Yoga is one of the most calming and gentle exercises out there, but it is also one of the most difficult to master. It’ll take more than a few classes before you can easily flip into a headstand, so a good yoga mat is essential for comfort, support, and for a soft landing should anything go wrong.
Yoga mats might look as though they are all the same, but different materials will provide different amounts of support and comfort. Different materials will also require different levels of cleaning.
Yoga is usually practiced barefoot and there will be a lot of poses that will take your face pretty close to the mat.
For a beginner’s yoga mat, you also need to consider length, thickness, style, and even what pattern it has. Read on for the best yoga mats to give you a secure foundation to build your practice on.
Top 5 Best Yoga Mats for Beginners
Heathyoga Eco Friendly Non Slip Yoga Mat
Despite not be the cheapest yoga mat on this list, the Heathyoga Eco Friendly Non Slip Yoga Mat is still affordable and is our top pick for the best yoga mat for beginners for a number of reasons.
Balance and core strength are two of the most important things to develop for good yoga practice and these can only be achieved through correct positioning.
Even the most simple looking poses can be difficult to perfect and if done incorrectly will have little effect and could even cause injury.
That’s why the Heathyoga Eco Friendly Non Slip yoga mat is ideal for beginners. This mat has markings along the mat to guide you for good and safe practice.
Unless you’re working out in front of a mirror, it can be difficult to know if your pose is correct and even then knowing if you’re balanced and centered can be tricky. This mat provides guidance for all poses and helps you remain centered throughout.
This yoga mat also includes non-slip technology with different materials on either side of the mat. It’s important for the mat to not slip on the floor and for you to not slip on the mat.
Consideration has been given as to how different materials are needed to ensure the best support and safety is provided. This consideration, as well as the alignment guidance makes this the best yoga mat for beginners as it provides extra support, comfort, and guidance at all times.
Available in 6 colors
More affordable options are available
Aurorae Classic/Printed Extra Thick and Long 72″ Premium Yoga Mat
These Aurorae yoga mats are great for beginners as they are easy to wash and care for and provide good comfort and support. They are also created by a small family business that has a focus on supplying equipment that provides the best yogic experience possible.
The extra thick material and 72” length of these mats make them great for beginners as they provide a soft surface to practice on. When you’re first getting into yoga, it can be surprisingly difficult to be spending so much time working out on the floor.
Yoga requires core strength and support from joints, especially your wrists and ankles. When you first start out, you likely won’t have the strength to support yourself so an extra thick mat will provide you with the extra support you need as you develop your strength and practice.
An interesting aspect of these yoga mats is their range of unique patterns. Named Aurorae after the Aurora Borealis, each pattern is specifically designed to reflect the colors found in the Northern Lights.
As yoga is a practice that involves mindfulness and focuses on your breathing, the flow of your body, and a state of calmness, these patterns will either instill a feeling of peace and wellbeing due to their color palettes or could be distracting.
If you find certain colors calming, then these mats will be a great way to help you center yourself and focus on what you’re doing.
Includes non-slip rosin
Available in 13 colors
Easy to wash
Extra thick material
The colorful prints and patterns could be distracting
Manduka PRO Yoga Mat
As the priciest yoga mat on this list, the Manduka PRO yoga mat is an investment. But, it is worth the price tag if you’re looking for a well-cushioned mat that will provide stable support.
The Manduka PRO yoga mat is good for your body and also good for the environment. This yoga mat is 100% latex-free and certified by OEKO-TEX as being free from toxic and harmful substances.
The material of the Manduka PRO yoga mat is not only healthy for you and the environment, it is specifically designed with a closed-cell surface that will provide extra grip.
Many yoga mats are made from a foam-like material that stretches and moves beneath you, but the textured material of this mat means that it won’t slide around on the ground and will also keep your hands and feet in place during your practice. This extra grip is great for beginners who will be less stable in a lot of poses.
OEKO-TEX certified material
BalanceFrom GoYoga All-Purpose Yoga Mat
At the time of writing, the Balance Form GoYoga mat is the lowest priced yoga mat on this list. Made from a high density foam material, this is a great option for beginners who are just starting out and don’t want to risk investing in something they might not use that often.
The foam material will provide support and comfort, but isn’t the most durable and can be prone to tearing or stretching if subjected to strain and used regularly.
If you plan for yoga practice to be part of your daily routine, then we recommend one of the other more durable options on this list.
But if you are just dipping your toe in or are starting out and have recently joined a class then this is the perfect option.
This mat is especially good if you are starting to attend group classes as, even though mats will probably be provided, you can’t guarantee that they will be good quality and you run the risk of others getting all the good ones first. This mat will let you jump the queue and also know exactly how clean your mat is.
Sharing workout equipment can make you worry about cleanliness in most situations and using a mat which countless people have used before you isn’t particularly appealing.
This mat will do the job you need it to and will give you peace of mind when it comes to cleanliness (and also means you can skip the queue for mats and make sure you get the best spot instead).
Includes carrying strap
Foam-like material doesn’t provide the best support
YogaAccessories 1/4″ Thick High Density Deluxe Non Slip Exercise Pilates & Yoga Mat
Another affordable option on this list is the YogaAccessories yoga mat. Available in an impressive 30 different colors and patterns, this YogaAccessories mat is a great option for a beginner looking for a basic mat.
This yoga mat has a double-sided non-slip texture which will keep you sturdy whilst you’re practicing any new pose. Unlike other budget options, this yoga mat is made from a strong material which is tear-resistant and also doesn’t contain latex or toxic plasticizers.
