The Best Yoga Mat Review

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All 10 mats tested rolled up together
Credit: Jennifer Curry Wingrove
Interested in finding a yoga mat that is perfect for YOUR style of practice? There are seemingly as many options for purchasing one today as there are styles of Yoga. To simplify this process for you we have selected ten top options, as well as two "hot yoga" accessories to help you in your quest for the perfect surface on which to deepen into your practice. Our evaluation takes into consideration wet and dry traction, comfort, durability, portability, wash-ability as well as the environment. To accommodate all styles of practice for all lifestyles of practitioner we summarize our analysis and present our top recommendations to get you on your optimal product.

If you are not sure what style is right for your practice, you may want to read our article on How to Choose a Yoga Mat

Read the full review below >

Review by: ⋅ Review Editor, OutdoorGearLab

Top Ranked Yoga Mats Displaying 1 - 5 of 12 << Previous | View All | Next >>
Our Ranking #1 #2 #3 #4 #5
Product Name
Jade Harmony Professional
Jade Harmony Professional
Read the Review
Video video review
Manduka PROlite
Manduka PROlite
Read the Review
Video video review
Jade Microfiber Yoga Towel
Jade Microfiber Yoga Towel
Read the Review
Video video review
Jade Fusion
Jade Fusion
Read the Review
yogitoes Skidless Yoga Towel
yogitoes Skidless Yoga Towel
Read the Review
Editors' Awards  Editors' Choice Award  Top Pick Award  Top Pick Award     
Street Price Varies $63 - $70
Compare at 2 sellers
Varies $62 - $88
Compare at 5 sellers
Varies $31 - $35
Compare at 2 sellers
Varies $99 - $120
Compare at 2 sellers
Varies $45 - $68
Compare at 2 sellers
Overall Score 
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81
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76
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75
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68
Editors' Rating
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User Rating Be the first to rate itBe the first to rate itBe the first to rate itBe the first to rate itBe the first to rate it
Pros Excellent traction wet and dry, natural surface, portable, environmentally friendly.Excellent dry traction, portable, easy to clean, great company.Dry and wet traction, very comfortable surface, easy to clean, doubles as a towel, environmentally conscious company.Traction in dry and wet conditions; natural feeling on the hands and feet; extremely comfortable; environmentally friendly.Great wet traction, comfortable on hands, easy to wash, environmentally friendly product and responsible company.
Cons Open cell technology retains bacteria and oils.Slippery when wet.Some bunching when dry, gets dirty easily.Yeavy, not for the urban yogi; can take a long time to dry and will break down if left in the sun; expensive.Bunches up when dry, a little heavier than the competition.
Best Uses Yoga, Hot Yoga, Power Yoga, Acro Yoga, Pilates, Restorative Yoga.Yoga, power yoga, acro yoga, outdoor yoga, pilates, restorative yoga.Yoga, heated yoga, bath towel.Yoga, hot yoga, power yoga, acro yoga, outdoor yoga, beach yoga, pilates, restorative yoga, stretching, picnics.Heated yoga, yoga on wood floors, towel.
Date Reviewed Jan 25, 2013Jan 25, 2013Jan 29, 2013Jan 25, 2013Jan 29, 2013
Weighted Scores Jade Harmony Professional Manduka PROlite Jade Microfiber Yoga Towel Jade Fusion yogitoes Skidless Yoga Towel
Traction Dry - 15%
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10
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7
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7
10
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9
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4
Traction Wet - 10%
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9
10
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5
10
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9
10
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9
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9
Comfort - 20%
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8
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5
Durability - 15%
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8
10
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10
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6
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8
10
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9
Portability - 20%
10
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7
10
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7
10
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8
10
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3
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6
Eco Groovy - 10%
10
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10
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7
10
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5
10
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10
10
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8
Ease Of Care - 10%
10
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6
10
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8
10
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9
10
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4
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9
Product Specs Jade Harmony Professional Manduka PROlite Jade Microfiber Yoga Towel Jade Fusion yogitoes Skidless Yoga Towel
Materials Natural Rubber 100% Latex Free Material Polyester Natural Rubber Cotton
Weight (oz.) 4.5 lbs / 6 lbs 4 / 5/ 5.5 lbs 8 oz 7lbs or 8 lbs ??? 22 oz
Length (in) 68" or 74" 71" or 79" 72" 68" or 74" 68" or 80"
Width (in) 24" (71x30" also available) 24" 24" 24"
Thickness (in.) 0.1875" (3/16") 0.1875" (3/16") NA 0.3125" (5/16") NA

