Now that the vast majority of individuals are spending more time at home, it makes sense to search for ways to stay active and aware while confined to the living area. As such, many have resorted to DIY projects and bodyweight exercises to keep them sane during the pandemic, since traditional studios catered toward dance, yoga, and fitness have become somewhat scarce. If you were a “regular” of these health-focused establishments, it’s likely that you’re going stir-crazy trying to think of ways to augment your daily routine to reattain some kind of normalcy. Luckily, yoga is a versatile medium that can help you to mend your mind, body, and spirit as we wade through these troubling times.
It goes without saying that yoga is a pastime that’s much more enjoyable when done with a group. Since that’s no longer at the front of our to-do lists, we’ve been forced to take the “solo” approach, participating in trainer-led sessions over Zoom, watching videos on Youtube, or resorting to our own internal library of stances and poses for a daily fix. Being one of the more accessible health and wellness activities out there, yoga has a low cost of entry — all you need is a mat. But what’s the difference between all of the mats on the market today? Will any mat be just as viable as its counterpart? The truth is, finding a mat to achieve your daily zen is undeniably simple, but there are a few things that you’ll have to take into account. Below, we’ve outlined our favorite offerings from around the space, focusing primarily on adaptability, conscious construction, and comfort.
prAna Salute E.C.O.
We all know that prAna is an industry leader in terms of leisurewear and technical, gym-faring clothing, but when it comes to yoga, the brand is also fairly well-versed. Not only does it provide practitioners with a handful of comfortable, mobility-focused clothing pieces catered toward the genre, but it also boasts its very own mat, known as the Salute E.C.O. As you might expect, this simplistic cushion was created to help you find your flow, utilizing textured surfaces, improved grip, and a non-toxic mixture of durable, UV-resistant TPE materials to create an anti-absorbent model that’s fit for hours of zen.
Pendleton x Yeti Yoga Fire Legend
Pendleton’s unique approach to clothing and accessories has earned it a spot on many of our style-savvy lists, and today’s yoga-inspired selection is no exception. Created in partnership with one of the industry’s most respected yoga outfits, Yeti Yoga Co., this unique Fire Legend mat boasts an interesting, blanket-like design, complete with durable anti-tear material, lightweight traits, and an eco-friendly PER construction, meaning that it’s free of latex, phthalate, and heavy metals that might disrupt your chakra.
Gaiam Athletic dynaMAT
We all know that yoga sessions can get a little bit heated, leading to plenty of perspiration. Luckily, that’s where Gaiam’s Athletic dynaMAT performs at its peak, thanks to its reversible, dual-sided architecture, textured, non-slip surfaces, and robust length, making it an attractive proposition for guys who are over 5’10”. It’s even conscious of your sensitivities, arriving as an agitation-resistant PVC offering that places allergies on the backburner.
Onnit Black Swan
We might be biased, but Onnit’s Black Swan mat is one of our favorites on this list. Not only does this floor-based accessory look and feel amazing, but it’s got the technical chops to back it up. Each example boasts a high-quality, polyurethane rubber construction, as well as an open-cell architecture that allows it to absorb moisture as you throw down on your favorite poses. But don’t worry, the absorption of perspiration won’t leave the mat with a slippery surface, thanks to its textured, non-slip attributes.
Jade Yoga Harmony
There’s not much to say about Jade Yoga’s Harmony mat, other than the fact that it gets the job done in a simple, intuitive manner, every single time. As the brand’s most popular (and best-selling) offering, it boasts a lightweight design that’s only 3/16” thick, making it an attractive proposition for those who are looking to commute to their favorite gym without having to worry about their cumbersome companion. Since it’s relatively thin, it’s also great for difficult standing poses, removing some of the soft cushioning of thicker models for a more substantial foothold.
lululemon Reversible Mat
lululemon is known for its genre-defining athleisure offerings, and when it comes to functional, formidable mats, it’s hard to find a single offering that can stand up to the brand’s Reversible BIG. This purpose-built offering features a polyurethane top layer for ample moisture absorption and control, as well as a natural rubber base to provide adequate cushioning wherever you need it most. Since it spends most of its time soaking up perspiration during your session, it’s also been treated with an antimicrobial additive that helps it to fight mildew and mold growth between washes.
The Kind Mat
The Kind Mat is a technical flagship offering that brings some of the world’s cutting-edge materials to the forefront for yoga enthusiasts. It calls upon a patented three-layer memory foam to keep your joints, muscles, and bones from coming in contact with the hard floor while boasting a suite of superior traits — like its slip-resistant neoprene top layer, and skid-proof EVA — to give it a leg-up on its competition. To round things out, the Kind Mat has been crafted to remain both hypoallergenic and 100% latex-free, making it an attractive option for those with sensitivity issues.
Yoloha Nomad Cork
Yoloha’s Nomad Cork is one of the more unique mats on our list, solely because of its construction. Instead of relying on hard-wearing polyurethane materials, this interesting alternative takes form via a layer of eco-friendly cork, prompting antimicrobial, and non-slip properties, while still exhibiting an ultra-plush foam base. The best part? Each comfort-focused model is crafted without PVC and latex, keeping allergic reactions to an absolute minimum, and affording you more time to do what you love at the yoga studio.
If you’re interested in a high-density mat that will stand up to everything you throw at it, Manduka’s PRO model should be right up your alley. Not only does this robust mat feature a hefty, 7.5-pound weight, but it also provides incomparable cushioning, grip, and support, thanks to its OEKO-TEX️ Standard 100-certified construction. Like many of the mats on our list, it’s been crafted without any harmful substances or materials, giving you peace of mind as you partake in your favorite pastime.
Liforme’s Original mat rounds out our list as a transformative option that places an emphasis on conscious construction. To ensure that it remains at the forefront of intelligent design, the brand has incorporated a unique “AlignForMe” alignment system, helping to prevent injuries in amateur yoga practitioners. This is amplified by a specially-formulated eco-polyurethane and rubber construction, which gives the mat a PVC-free persona that’s kind to beginners and professionals, alike. As an added bonus, whenever you’re finished with the mat, or it begins to show its age, you can feel great about disposing of it at your local landfill. Each example is inherently biodegradable, utilizing non-toxic materials to return to the earth after it’s done its part to enhance your daily routine.
The 10 Best Mindfulness & Meditation Apps For Men
Now that you’ve found the perfect mat to practice your poses anywhere, head over to our guide on the best mindfulness & meditation apps for men, where we outline some of our favorite serenity-savvy options for the modern yogi.