When I first started practicing heated yoga, I slipped all over the place on my $10 Target mat. It was incredibly tough to maintain my hand and foot placement and my practice suffered, even though my teacher told me that over time I would slip less as I became stronger. I tried for a while, but it didn’t get any better. I decided to check out some of my options, and since then I have loved using my favorite mats for hot yoga classes. Below are my favorites from the last 10 years:
Gaiam Sol-Dry Grip Yoga Mat
Gaiam’s best selling yoga mat. I have tried this one out and find it to be very similar to Lululemon’s “The Mat” without the chemical smell. With 5mm of cushion to protect your joints and your knees, this mat was sticky for my entire heated vinyasa practice. I loved the pattern on the mat, one of the only hot yoga mats with a swirly darker shade of color at the corner of the mat. This company puts a lifetime guarantee on their hot yoga mat, however the company does have a fair warning that if this mat is exposed to sunlight it could fade or lose its sticky quality, so buyers make sure to put the mat in a carrying bag. Some customers had issues with the corners of the mat disintegrating, but the company was quick to respond and offer customer service to exchange for a new mat. This mat also boasts a self wicking quality of the mat, which hot yoga practitioners have voiced to work very well.
Jade Harmony Mat
This was my first professional yoga mat. The Jade Harmony Mat maintains stickiness in hot or regular temperature yoga classes, and appears to last for many if taken care of well. It does absorb the sweaty stink and can be tough to clean, but for keeping footing and benefiting your yoga practice, this one is fantastic. However, if you leave this mat in your car or practice in the sun, this non-PVC mat loses its stickiness and you are forced to buy another mat. I went through 4 of these before I switched to my Lululemon mat. For hot yoga classes though, some swear by this mat. This company has a fantastic family history which you can watch from their website, made in the United States, and in compliance with environmental, labor and consumer protection laws. They also plant one tree for every mat you buy, and they are now up to 850,000 trees, which is amazing!
Kulae tpEco Mat
My Bikram friends rave about this mat, and they are the mats for rent at our local hot yoga studio. This sticky mat is perfect for sticking it in Hot Triangle, Wide legged forward fold, and Tree pose. Benefits of this mat include its commitment to remaining 100% recyclable like all of Kulae’s mats, free of the 6 most harmful phthalates found in PVC mats (like many cheap ones under $20), and non-slip. I did find, however, that this mat bunched up a bit as I moved around on it, though because it is not as heavy as other mats it would be great for travel or for biking/hiking/walking to yoga.
Manduka PRO Mat
An old favorite across all styles of yoga, this thick, professional yoga mat can be seen in almost every yoga studio. Some people swear by this mat as the end all, though I personally have found them to be not as plush or sticky as I would like. This mat claims to last a lifetime, and even comes with a lifetime guarantee (though the guarantee does have certain stipulations). The website does say it takes a while to break in, and some reviews say it is slippery, but others continue to rate this as a number one mat love it for hot yoga. Rumors are the extra thin travel mat is best for traditional Bikram carpet floors.
Yoloha Cork Yoga Mat
These are for sale at our local hot yoga studio, and some people swear by these for Bikram yoga. Made of eco-friendly cork, hand made in the United States using 100% recyclable materials, no PVC, this professional mat is at the top of hot yogi’s lists. I love the eco designs of earthy colors and environmentally friendly materials, I love what this company is all about. I did find the mat to be a little bizarre feeling under my hands, but I assume it might just take getting used to. I did not slip at all, and that was a wonderful feeling to be grounded and extended without slipping. It is a bit heavy, but so are many professional mats. This company also boasts extra large sizes for the taller and wider folks, which I love that the yoga community is acknowledging nowadays. This mat comes with a hemp strap, which adds to the eco-cool factor.