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review


  • Review Photos
  • Editors' Choice Winners
  • All Reviewed Products
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Jade Harmony Professional Yoga Mat
Jade Harmony Professional Yoga Mat
$70 (68) / $75 (74)
100
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81
Editors' Choice Award
Video video review
Manduka PROlite Yoga Mat
Manduka PROlite Yoga Mat
$72 (71 x 24) / $84 (79 x 24)
100
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76
Top Pick Award
Video video review
Jade Harmony Professional
$70 (68) / $75 (74)
100
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81
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Manduka PROlite
$72 (71 x 24) / $84 (79 x 24)
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76
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yogitoes Skidless Yoga Towel
$64 (24 x 68), $76 (25 x 80)
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68
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Jade Fusion
$119 (68) / $129 (74)
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75
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Manduka Black Mat PRO
$94 (71) / $120 (85)
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67
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Yoga Accessories 1/4
$24.99
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52
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Aurorae 1/4 Memory Foam
$49.95
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50
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Gaiam Tree of Life
$22.00
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50
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Yoga Monster
$49.95
100
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47
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General Introduction
The products reviewed range in price accessibility, surface diversity, size and thickness, what it is constructed of/ technology, as well as degrees of portability. We selected ten contenders from a significantly larger field, with the focus on evaluating top products that would appeal to all types of yogi's living diverse lifestyles under varying conditions. Of course, when we say yoga we are referring to Hatha Yoga, or the yoga of movement focused on the physical purification of the body. This includes everything from gentle or restorative practice used to treat injuries to a more physically intense practice such as Ashtanga, which focuses on intense postures detoxifying muscles and organs and building strength, stamina, and flexibility.

Technology
The ones we selected for evaluation are manufactured from a variety of materials, ranging with respect to environmental impact. These include naturally occurring (and sustainably farmed) materials such as cotton and rubber to complex polymers such as PER (Polymer Environmental Resin) and TPE (Thermoplastic Elastomers). Some manufacturers utilize open cell technology, designed to be more flexible, provide traction and absorb moisture like a sponge to help prevent slipping. Others engineer a closed cell that lasts longer and resists absorption of moisture as well as oils and other germs. Some focus on comfort or compressive material designed to provide a combination of cushion and grip, while others focus on high quality dense material that will not break down and provides joint protection as well as a stable surface on which to practice. The products we evaluated range in thickness from 1/8" (Gaiam Tree of Life), keeping you well grounded and connected to the earth, to 1/2" (ProSource Premium 1/2-Inch) offering impact absorption and maximized comfort. They also range in size (length, width), weight, have varying surface texture, must be washed or cleaned in different ways, and come in a variety of options that include color and in some cases pattern or logo.

Consumer Consideration
Each has a different overall feel and will perform differently in varying situations. While one product may be extremely sticky when practicing at the peak of Mt. Everest but will become a slip-n-slide in the cauldron of Death Valley, another may actually improve in performance as you pant in Warrior III while a lake of sweat forms around you. A yoga mat might be so light-weight and compact that when strapped to your pack you can't even tell it's there, but that same one might unfortunately be unnoticeable as you press into Eka Pada Koundinyasana II (Hurdler Pose) and feel every little pebble digging into your hands.

Evaluation Criteria
We evaluate each of the ten contenders, as well as the two additional towels, for their overall effectiveness in dry traction (15 percent weighting), wet traction (10 percent), comfort (20 percent), durability (15 percent), weight portability (10 percent), size portability (10 percent), environment / health (10 percent), and wash-ability (10 percent). In our evaluation we also consider size and color options, how they perform on a range of surfaces, out- of-the-box and persisting smells, accessories, and social equity; however these factors are ultimately factored into the core criteria.
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Side Perspective of Manduka Black Mat PRO
Credit: Brian Blum

Dry Traction
When testing dry traction we are specifically interested in how a mat holds up during outdoor use or use in a studio kept at "room" temperature.
There is nothing worse than walking into a studio with your brand new yoga mat, excited to challenge your focus and conquer asanas such as Urdhva Dhanurasana (Wheel Pose), only to get into your first downward-facing dog and watch helplessly as, slowly but surely, your hands and feet begin to creep in opposite directions. We have heard some say that if you are sliding on your mat it is because you are not engaging your core, and while this may be true, we happily place some of the responsibility of stickiness on to our practice surface. When practicing a vinyasa style (flowing movement with breath) in a non-heated space, we are particularly impressed with the stickiness and traction of the Jade rubber.

