Whether you're new to yoga or just ready to retire the crappy mat you "borrowed" from your gym, having the best yoga mat will give your practice a boost. Your mat is your safe harbor—the little plot of land that's all yours—no matter what happened in your day prior to getting yourself to yoga. Once your feet and hands are planted firmly on that sticky, squishy rubber, all you've got to do is "follow your breath"—that's yoga speak for chill out and move a little—and you're more or less guaranteed to walk out 60 minutes later feeling at least somewhat rejuvenated and at peace.
Most yoga teachers will literally bend over backwards to accommodate "all skill levels," but even the friendliest of studios can rival motorcycle-gang bars for intimidation levels. You've got the tatted-up, man-bunned dude popping handstands and pretzeling his limbs together, the teacher nonchalantly dropping sanskrit pose names like parivrtta baddha ardha chandrasana between prayer hands and head bows, the self-appointed know-it-all critiquing their neighbor's form mid-down-dog. And there you are, taking it all in from the comfort of your rental mat, the middle-school-locker-room musk of which somehow overpowers all the burning sage and incense all around you. While it can be a bit overwhelming to stay present amidst this sweaty, athleisure-clad chaos, a modest investment in a good yoga mat can make all the difference.
There are as many mats out there as there are classes, so it can be an equal challenge to find the one that’s right for you. In a quest for the perfect floor companion, we vinyasa-ed on all shapes and sizes, comparing textures, sweat-wicking capabilities, weight, stickiness, and thickness to determine the best yoga mats for every kind of yogi, from the first-timer to the Level-3 veteran.
The Best All-Around Yoga Mat
$80.00, Jade Yoga
The Cadillac of Yoga Mats
The Best Yoga Mat for Tall Dudes
The Best Yoga Mat for Hot Yoga
The Best Thick Yoga Mat
$135.00, Jade Yoga
The Best Travel Yoga Mat
The Best Budget Yoga Mat
The Best Yoga Mat for Commuters
More Yoga Mats, Yoga Rugs, Yoga Towels, and Yoga Blocks We Like
$80.00, Jade Yoga
$20.00, Jade Yoga
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Originally Appeared on GQ