Yoga Mat Reviews and Recommendations
The Bodhi Ganges Yoga Mat
Recommended for beginners practising most styles of yoga as a first yoga mat.
- Size – 183 x 60 x 0.6cm
- Weight – 1.6 kg
- Material – PVC Phthalate-free* .
- Thickness – 6mm
The Bodhi Ganges Yoga Mat is a standard length yoga mat that comes in a variety of vibrant colour options and pretty visual prints. Described as an “All rounder for all yoga practices”, this mat is a great option for beginners exploring different classes and different yoga styles, or, for those that practice a couple of times a week. Price-wise it also makes it a good first mat for beginners. At 6mm it’s nicely cushioned, comfortable, as well as being non-slip. Bodhi offers a range of mats from basic to professional and thinner to thicker mats too.
This was my first mat that wasn’t ridiculously cheap and from a sports store; it was also suitable for practising Vinyasa flow. It didn’t have an unpleasant smell when I first got it and it didn’t take long for me to break it in either. I did find the thickness a little bit too much for me as I felt over-padded. The mat I had was in a purple and white design and the white has been left permanently stained from regular use. It’s a mat that has been passed on and after several years it is now only just starting to slightly flake.
*Phthalate is a chemical added to PVC which helps make it more pliable and soft. It has been found to be highly carcinogenic.
- Price – €21.95
- Rating – 7/10
Jade Yoga Travel Mat
Recommended for practitioners after a thinner mat.
- Size – 173cm x 60 x 0.3 cm
- Weight – 1.4 kg
- Material – natural rubber
- Thickness – 3mm
The Jade Travel Yoga mat an is an eco-friendly mat, made sustainably from 100% natural rubber. Jade are conscious about the planet and plant a tree for every mat purchased; with over 940,000 trees planted so far. This grippy travel mat is rather thin coming in a 3mm in thickness, although there are thinner and thicker options to choose from. These mats come in a variety of colours and they now also offer two-tone mats, designed for you to pick a side/colour that links to your mood before you practice. Jade’s mats are 99% latex free but due to latex proteins found in natural rubber, they advise that the mats are not recommended for those with latex allergies.
I chose the Jade Travel Yoga Mat as I was travelling and as its so thin and lightweight I could roll it up to fit into my luggage easily. When folded the mat is roughly the size of a yoga block which was perfect as it meant I could easily store it and roll it out during my travels.
For me, it was too thin. I found that in postures like Cobra and Locust, my pelvis was uncomfortably digging into the floor and I ended up using a yoga grip towel on the top to pad out the mat a little. However, a thicker Jade mat may have been more suited to me originally. The thinner version would be better for practitioners that like to be in close contact to the ground.
After a few months, my mat did begin to slowly breakdown by fading in patches and peeling. Jade do recommend drying the mats out of direct sunlight, but as I was travelling in Asia at the time having space to dry my mat in the shade was not always an option for me. This did contribute to the mat falling apart sooner than anticipated.
- Price – From £60.00 +
- Overall rating – 7/10
Manduka eKo Lite
Recommended for those after a grippy yet eco-friendly mat.
- Size -180cm long x 61cm wide x 0.4cm
- Weight – 2kg
- Material- Natural tree rubber
- Thickness – 4mm
Manduka have created an eKo range with the eKo lite being the most lightweight and portable mat as well as natural and eco-friendly. Made from non-Amazon harvested rubber the mats contain no PVC and they are 100% biodegradable, there are no toxic foaming agents and non-azo dyes* used in production. Manduka’s manufacturing processes for this mat also create zero waste.
The mat has a closed cell surface meaning that sweat, dirt and other bacteria are prevented from absorbing into the mat’s surface; which means easier cleaning. The rippled surface texture makes the mat slip-proof once it’s been broken in. Manduka offers this mat in several colours and in different thicknesses too.
I found this mat to be grippy enough for Vinyasa Flow and Ashtanga Vinyasa practices and the breaking in process was relatively short. There was a slight smell to the mat when I first used it but this quickly went after a few days of use but it was nothing too unpleasant. The mat was heavier than previous mats I had owned but it was still ok for regular travelling.
However, I couldn’t fold this mat up into my luggage as it was too bulky and I ended up carrying it separately in a yoga mat bag, this meant an extra item to carry.
Unfortunately, this mat started to flake, peel and fall apart after about 6 months. I switched to a Mysore daily practice and the top surface came away in patches to show the white mesh underneath. I felt I’d found my ideal mat but unfortunately, I can’t afford to replace a mat every 6 months. Unlike my Jade mat, it was not exposed to the sun as much but Manduka also advise to keep it out of direct sunlight due to the rubber breaking down.
*Azo dyes are also carcinogenic and can be absorbed through the skin. They have been banned in the EU as treatments for certain textiles articles.
- Price – from £55 +
- Rating- 7/10
Recommended for regular practitioners wanting a durable, long-lasting and grippy mat.
- Size – 180cm long x 61cm wide x 0.45cm
- Weight – 1.8 kg
- Material – eco certified PVC/ synthetic
- Thickness- 4.7 mm
The Manduka Prolite is the lighter and slighter version of the Manduka Pro, recommended by teachers and students worldwide. The Prolite comes with the same lifetime guarantee as the Pro, meaning a promise to practitioners of no fading, flaking or peeling. Manduka hopes to promote durability and to reduce the numbers of mats ending up in landfill. Again, this mat has a closed cell surface to make it hygienic and easier to clean. The mat is made from eco-certified PVC but it’s non-toxic, and 100% latex free. It is also created using emissions-free manufacturing.
As mats go this seems to be the most ‘professional’ yoga mat I’ve used. It’s lighter than the hefty Manduka Pro and the eKo so it’s easily portable. At 4.7mm thick I have had no problems of any bony part of my body digging into the floor which is a welcomed relief. Although it is thicker it is firmer so I feel less like I’m overly cushioned. I have the slightly longer version for my Mysore practice which is great as I’m no longer rearranging my position on the mat or overshooting it either. A key aspect to consider with this mat is the breaking in time needed. Manduka advise the mat is to be ‘worn in, not wearing out’ hence the lifetime guarantee. But I did read numerous reviews online about the mat being too slippery and difficult to overcome even over time. I haven’t found the breaking in period to be an issue as of yet, I have had the odd slight unwanted movement so I can understand why some practitioners would feel it’s overly slippy. Instructions that come with the mat advise to complete a salt soak prior to first use and then to continue practising on it. This is something I have done and I’m happy to keep breaking it in. Keeping this in mind I believe this mat is more suited to regular or intermediate practitioners.
- Price – From £60 +
- Rating – 9/10
These are just a handful of mats that I’ve tried and there are an abundance of different mats for every style of practice on the market. Prices for these mats vary on a vast number of websites so look around to compare prices when considering a purchasing a mat. Finding out details such as the mat thickness, the weight, the size, and what materials the mat is made from, are all important factors to think about as well. I’ve written a post on how considering these and other options will help you pick the right yoga mat for you, here.
If there is a particular mat or brand that you love, let me know why in the comments below.