Wet Traction
For anyone who has experienced a heated Bikram or hot vinyasa-style class, you know that when the heat cranks, the sweat pours. I have walked out of many a class with liters of sweat puddled up around my mat, pants soaked like I just hopped out of a swimming pool, and my mat feeling like it weighs ten pounds. If you are like me and you have a tendency to sweat in heat, the Jade Microfiber Yoga Towel and the yogitoes Skidless Yoga Towel are essential products, and can be paired with virtually any mat out there (we recommend something around 1/4" for maximum comfort). These yoga towels grip to a variety of surfaces, provide a nice feel on your hands and feet, and once damp, will stay put while you pour sweat-holding poses like Tittibhasana (Firefly) or Pincha Mayurasana (Forearm Stand). There is no yoga mat we tested that, once saturated, offers a completely stable surface. For less heat-intense classes, or for those people who simply don't ooze brine out of their pores like I do, the Jade rubber outperforms all others in wet conditions.
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Studio pictures of the Manduka PROlite
Credit: Jennifer Curry Wingrove

Comfort and Stability
The incredible diversity of these products offers varying textures, sizes, thicknesses, levels of sponginess, support, feel, well, you name it. How it supports you can be strongly influenced by the surface underneath. For example, a thick heavy mat like the Manduka Black Mat PRO or the Jade Fusion does significantly better on grass or slightly uneven surfaces. Comfort is very much a matter of personal preference, although the many long-term practitioners we queried offered some clear consensus on a few things to look for when shopping for the most comfortable model.

First, texture. Most agreed that a texture on the hands that feels more natural and less artificial was preferable. The Jade rubber and Manduka fabric-like texture provide this more natural surface.

Second, stability. A firm surface that is not so thick and spongy that you will strain your wrists or be balancing on a moving surface. For those that enjoy a very firm surface, the Gaiam Tree of Life offers a very thin product to maintain a close connection with the earth.

Third, cushion. Subtle padding is critical for cushioning impact and providing a gentle surface underneath. We have found most prefer a minimum thickness of 3/16" to 1/4". As noted, too much cushion can compromise stability, making a very thick product or a product that can compress, considerably less desirable.
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The Gaiam Tree of Life and the ProSource Premium showing the difference between the thickest and thinnest mats we tested
Credit: Jennifer Curry Wingrove

Fourth, size. While all but one manufacturer tested offer a perfectly adequate width of 24" (The Manduka's being available in 26" or 30" widths), what is more important for anyone over 5'10" (70") is having at a minimum a 72" product. When moving front to back, flowing, or while lying in Savasana (Corpse Pose), having a mat that your entire person remains on offers an uninterrupted sanctuary.

Durability
Some are designed to take a beating, and others will break down from heavy use or, more often, neglect. Natural rubber and other more environmentally friendly versions (aka biodegradable) offer exceptional solutions, but just be wary that these materials, if left in the sun (think the back seat of your car), will degrade rather quickly. For a once-a-week practitioner, every one we reviewed will hold up well over time if cared for properly. The cheapest option available (Yoga Accessories 1/4"), likely scoffed at by many seasoned yogis, is what I used for almost four years of once or twice a week practice coupled with my yogitoe skidless towel on top. This option has clearly stood the test of time, enduring hundreds of yoga classes with minimal wear and tear. Unfortunately testing the other nine competitors over the course of months was not enough to push these products to their limit, so in addition to scouring the web for feedback we located many practitioners using these products under review to find how they stood the test of time.
Weight and Size Portability
If you are an urban dweller, or have plans to tote your yoga mat with you on journeys far and wide, then portability is a factor that cannot be overlooked. In many cases this means trading comfort for convenience. By far the lightest and most compact option, the Gaiam Tree of Life, weighs in at under two pounds and rolls up into an extremely tight package. The ProSource Premium 1/2-Inch, at 2.5 pounds, is another very lightweight, although not at all compact, solution that doubles as a minimalist's sleeping pad. At 4-5 pounds with a 4" diameter rolled up, the Jade Harmony Professional and the Manduka PROlite are excellent portable high performing options.
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Gaiam Tree of Life
Credit: Brian Blum