Another reason this mat is great for beginners is its extra length. An added 6 inches might not seem like a big difference, but this extra space will become invaluable when you get started.
Mastering poses and staying balanced is difficult enough without having to make sure you’re actually still on your mat.
The ¼ inch thickness also provides a good level of comfort and support without being so thick that the grounding structural support of the floor can’t be felt.
A thinner material does mean that it might not provide the same extra support for you joints which can be beneficial as a beginner.
Longer than average mat
Non-slip textured material
Wide color range
Best Yoga Mats for Beginners Buying Guide
Thickness and Length
Determinging how long and thick your yoga mat needs to be is important and your choice needs to fit your needs as well as possible. As a beginner, yoga can cause a strain on your joints if they aren’t strong enough to support you yet.
This is especially true of your wrists as they will be regularly used to support a large amount of your bodyweight. Due to this, try and find something that has a thick material which will provide comfort and support.
But, on the other hand, try to avoid anything that is very thick and cushioned unless you really need to. A mat that is too thick will make balancing and using the floor for support a little trickier.
For length, it is of course important to find something that will suit your height, but as a beginner it is worth getting something which is a little longer than average. Foot placement is difficult in pretty much any pose and especially so when transitioning between two different poses. Using a long mat will help you to remain balanced and centered.
A longer mat will also help you stop slipping. If your foot lands off the mat as you’re transitioning between poses, you may end up pushing the foot on the mat away from you causing you to fall. A longer mat can help your poses and keep you safe.
Yoga mats provide a much needed cushioned barrier between yourself and the hard ground, but depending on the material they are made from, they can cause issues in other ways. Slipping is something that you never want to happen during yoga practice, whether you’re a beginner trying your first downward dog or a seasoned professional who can easily contort into a firefly pose.
When it comes to choosing a yoga mat, it’s important to choose a good quality material that won’t cause you to slip and potentially hurt yourself. Yoga might be a slow and gentle exercise but that doesn’t mean it can’t cause injuries.
There are two things to consider when it comes to slipping: your mat slipping on the floor and you slipping on the mat. Even if you’re working out on carpet, if your mat doesn’t have a grip on the bottom then you might find yourself sliding across the floor. This can be dangerous and also really annoying.
On the other side of the mat, as you will likely be practising in socks or barefeet, you might also find yourself slipping on the mat itself. This can also be dangerous and frustrating, especially if you’re trying to remain calm and poised and can feel your feet slowly sliding down the mat. Aim for something which is non-slip and non tear. A mat which has specific materials on either side is ideal.
We’re all trying our best to make a positive impact on the environment and cut down on using plastics and toxic materials. But one of the things that you might not have expected to have an impact is a yoga mat.
Depending on the material, yoga mats can contain certain toxic chemicals and plasticizers that are used to make the mat soft, easy to roll, and waterproof. Try to find something which is eco-friendly to make sure your practice is kind to your body and to the environment.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do beginners need a specific kind of mat?
Yoga mats usually come in one specific style, but there is a lot of variation. As a beginner, try and find a mat that will provide support, is made from a non-toxic and anti-slip material, and is a little longer than average.
There isn’t a specific kind of mat that is designed for beginners, but it’s important to consider the kind of aspects you will need to make sure you have the best practice possible, as well as something which will support you and keep your from injuring yourself.
Do I have to use a mat for yoga?
You can of course do yoga without using a mat, but it really isn’t recommended. Just sitting on a hard floor, even one that’s carpeted, can be uncomfortable and cause issues for your joints, legs, and back.
If you’re attending a class that provides mats, then buying your own is a personal choice. But if you’re working out at home or attending classes that don’t have free mats to borrow then we really recommend it.
Will a mat stop me from hurting myself if I fall?
Although yoga mats might resemble crash mats, they don’t have the same kind of support. Yoga mats act as a barrier between you and the floor which will be hard on your hands and joints, but will only provide minor cushioning should you fall.
Injuries that are more commonly associated with yoga are usually the result of twisting awkwardly or not holding a pose properly, which a mat will do little to prevent.
If you eventually develop the ability to do a headstand or another pose from which you might fall, a mat will only provide a small amount of support. The best way to avoid injury is to develop slowly and not rush into difficult poses before you’re ready.
What are the benefits of yoga?
As a beginner, you might not be fully aware of all the benefits yoga has to offer. To the uninitiated, yoga appears to be a slow and gentle exercise that doesn’t do very much. But this isn’t at all true. One of the great things about yoga is that it can be adapted to suit any level and can be gentle if you really want it to be, but it is also a great workout.
Yoga is a whole body workout but is really beneficial for your core muscles and your legs, so don’t be surprised to find yourself aching the next day. Yoga will also help you develop your balance and increase your overal strength and flexibility.
Yoga is also great for your mental health and sense of wellbeing. In additiion to physical exercise, the origins of yoga are religous and most practices will incorporate a sense of spiritualism.
This won’t necessarily be religious but with a focus on remaining calm, balanced, and the regular inclusion of mindfulness will make you feeling more relaxed than you ever have before.
Yoga is great for your mind, body, and soul so it’s worth incorporating it into your regular workout or even part of your daily morning routine. But no matter what you’re looking for, make sure you invest in a good quality yoga mat that will give you the proper support and comfort you need as a beginner.
Also see our Review of the Gaiam Yoga Mat – One of our Favorites!
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