Ashtanga yoga is a dynamic practice and for this reason, it requires a durable yoga mat.
If you were to look even at the most graceful Ashtanga yoga practitioner, you will notice that their yoga mat is prone to a lot of tough love. Given the nature of the practice, it is generally where we place our hands at the front of the mat and our feet at the back of the mat that sees more wear and tear.
Not all yoga mats were designed the same and similarly not all yoga mats were made from the same material and thus there are yoga mats tailored for particular practices.
A yoga mat may be the only purchase you make for your yoga practice, so it is worthwhile investing in a good mat. When I first started practicing Ashtanga, I bought a mat online that had a beautiful design. After even just one practice in it, I realized what a bad choice it was. I was slipping all over the place and within a few classes, I noticed little bits of it were coming off.
The things you want your Ashtanga yoga mat to have are:
- Suitable for a dynamic practice – Given the fact that Ashtanga yoga is a physically demanding practice, you want the mat you choose to be suitable for such wear and tear. This basically means try to avoid the really cheap yoga mats as you will most likely need to buy a new one soon after, especially if you practice frequently.
- The thickness of at least 4mm – There are a variety of thicknesses for yoga mats. My personal preference is a yoga mat of at least 4mm, as any thinner than that can be challenging on the joints, especially when practicing on a hard floor. An exception to this is if you are looking for a travel yoga mat, which is also listed in this article. (As a side note, you may like my article Yoga Mat Thickness where I explain the varieties in thicknesses and which may be the best for you).
Find an updated version of recommended Ashtanga yoga mats here: The BEST Yoga Mat for Ashtanga Yoga: Ashtanga Teacher review
- How To Choose the BEST Yoga Mat in 8 Steps
- Best Yoga Mats For Sweaty Hands & Feet (For Perfect Grip)
- DIY Yoga Mat Cleaner (3 Easy-to-Make Formulas)
- Liforme Yoga Mat Review: 1 Year Later
- Yoga Design Lab Mat – Unbiased Review
Some factors that come down to personal preference are:
Open cell vs closed cell yoga mat
This refers to two very different ways yoga mats are made. The open-cell mat is porous and so it absorbs sweat. This is good for a dynamic practice like Ashtanga, however, one downside is that it can be hard to clean and become a bacteria playground. A typical example of an open-cell yoga mat is the Jade yoga mat.
The closed-cell mat is denser with an impermeable surface. It is more resistant to wear and tear and could be considered as more hygienic, however, one downside is that it can become slippery. A typical example of a closed-cell yoga mat is the Manduka mat.
Eco or non-eco yoga mat
Eco yoga mats are generally made from biodegradable natural tree rubber, while non-eco yoga mats are made from PVC.
Something to point out is that in the case of Manduka at least, their non-eco mats are “made from the highest quality PVC on the planet, manufactured emissions-free and guaranteed for life”.
This means that you will only have to buy one mat for the rest of your life and this is something that could offset the fact that is PVC made and in turn make it less harmful to the environment as it will never be thrown out.
So with all that said here are some of the best Ashtanga yoga mats on the market. They are here for you to check them out further and see which one is best for you.
List of Ashtanga yoga mats
Find an updated version of recommended Ashtanga yoga mats here: The BEST Yoga Mat for Ashtanga Yoga: Ashtanga Teacher review
Manduka Pro Yoga Mat 6mm
The standard size for this mat is 3.4 kgs – 180cm x 66cm – 6 mm thick. You can eve get it extra long: 4.3 kgs – 215cm x 66cm – 6 mm thick.
The Manduka pro mat is a very popular yoga mat amongst Ashtanga yoga practitioners. Indeed, in some research carried out, 73% of Ashtanga practitioners use the Manduka Pro. It is ultra-dense with comfort and cushioning. It has a closed-cell surface that keeps moisture and bacteria at bay, increasing longevity and making cleaning very easy.
Additionally, this mat is guaranteed to never wear out. According to Maduka: “If your PRO wears out from regular use and is no longer able to perform as intended, we will replace it under the Lifetime Guarantee.”
One reviewer who used this mat mentioned how tough and durable it is. Indeed, for a dynamic practice like Ashtanga, you want your mat to feel like it is going to last a while!
This is the mat I have and have had for the past 10 years. And indeed, it is a very durable and solid mat, perfect for a daily Ashtanga yoga practice!
Manduka GRP Series
The standard size for this mat is 2.2 kgs – 180cm x 66cm – 6 mm thick.
The Manduka GRP series mat is made from natural rubber is the ideal yoga mat for those who sweat a lot. a very popular yoga mat amongst Ashtanga yoga practitioners. The Manduka GRP yoga mat delivers supreme traction with no slip as it uses a leather-like surface and a charcoal-infused rubber core.
One reviewer who purchased this mat mentioned how great this yoga mat is for those who sweat a lot. Indeed, they mentioned that the grip improves the more you sweat and that when hands are dry you may slip a little until of course, you start to sweat. They did mention the bad smell the mat has in the beginning. And this smell he mentioned is one that other reviewers stated that it takes some time to go away.
Manduka Eko Series
The standard size for this mat is 3.2 kgs – 180cm x 61cm – 6 mm thick. You can eve get it extra long: 3.6 kgs – 200cm x 61cm – 6 mm thick.
The Manduka Eko mat was developed by yoga teachers over 4 years. According to Manduka, it is the most durable rubber yoga mat on the market. It is made with a unique sealed-cell surface that prevents moisture from entering the mat. The natural rubber provides a semi-sticky grip that won’t absorb sweat.
One reviewer who loved this mat mentioned that they loved the cushioning and that it feels great for joints. They also mentioned that it has a good enough grip so as not to ever slip in the practice.