Environment / Health
As yogis we are responsible for the planet's health and well-being. In almost every product reviewed, the manufacturer made efforts to minimize waste, utilize recycled or biodegradable material, eliminate or reduce the use of toxic substances, and generally remain mindful of the earth and its inhabitants. The clear standouts were the Jade and Manduka products (note we reviewed the Manduka PRO, not the Manduka EKO product line), with the Jade products in particular being made of sustainably sourced natural rubber, using limited minimal impact packaging, planting a tree for every product sold, and supporting a wide range of causes including Jade's 3 Rs program. This program provides a way to bring "retired" yoga mats to those who otherwise might not be able to afford them, reducing landfill waste and supporting people and programs in need.
Wash-ability
Whether practicing daily or weekly, at some point it becomes time to wash your mat. We found the ProSource premium the easiest to wash with a quick scrub and an hour or so in the sun to dry. In general, closed cell technology prevents absorption of moisture and bacteria so it should clean with a quick wipe and dry relatively quickly. Open cell technology absorbs moisture and allow oils and bacteria to root into the mat. Open cell designs, therefore, require a deep cleaning from time to time and often take significantly longer (sometimes 24-48 hours or longer) to dry. For both open and closed cell technologies, biodegradable generally means they cannot be left in the sunlight and therefore require much longer to dry.

Ask an Expert
Babsi is a yoga instructor, blogger, world traveler, and co-Founder of RE:treat Elevated Lifestyle Adventures, a company that organizes luxurious, yoga inspired adventure retreats world-wide. She has been to over 17 countries worldwide- with a yoga mat in hand. We decided to ask this expert a few questions about how to buy a yoga mat, and what special considerations should be made when considering this dizzying market.
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Barbara "Babsi" Glanznig is an expert on yoga mats.
Credit: Barbara Glanznig
In your opinion, what are the most important parts of a yoga mat to consider before purchasing?
The mat itself needs to be made of a natural and durable material. Natural because you will roll all over it and you don't want unnatural, nasty, smelly, or any chemical substance over your skin, hands, feet, and/or face! Bottom line, you will spend a lot of time on your mat. You will sweat, scratch it, and you want it to last and not fall apart after a week.

Also, it needs to be thick enough to comfortably support your joints. Another important factor is that the rubber, or mat material, needs to be non-slip. There is nothing more disturbing than having your feet slide when you are in a wide-legged-forward-bend, or you need to adjust the position of your hands in down ward facing dog all the time.

How often do you clean your yoga mat?
I usually clean my mat once a week. When I am in hotter climates, and I sweat more than usual, I may clean it more often like 2-3 times a week. It all depends on the environment and the type of yoga you practice. I also use a Mysore rug on top of my mat. This is just a cotton rug that protects the mat from natural body oils, dirt, and other small particles.

Any tips for cleaning your mat?
When it comes to cleaning, I have never splurged for specific mat cleaners or other fancy cleaning products. I use a sponge and clean the mat surface with vinegar from the super market. Then I wash it with Dr. Bronners (I love Peppermint) to get rid of the vinegar smell. Finally, I rinse it with water and let it dry. So far, this has worked wonderfully and the natural detergents don't affect the rubber in a negative way.

With portability, how do you like to carry your yoga mat? What carry products to you use?
My ultra thin yoga mat fits into my handbag, which is always a perk with thinner mats. Though, for my heavier and thicker mat, I usually carry it in a yoga mat bag. I love this bag cause it has a separate compartment where I store some spare clothes, my bandanas, my chakra cards, incense and what not. This I great for the backcountry and teaching! It is super handy and I can keep everything in one place.

How important is cushioning when you buy a yoga mat?
This always depends on the yogi. I have seen what I call hard-core yogis who don't use mats at all while others stack three mats on top before they began their practice. In general, I think your bones and joint should feel protected and well cushioned, especially when you practice on firm grounds, tiled floors, or concrete! So try different thickness' out! Whatever you think works best for you, will be your best fit.

