A yoga mat is the number one essential tool for every yogi, and we’re excited that Yoga Journal just released their list of the best yoga mats of 2016! There’s something for every yogi – whether they are brand new to yoga, like to travel and practice, or are extra sweaty in the studio. Read on and pick the one that’s perfect for your yoga-loving friend:
Is your yogi friend on the road a lot? Jade’s new Voyager mat takes up about as much space in your suitcase as a pair of folded jeans, and at 1.7 pounds, it’s lighter. Something else Yoga Journal loved: the YOGO Mat Ultralight, which has a built-in carrying handle that makes it perfect for far-away festivals.
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2. The Newcomer
The Liforme mat reportedly takes no time to break in, and has a subtle graphic that helps newbies figure out proper foot and hand placement. Bonus: It’s made from planet-friendly naturally sourced rubber.
3. The Sweater
There’s nothing worse than your hands and feet sliding all over a mat, and Yoga Journal testers with the sweatiest extremities loved the stickiness of the Jade Harmony. Bonus: All of Jade’s mats are super sticky, and you can choose from various thicknesses and gorgeous colors to find one that feels customized for you.
4. The Art Lover
Want to get your yogi friend a mat that motivates by beauty and will score them compliments every time they roll it out? California-based artist Sophie Leininger hand-paints designs that she prints onto her Magic Carpet Yoga Mats. Yet these aren’t just pretty mats: testers didn’t slip in the slightest on the non- latex PVC surface.
5. The Teacher
The Manduka Black Mat PRO and PROlite are the top choices of many yoga teachers for good reason: They’re sticky from the get-go, offer good cushioning, and last so long you won’t have to take advantage of the lifetime guarantee.
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6. The Environmentalist
BareFoot Yoga Co.’s Original Eco Yoga jute mat is made from all-natural rubber and hessian, the material woven from jute fiber, making it one of the most sustainable on the market. Even better, testers loved how sticky it was from the outset.
7. The Hot Yoga Lover
Yoga Design Lab’s gorgeous Combo Mat has a suede-like towel texture on top that sops up sweat and keeps you from slipping when that hot yoga class gets super steamy.
8. The Tall Yogi
PrAna’s Large E.C.O. Yoga Mat is a generous 76 inches long by 30 inches wide, perfect for tall yogis or simply spreading (way) out in Savasana.
9. The Commuter
Looking for a lightweight mat to carry to class on foot or via bike or public transportation? Wai Lana’s Yogi Mat is your new portable go-to.
10. The Outdoorsman
At a quarter-plus-inch thick, the CALYANA Professional Yoga Mat feels downright cushy compared to most others, yet it’s still light-weight enough to tote to class without a hassle. This mat is perfect for practicing on uneven or hard surfaces outside.
11. The Well-Rounded Yogi
Gaiam’s Sol Dry-Grip Yoga Mat is an all-around great mat, thanks to rubber-free material (read: it’s not as stinky as some rubber mats initially are) and a polyurethane top layer that wicks away moisture and provides a slip-free grip.
12. The Sweater – Again
Another option for a sweaty yogi. Oftentimes, dry-grip rubber mats don’t offer much cushioning. But lululemon athletica designed The Reversible Mat 5mm to feel softer on your knees and hips in floor poses. Plus, testers’ hands didn’t budge—no matter how hot and sweaty class got.
13. The Traditionalist
They were used in India for centuries, and now yoga rugs are a growing trend. Yoga Journal testers loved Yogasana’s Earth Yoga Mat and Barefoot Yoga Co.’s Extra Long Mysore Practice Rug. Both have a tight weave that feels smooth on hands and feet, and are made of grippy, 100 percent cotton that works whether palms are dry or a bit moist. Bonus: They’re machine washable.
14. The Crowd Pleaser
Even if your friend isn’t a crowd pleaser, this mat is. Hugger Mugger’s Para Rubber Yoga Mat is the Goldilocks of the yoga-mat world: It’s just right when it comes to comfort, support, and grip. The mat is made from natural rubber that has a soft texture, its 1⁄4-inch thickness means plenty of padding, and it provides solid traction so that you won’t slip – starting with the first use.
15. The Quote Lover
With mantras like “breathe in love,” “i am enough,” and “you are awesome,” Affirmats Classic and XLong mats are a great choice if you need that empowerment nudge.
16. The Multitasker
For those who take all different kinds of classes – it’s a double-duty genius: Kulae’s Elite Hybrid mat combines a mat and towel in one, with the top layer made from a sweat-absorbant bamboo/microfiber blend and a bottom layer constructed from eco-friendly polymer environmental resin (PER) that kept the mat perfectly in place on jump-through after jump-through.
No matter what kind of yoga your friend loves (or that you love), a yoga retreat in Nicaragua is the perfect gift and vacation. Sign up together today for our Bucket List of Bliss Retreat with Cher Aslor – escape winter & come practice in paradise!