Eko Manduka travel mat
The standard size for this mat is 1 kg – 180cm x 61cm – 1.5 mm thick.
The Manduka travel mat is a ‘Fold + go’ mat that offers ultimate portability. Fold it and place it in your laptop bag or place it over your yoga studio’s yoga mat. Its surface texture offers a superior dry grip. It is made from biodegradable, non-Amazon harvested, natural tree rubber with non-toxic foaming agents.
One reviewer who purchased this mat for traveling mentioned how easy it is to simply fold it or roll it and place it in a backpack or at the bottom of a suitcase. They even use it on top of the used mat in yoga studios. This particular reviewer uses their travel mat on top of the carpet at home and they mentioned how having the mat at home really does motivate him to dedicate to the practice.
Liforme yoga mat
The standard size for this mat is 2.5 kg – 185cm x 68cm – 4.2 mm thick.
The Liforme mat uses an ‘AlignForMe’ system that works as a navigational tool for the asana practice. The combination of intelligent markers gives you as much, or as little, guidance as you need. These are very commonly used Ashtanga yoga mats.
These mats use a natural rubber base with an added felt portion between the layers that help provide extra support, stability, and cushioning. According to Lifeform: “We believe our revolutionary ‘GripForMe’ material is the grippiest Yoga mat material currently available on earth. It stays grippy even when ‘sweaty-wet'”
One reviewer mentioned how much they love their Liforme mat and went on to say how helpful the alignment cues are to both beginners and experienced practitioners.
For a full review of my White Gold Liforme, check out my article here!
Liforme travel mat
The standard size for this mat is 1.6 kg – 185cm x 66cm – 2 mm thick.
The Liforme travel mat also uses the ‘AlignForMe’ system that works as a navigational tool for the asana practice. This is the lightweight, portable version of the Liforme yoga mat. According to Liforme: “Our mats are always truly planet-friendly: biodegradable, non-toxic, and PVC-free. Take the Liforme magic with you wherever you go!”
One reviewer mentioned that as a beginner, she was looking to buy a good yet affordable yoga mat. She opted for the Liforme Travel and is grateful that she did. She goes on to explain that it is lightweight enough to travel to and from class comfortably and that is very comfortable to practice on as is also anti-slip. And of course, she did mention how helpful the alignment marking was, especially as she is a beginner.
Lululemon- The Reversible Mat 5mm
The standard size for this mat is 2.38 kg – 185cm x 66cm – 5 mm thick.
This mat is slightly thicker than standard mats, and as such has cushioning for knees, hips and floor poses. It has a polyurethane top layer that absorbs moisture to help you get a grip during sweaty practices. It also has a natural rubber base that provides cushioning. It can be used on both sides and as such adds longevity. It also has what they call an ‘antimicrobial additive’ to help prevent bacterial mold and fungi.
One reviewer mentioned how great the grip is on this mat. This makes it particularly good for sweaty and dynamic practices. Additionally, she did mention the smell that many new yoga mats seem to have. However, she did say that airing it out did indeed help.
Lululemon – The Reversible (Un) Mat
The standard size for this mat is 1.05 kg – 180cm x 66cm – 1.5 mm thick.
This mat has all the benefits of the previous mat, but as it is thinner and lighter it is a perfect travel mat. Similar to its original version, It has a polyurethane top layer that absorbs moisture to help you get a grip during sweaty practices. It also has a natural rubber base that provides cushioning. It can be used on both sides and as such adds longevity.
It also has what they call an ‘antimicrobial additive’ to help prevent bacterial mold and fungi. Lululemon suggests to “use this mat on its own or layer it on top of studio mats for peace of mind”.
One reviewer mentioned how perfect this mat is for traveling, as it easily fits into a small bag or a suitcase. They also mentioned placing it on top of the used studio mats.
Jade Harmony mat
The standard size for this mat is 2.5 kg – 68″ x 66cm – 3/16″ mm thick.
This mat is popular, especially for those looking for a good quality eco mat. It is a thick mat, providing great traction and cushion while still providing stability for standing poses. According to Jade: “Unlike other mats, Jade mats contain no PVC, EVA or other synthetic rubber, and are made in the United States in compliance with all US environmental, labor and consumer protection laws.”
One reviewer has had his Jade mat for 7 years and mentioned how much he loves his mat. The reason is that he can’t find a reason to replace it as it is highly durable.
Jade Voyager mat
The standard size for this mat is 1.5 kg – 68″ x 24″ – 1/16″ mm thick.
This mat is perfect for those looking for a good quality eco mat that is light enough and thin enough to travel with. According to Jade: “the Voyager folds up to about the size of a yoga block- allowing it to fit perfectly into your suitcase or backpack! While the Voyager is ideal for those that have to travel light and/or have limited storage space, it is not the best option for daily usage, as its portability impacts overall durability.”
One reviewer mentioned how easy it is to travel with this mat, and that it is highly durable and comfortable to practice on even on top of concrete floors.
If you have even stepped into an Ashtanga Mysore class you may have noticed that most practitioners in that class are not practicing on top of a yoga mat. Well, they are, however they have placed a cotton rug on top. This cotton rug is known as a ‘Mysore rug’.
These Mysore rugs are cotton and are meant to be placed on top of the mat either at the start of the class or when we go into seating postures. It helps the yoga mat last longer and it is a healthy option, especially for those who sweat a lot as the cotton absorbs the sweat and so you can simply wash it after each practice and that way you have a clean surface for your next practice.
If you want to know the benefits of using a Mysore rug in your Ashtanga practice, read this article: 12 Benefits To Using A Mysore Yoga Rug (Updated 2019)
One reviewer mentioned how great the rug is and how much it had helped her practice.