Do you think that fancy expensive yoga mats work as well as the cheap ones?
I think it really depends on how much time you spend on your mat. If you go to yoga classes a few times a month or maybe twice a year, you probably won't notice too much difference, and a top-of-the-line mat won't be necessary for you. If you practice every single day, you want something that works very well for quite some time. I think you need to spend about $30-$60 for a decent yoga mat.

How important is weight to you in a yoga mat?
The weight and quality of a yoga mat have to be in relation. Of course, a thicker yoga mat will be heavier, therefore, I prefer a mid-weight yoga mat that has enough cushion to feel comfortable during my practice. Also, it is not too heavy when I have to carry it around traveling.

Tell us anything else that you think a consumer should know before buying a yoga mat.
Just like with everything else, purchasing yoga mats can feel a little overwhelming because the offers are endless and there are mats for every price range and every type of yoga. My advice is to talk to fellow practitioners at your studio and maybe chat to the studio owners before spending money. Finally, just rent mats and try them out for a practice or two. It is always best to get a true feel for the material. Every student and practitioner has different preferences.

Anything else you want to add?
From my personal experience, Manduka mats have worked best for me. I simply love my Manduka ProLite and Manduka eKO SuperLite Travel Mat and during our RE:treats, we also use Manduka ProLite mats for our clients. Sometimes, mats made out of natural rubber may have a stronger smell and some practitioners are put-off. That is why you really want to spend some time trying out different brands and products before buying. Ask your local studio and rent a mat and find out for yourself! Good luck!

Barbara "Babsi" Glanznig has practiced yoga for 11 years worldwide, and taught traditional Ashtanga method for the last two. As a traveller, she practices up to 6 times a week in all sorts of environments. From the floors of crummy hotel rooms to the tops of mountains, this young lady has put her mats to the test. This Austrian native has travelled to many countries including India, Kazashstan, Australia, and all over Europe, for yoga, hiking, and skiing adventures. She is co-Founder of RE:treat, a unique yoga inspired adventure company, providing trips worldwide. She has owned 8 mats over her last 13 years, and has seen and tried countless types in a whole slew of terrain, studios, and homes.

Editor's Choice Jade Harmony Professional
The Jade Harmony Professional is the highest performing all-purpose yoga mat we tested. It is not only portable, durable, and environmentally friendly, but offers excellent wet and dry traction and simultaneously provides stability under your feet and cushion for your joints. The Harmony is useful indoors and out, for more or less intense practices, and will be a great travel companion as well as a mat for the home. It is something that you will practice on once and immediately go and buy.
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Jade Harmony Professional studio shots
Credit: Jennifer Curry Wingrove

Top Pick Manduka PROlite
The Manduka PROlite wins the Top Pick award being ideal for the traveler or urban yogi that has a frequent practice of a more moderate intensity. Although it does not offer excellent wet traction like the Jade Harmony, it is a bit lighter, easier to clean, and comes with a lifetime guarantee, ensuring you will get to enjoy it for the rest of your life.
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Manduka Black Mat PRO studio shots
Credit: Jennifer Curry Wingrove

Top Pick Jade Microfiber Towel
The Jade Microfiber Yoga Towel is a must-have accessory for anyone that practices a heated or more vigorous yoga practice. This towel is extremely comfortable to the touch, stays in place when its dry and provides excellent traction when it gets wet. Costing only $35, we suggest you buy one and after you fall in love, get yourself a second so you have one to practice on while the other is in the wash.
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Jade Microfiber Towel used inside in dry conditions
Credit: Brian Blum

Best Value - The ProSource Premium 1/2"
Although not traditional, the ProSource Premium 1/2-Inch is so useful to have around that for a $21 price tag it is a no-brainer for our Best Buy award. Although we found it less desirable (but usable) for a more intense heated practice, the ProSource Premium was the go-to model whenever we were stretching, taking a restorative class to nurse an injury, doing P90X or a core workout, or practicing Acro-Yoga with a partner.
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ProSource Premium 1/2" Yoga Mat
Credit: Brian Blum

Brian Blum
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 How to Choose A Yoga Mat

by Brian Blum
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