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Article: How to Choose a Yoga Mat?

How to choose your yoga mat

How to Choose a Yoga Mat?

Because the yoga mat is to the yogi what the surfboard is to the surfer, you need to carefully consider the different criteria you need to take into account before buying your own mat!

Your yoga mat will be your faithful companion throughout your yogic journey. Whether you're a beginner looking for your first mat, or a more experienced yogi looking to replace your old one, it's a good idea to keep a few tips in mind to guide you through the wide choice of mats on offer. But first, why buy your own mat when some studios make them available?

Having your own yoga mat means :

  • To be able to practice your passion outside yoga classes, i.e. at home or in the great outdoors.
  • Protect yourself from the stiffness and coldness of the floor, so you can practice yoga in comfort.
  • Above all, a question of hygiene: not having to practice on yoga mats worn out by other people's sweat (not very pleasant, is it?).

So here are 8 criteria to consider before choosing your trusty travel companion (a.k.a. your soul mat 😉 )

Tapis de yoga

I. Thickness

You're probably wondering what is the ideal thickness for a yoga mat? There are mats of different thicknesses for different needs. Here are the main ones and their characteristics.

  • The 4mm thick yoga mat

This is the standard thickness for yoga mats. This thickness is generally suitable for most people. The 4mm yoga mat allows you to have a good grounding and keep your balance in postures like the tree 🌳 for example.

On the other hand, if you're thin and bony, you may feel some discomfort in postures that require you to stand on your elbows or knees. If you're doing the bow posture (Dhanurasana 🏹 ), for example, you may also experience hip-bone pain if your mat is too thin.

Similarly, if your joints are sensitive, you'll find it hard to concentrate on your breathing in positions on the knees (camel posture or Ustrasana 🐫), elbows (sphinx position or Ardha-bhujangâsana) or ankles if your mat is too thin. You can always place a folded towel under your knees, but the sequence of your asanas (during a sun salutation, for example) will be less harmonious if you have to replace your towel each time.

In both these cases, it's best to use a thicker mat, such as the 6mm mat.

  • The 6mm thick yoga mat

This thicker mat will be more comfortable for people with sensitive knees, slim people and beginners. On the other hand, while you gain in comfort, you should bear in mind that the thicker the mat, the harder it will be to keep your balance in positions such as dancer or tree. In fact, the thicker the mat, the further away contact with the ground is, so the anchoring to the ground becomes blurred. What's more, a thicker mat will be bulkier and therefore a little more difficult to transport.

In short, if you have no problems with your joints and feel comfortable enough on a standard yoga mat, there's no need to choose a thicker one.

  • The thick yoga mat

There are even thicker yoga mats, from 10 to 15 mm thick. These mats are often recommended for pregnant women, beginners and people with joint problems. If you're not pregnant and your joints are fine, this mat is a real comfort. You'll be able to practice gentle types of yoga such as Yin yoga.

As with the 6mm mat, your balancing positions may be a little more difficult to perform. The choice is yours.

  • The "travel" or folding yoga mat

This is a thin yoga mat with a thickness of 1.5mm. If you travel a lot or like to practice yoga in the great outdoors, this is the mat for you. In fact, it's very easy to transport: you can fold it in no time at all and stow it in your suitcase or backpack.

The advantage of this mat is that it is ultra-light and easy to transport. It's suitable for more experienced yogis and anyone without joint problems.

Want to know how to carry your yoga mat? Visit our article dedicated to this question.

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II. The material

Whether PVC, natural rubber, TPE, jute or organic cotton, mats are made from a variety of materials with their own specific characteristics. Here are the main ones.

  • PVC (for polyvinyl chloride)

Most carpets, especially the less expensive ones, are made from PVC. They are slip-resistant, easy to clean and relatively long-lasting. Their anti-slip properties are optimized when they are clean. So you'll need to clean them regularly, as soon as you feel your feet and hands starting to slip. They also have the advantage of being latex-free, which is something to bear in mind if you're allergic to latex. On the other hand, PVC yoga mats are not biodegradable and may contain toxic products. So it's best to consider other, healthier and more environmentally-friendly options.

  • TPE (for thermoplastic elastomer)

TPE is a man-made blend of plastic and rubber polymers. The yoga mats made from TPE are generally more environmentally friendly than PVC, and some are even fully recyclable. It should be noted that these mats generally last less than PVC, but also have anti-slip properties and will better suit your ecological values.

