What's the best Yoga mat brand? Does it matter?
I think most would agree that Manduka is the best, but it comes at a steep price. I used a regular yoga mat for about a year for crunches and yoga, but it slid around too much. I bought the Manduka BlackMatPRO 85-Inch Yoga and Pilates Mat and have not regretted it. It is $108.00, but it has extra padding in it so it is great for plyometrics or anything where I jump around a lot and don't want to injure my foot. It is almost 30% thicker than a regular yoga mat, so it's not very portable and pretty heavy, but I use it at my house so I don't mind. Plus it is over a foot longer than a regular mat, which works out much better for my 6' body.
Next one down would be Aurorae Northern Lights, which run around $40 - $50.
If you're just getting into yoga and want something inexpensive, you can get a YogaAccessories mat for under $20.
I swear by my Lululemon The Mat. It's a bit pricey at $68, but considering the cost per use, it's worth every penny. I never slide on it no matter how sweaty my palms and feet get. And it's thick and cushy enough to keep my spine and hips from bruising. It's a little heavy to lug around, but I just put a strap on it to make it easier to carry. After months of frustration on a cheap mat, I rationalized my purchase by realizing that not upgrading my mat was hurting my practice. No regrets!
I don't do yoga/pilates too often (1x/week), and I just use the ~$20 mats like Gaiam. It seems like the more you are going to use it, the more you should invest.
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