All in all, that makes this one of the best yoga mats for hot yoga.
Despite the way it absorbs sweat, this mat does not pick up odours, and can smell fresh even after a week of use. If this is the type of model that appeals to you, you will only get it from Aurorae as it is US Patent Protected. There are currently six different colours to choose from. The mat is also guaranteed to be non-toxic, as it is free from latex, silicone, rubber, and phthalates.
- Standard size 72 by 24 inches
- 1/4 inch thick
- Integrated mat and towel
- Grip improves with moisture
Liforme – Best Yoga Mat for Beginners
A slightly larger than normal mat, this mat gives you plenty of space to move around with its generous 72 by 26 inches, and it is a nice 4 mm thick. It is also made from a special “GripForMe” material which allows you to keep firm contact with the mat, even when your hands and feet are sweaty. The material is sustainable natural rubber topped with a eco-polyurethane, which means that the mat is also non-toxic and biodegradable.
The mat comes in an array of bright colours, each etched with a patented “AlignForMe” system that helps you position your body in the right place to get the most out of certain yoga poses.
When you purchase this mat on Amazon you get a stylish Liforme Yoga Mat bag as well so you can easily take it with you wherever you go.
- Large size 72 by 26 inches
- 4mm thick
- Guide marks for perfecting poses
- Non-slip, biodegradable material
- Yoga mat bag included
Manduka eKo Superlite Travel – Best Travel Yoga Mat
While yoga mats are designed to be easy to carry around with you, they are not designed to fit into a packed suitcase. But this lightweight yoga mat from Manduka is designed to do exactly that. This thin yoga mat is designed to roll or fold down flat to fit in the bottom of your suitcase.
This mat achieves this by being just 0.06 inches thick. This means that while the mat provide a lot of grip from its natural rubber material and orange peel surface texture, even when bombarded with sweat, it offers very little in terms of cushioning, so it won’t be an attractive option for every yogi. But anyone who loves to feel the earth firm beneath their feet when practicing, whether travelling or not, will appreciate this mat.
Sweaters will also like the closed-cell surface of this mat, which prevents sweat, dirt, and bacteria from soaking into the mat’s core. So, it won’t start to smell over time.
- Standard size 72 by 24 inches
- 0.06 inches thick
- Folds down flat
- Closed-cell surface to prevent absorption
- Natural rubber material
Odoland Large – Best Large Yoga Mat
If you are training at home and want some additional space, then try this extra-large yoga mat from Odoland, which is standard length, but almost double the width at 48 inches. You will feel comfortable doing all of your most expansive moves, while still contained within your mat.
There will be no slipping around on your large size mat, as it combines a wave grip back with an anti-slip surface texture so that you can feel firm in all of your positions. The padding is thick but durable, and will bounce back even under the heaviest of use.
The mat is made from an eco-friendly, non-toxic and biodegradable material, so you can feel positive about your purchase. The size of the mat also means that it is multi-purpose, so you can use it for all your home workouts.
- Large size 72 by 48 inches
- 6mm thick
- Non-slip top and bottom
- Non-toxic and biodegradable material
Proworks – Best Thick Yoga Mat
If you find doing certain moves uncomfortable because of the way that your knees, elbows, or joints dig into the floor, you will want a thicker mat. But nothing too thick, or it will become difficult to balance in standing poses. This standard size mat with 1cm thickness from Proworks is a good compromise.
The mat is made from premium latex-free and phthalate-free NBR foam for maximum comfort and protection, coupled with a non-slip bottom to keep you where you need to be while working.
- Standard size 72 by 24 inches
- 1cm thick
- Protective foam padding
- Non-slip backing
- Latex and phthalate-free
Gaiam – Best Designed Yoga Mat
If you are looking for a comfortable and functional yoga mat, but design and aesthetics really matter, you will be able to find something that appeal sin the impressive Gaiam collection, which includes scores of unique and striking prints.
Specializing in standard size 6mm thick mats, the mats are made from non-toxic PVC that is free from harmful phthalates with a sticky, non-stick surface to enhance your practice. Their collection of designs includes the striking monochrome “Spiral Motion” including waves and shells, the “Geo Feather” peacock design, the blue and gold “Metallic Sun & Moon” design, and the mandala-inspired “Scalloped Ink” design.
- Standard size 72 by 24 inches
- 0.6cm thick
- Wide range of striking designs
- Non-slip texture
- Non-toxic PVC
How to Clean Your Yoga Mat
One of the biggest challenges faced by yogis is how to clean their mat. The mat will inevitably soak up sweat over time, so it does need to be cleaned regularly to refresh the smell as well as kill bacteria and germs. But yoga mats tend to be sponges, making them difficult to wash without causing water damage.
Ideally, you should wipe your mat down after every session with a light cleaning agent diluted in water. Common yoga mat cleaning agents are a 50/50 mix of water and white vinegar with a splash of tea tree oil. Keep this in a spray bottle. Mist it over your towel, and then wipe down with a clean, damp cloth. Let your mat dry completely before rolling it up.
Every month you should also give you mat a deep clean with old fashioned soap and water. Dishwashing soap is a good choice as it has the right chemicals in it to clean most yoga mats. But use it sparingly, as too much can leave your mat slippery.
Use a damp cloth to scrub clean both sides of the mat, rinse all the soap away with as little water as possible, and leave your mat to air dry.
FAQs About Yoga Mats
What is the point of a yoga mat?
While you can certainly practice yoga without a mat, a yoga mat improves your practice. Mats are designed to let you grip the ground better, which can be important when getting into some postures. They also provide light cushioning, so that you do not feel like your knees, elbows, or wrists are digging into the ground during any part of your practice. Naturally, it can also act as a barrier between you and a dirty floor.
What can I use if I don’t have a yoga mat?
While a yoga mat will enhance your practice, not having a yoga mat is no excuse not to practice. Any slightly springy surface is a good place to practice yoga, a nice grassy lawn is a good choice. If you want something to protect you against a dirty ground, use a towel.
That said, while the beach seems like a great place to practice yoga, beware. While firm sand offers a nice footing, loose sand will move under your feet and make it difficult to balance and hold certain postures.
Do I need a yoga mat on carpet?
While carpet can provide you with a bit of cushioning when your practice, it does not tend to be great for grip. You may find your feet and hands sliding in more difficult postures. A mat can provide that grip, and also protection for you against any dirt that may be on the carpet, and protect your carpet from your yoga sweat soaking into it. Cleaning your yoga mat is definitely more affordable than cleaning your carpet.
Our Top Picks!
A good yoga mat can make a big difference to how you feel in your practice. It helps keep you clean and hygienic (and feeling clean and hygienic!), cushions your joints against digging into the floor, and provides a nice level of grip to help you get into and hold certain yoga poses. This is why a mat is not really optional when practicing yoga.
The right yoga mat delivers the right balance of cushioning and equilibrium for you. You want your joints to feel good, but not so much padding that balancing in some of the standing poses becomes challenging. It should also have the right level of “stickiness” so that you never feel like you are sliding around.
Apart from this, you need to consider size, material – is it environmentally friendly – and design. Yoga is a joyful practice, so your yoga may should bring you joy.
That’s our top 8 picks for what’s on the UK market right now. Whether you’re looking for a yoga mat for travelling, for hot yoga, whether you’re a beginner or expert, if you need extra cushioning or not, there’s a mat here that should suit you and where you are in your yoga journey. And of course if you have questions, I’m here to help. Just leave them in the comments!
Last update on 2020-10-30 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API