Well that depends on your needs.
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Am I new to yoga?
Am I taking hot classes?
Do I have achy or boney knees?
Am I really tall?
How much money am I looking to spend?
Do I plan on upgrading my mat in the future?
Will I be traveling often with my mat?
Do I want an eco-friendly mat?
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$21.98 - $89.98
Here is your starter mat. Gaiam can be found everywhere from Walmart to TJ Max. They are pretty crappy but are great for first time practitioners who don't know the difference. I started out with a cheap Gaiam mat and it held up for a about 8 months of 2 classes a day, often in a hot room, before my husband bought me a Manduka.
That being said, Gaiam is a very popular brand for yoga props etc. I have Gaiam yoga blocks and a Gaiam yoga strap that work perfectly well for me.
It should be noted that you can get a nice mat from Gaiam, but if you are going to drop $100 on a mat I would recommend a different brand. If you are brand new to yoga then I would absolutely get a Gaiam mat. You know you've hit a milestone in your yoga practice when you are finally like, "I want to get myself a nice mat."
$40 - $360
This is a legit yoga mat and ideal for hot classes which reach approximately 105 degrees Fahrenheit.
Most Manduka mats are really sticky which is what make them so great for the hot room. Additionally, they are longer than your average "starter" mat and are pretty thick. You can always buy a travel mat which is extremely thin, but on average Manduka makes thicker mats.
The thick mat is super great and comfy, almost luxurious. However, thick mats can be very heavy and some people prefer to be closer to the ground so their feet are 100% stable.
I love my Manduka. Its the mat I take to hot classes but its not the mat I practice with regularly because it is easily one of my heaviest and bulkiest mats.
$48 - $78
Lulu is the "name brand" of yoga gear. Basically every yoga teacher I know has a Lululemon yoga mat and its because they are truly great.
They have plenty of mat styles (length, thickness etc) and come in several fun colors. Often times the LuLu mats are reversible which is fun.
The texture of these mats is almost silky, like the rubber has been buffed out or something but somehow it doesn't make them slippery, quit the opposite actually. Of all the Lululemon mats I have come across (and its a lot) they never look worn out or weathered in any way. These mats really do hold their value and I highly recommend them.
$59.45 - $145.59
Jade offers all kinds of mats, lightweight, extra wide, extra long etc. All the male yoga teachers I know who are over 6 ft tall use a Jade mat. I use the Harmony Jade (their classic mat) as my everyday mat and I pretty much never roll it up. They come in all kinds of colors and have so much traction. The texture is almost addicting.
They weight of the mat is great, not light as a feather but totally manageable for me. They are quality mats made from rubber trees. Not only that, but for every mat purchased a tree is planted. Eco friendly - - check!
$79 - $149
If you are looking the mother of eco-friendly mats, look no further. The Yoloha mat is made of cork oak trees, however, no trees are cut down during the process. The bark of the tree is harvested by hand every 9 years which actually improves the life of the tree. The rubber on the underside of the mat is made of recycled tires.
Something to consider about the Yoloha mat is how hard it is. A cork mat can be uncomfortable on the knees for some people. On the plus side, you will probably never have to buy a mat again as these are so durable and the cork offers a nice grip so you wont slip. Not only are these mats beautiful, but there's really nothing like having your head pressed against a cork tree during yoga class. It kind of brings it all home.
Use the YOLOHA link I have provided above for 10% off your purchase. Or simply use code yogafriend