  • Ecological or natural yoga mats

Ecological or eco-friendly yoga mats are generally made from natural rubber, cotton or jute. They are generally less slip-resistant (so preferable for gentle types of yoga), but offer good grip on hands and feet (so your feet and hands won't slip during asanas). Organic yoga mats don't last as long as PVC yoga mats, but they're worth using if ecology is a value close to your heart.

These natural yoga mats are environmentally friendly, as they contain no toxic glues or additives and are totally biodegradable. Please note that all our yoga mats are environmentally friendly and are associated with initiatives to avoid deforestation (especially those made of rubber). Choosing your yoga mat according to its material is therefore above all an ethical choice.

Need to know how to clean your yoga mat? Read our article to discover all our cleaning tips.

Tapis Yoga Antiderapant

III. Grip

The material of your mat determines its texture, grip or non-slip properties, resistance and longevity.

Having a non-slip yoga mat is a very important criterion, especially if you practice a dynamic or physically demanding form of yoga (and most types of yoga are!).

Your yoga mat should combine two types of grip: one towards the floor (bottom surface) and the other towards you (top surface).

  • Lower surface: The first type of grip is that on the floor. You don't want your mat to slip while you're practicing asanas, especially if it's placed on smooth surfaces such as tiles. This can be dangerous, especially during balance postures. As we've seen, the anti-slip properties of your mat will depend on its material.
  • Top surface : The second type of grip is for your hands and feet. If the top surface of your mat is too smooth, your hands and feet may slip during certain postures, such as the downward dog posture (Adho Mukha Śvānāsana 🐕). The top surface of yoga mats made from natural materials (cotton, jute, natural rubber, cork) is often worked to enhance their adherent properties by adding relief. The top surface of cork yoga mats for example is particularly non-slip due to their texture. What's more, these mats are antibacterial, self-cleaning and 100% eco-friendly!

We recommend that you opt for mat models with a distinct top and bottom structure, to combine these two aspects.

Tapis de Yoga Ecologique

IV. Where you practice

Your choice of mat also depends on where you practice yoga.

  • At home

If you practice yoga at home, you won't need to worry about carrying a heavier mat. If you're a beginner and practicing Hatha or Yin yoga in particular, you should opt for a 6mm or thicker, bulkier yoga mat, as it will be more comfortable for you.

  • In the studio

On the other hand, if you're practicing in a studio, you'll definitely need a lightweight, thinner yoga mat. The travel yoga mat will fit the bill perfectly, as it's thinner than an ordinary mat, lighter, foldable and therefore easily transportable. You'll be able to slip it into your gym bag and head off to your yoga classes feeling light-headed.

Tapis de Yoga Bio

V. Length

The length of a yoga mat is also an important criterion to consider. Your mat should be long enough to allow you to lie in the Savanasa position without your body sticking out. If your legs protrude from the mat, the temperature difference with the floor will prevent you from relaxing in this final, relaxing posture. Standard yoga mats are about 183 cm long. If you're taller, be sure to buy a longer yoga mat.

Wider mats are also available, so be sure to get one if you need more space.

Tapis Yoga Naturel

VI. The type of yoga

If you practice Hatha yoga or Yin yoga, a more standard yoga mat will suit you - it doesn't have to be the best quality. You don't necessarily sweat with these styles of yoga, so the grip of an average mat will be just fine.

If you practice dynamic forms of yoga such as Ashtanga, Vinyasa or hot yoga (or Bikram yoga), then you'll need to invest in a higher-quality mat that will absorb your sweat and provide a stronger grip.

Tapis Ashtanga Yoga

VII. The price

As a general rule, a solid-colored PVC yoga mat 4mm or 6mm thick will be at the lower end of the price range. From there on, mats will be more expensive depending on their floral patterns, designs, texture and ecological character.

Note that ecological yoga mats tend to be at the higher end of the price range.

Tapis Yoga

VIII. Style

If your yoga mat can be pretty, why not? There's a wide variety of yoga mats, so you can easily find the color and print to suit your taste.

Natural rubber yoga mats with a microfibre coating (like suede yoga mats) allow you to print pretty designs, hence the many aesthetic mats you'll find.

Believe it or not, your yoga mat can inspire you to practice more. Every time you look at it, it will remind you of your commitment. From the moment you unroll your mat and stand on it, you'll be in a different, more focused state of mind. That's why it's important to practice on a mat you like!

Yoga Tapis


If after reading this article you're still not convinced of the importance of having your own yoga mat, for reasons of hygiene we advise you to place a towel or non-slip yoga towel on the mats provided in the studio.

Good practice to you!

Namaste 🙏

Discover all our yoga mats!

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