For many people, yoga’s more than just exercise. It's a place for you to unwind, relax, de-stress and yes, get in shape. So choosing a yoga mat, and more specifically the brand you're going to support is important - since a good mat is the one thing you must have for yoga.
After buying and trying many mats and brands over the years, we’ve discovered a few brands that we love and we think you will too. Check it out!
What Makes a Great Yoga Brand
Before getting to the nitty gritty of why we love these brands, let's chat a moment about what we believe makes a great brand. It's a given that the products have to be good - but these companies go above and beyond just quality products to serve their customers.
When we speak about integrity, we think about brands that stand behind their products, offer extended warranties, are environmentally friendly and don’t put harmful chemicals into their products. In short, companies that care more about their customer than their bottom line - but let’s be clear - they’re handsomely rewarded for getting this right.
Speaking of harmful chemicals, we prefer companies that use sustainable products. This means harvesting rubber from sustainable sources, avoiding materials that aren’t recyclable, and using dyes that are body and environment friendly. They care about the environment and they’re taking measures to ensure they conduct business in a high conscious manner.
A company with quality products stands behind their products. They earn raving reviews, offer extended warranties and interact with their customers to continue improving their line. The companies we’ve chose to include here do all that and more.
Our Favorite Yoga Brands
Below we've included 4 of our favorite yoga mat brands as they meet and exceed the above criteria. They're high integrity companies with sustainably made, quality products that benefit you as a yogi and the earth as a whole.
1. Jade Yoga
The story of Jade is very interesting. They're a conscious company that started over 100 years ago as a rug dealer. As the story goes, they were selling oriental rugs but the rugs kept slipping so they had to find a way to keep the rugs in place. After some thought, they developed a natural rubber rug pad to go under the rugs.
One thing led to another and one day B.K.S. Iyengar was in the United States demonstrating yoga on an oriental rug - but he kept slipping. A student in the class removed the rug, leaving only the rug pad below it. In an instant, the yoga mat was born. From there Jade began developing the first natural rubber yoga mat which is tapped from rubber trees here in the U.S.
Why We Love Them
First, the story of the company is great. But the real reason we love them is because they’re an earth conscious company that makes their products in a sustainable way - and does it all in the U.S. Their products are often a little more expensive than your run-of-the-mill yoga mat but you get what you pay for.
Further, Jade plants a tree for every product sold, they have a community partner program for teaching yoga and donate money to causes such as ovarian cancer research and support. Overall, they conduct business like a good friend you know you can trust.
Our Favorite Jade Products
We’ve written a review of all the Jade yoga mats here. But our favorite products by Jade are the Jade Harmony and Jade Fusion.
The Jade Harmony is the first mat made by Jade and also one of the most popular natural rubber yoga mats on the market. It's offered in 68, 71, and 74” lengths and 5 mm thickness. Overall, it's a high quality mat that’s sustainably made and built to last.
The Jade Fusion is their top of the line mat. It's offered in a 68 and 74 inch lengths and 8 mm thickness. Typically, a mat this thick may interfere with balance but since the Fusion's made with a dense natural rubber, it won’t indent as much when you’re standing on it. This makes it one of the best options if you’re pregnant or have sensitive joints and need extra padding.
Manduka as a brand began humbly in 1997 when the architect turned yogi, Peter Sterios, designed his first black mat. He began sending them to his favorite yoga teachers as a way of paying respect to their practice and as time went on, they began sending them to their students.
The name “Manduka” actually comes from a pose that his favorite yoga teacher used to have them do in class: Mandukasana or frog pose (hence the frog logo). It's a good story and one that’s grown the brand ever since.
Why We Love Them
Manduka is a high conscious brand that uses sustainably made products whenever possible. And those that aren’t necessarily sustainable (Manduka PRO is made from PVC) carry a lifetime warranty and Manduka recycles them for other purposes. Where Jade makes all rubber mats, Manduka mixes things up and uses a variety of materials to make mats for different tastes and purposes.
Additionally, Mandukas products are Global Recycled Standard certified - meaning the amount of recycled materials they claim to use in their products is verified. They’re also Organic Content Standard certified - so their products contain 95% or more organic material. And finally, they’re Oeko Tex 100 certified - ensuring their products are free of harmful and toxic chemicals.
Our Favorite Manduka Products
We’ve written about all of Mandukas Yoga Mats here. But our favorite Manduka products are the Manduka Pro, Prolite and Yogitoes Towel.
The Manduka Pro is a great mat that’s made from an ultra-dense PVC material. It’s certified to be free from harmful chemicals and offered in 71 and 85 inch lengths. The standard width for this mat is 26 inches which I personally like because I often go off the sides of a 24 inch mat.
It's 6 mm thick material provides decent cushioning and the density of the material prevents the mat from giving too much or stretching when you apply pressure on your mat.
Another huge benefit of the PRO is that it carries a lifetime warranty so you’ll literally never have to buy another mat if you don’t want to. Overall, it's a quality mat that’s a staple for many yogis around the world.
We love the prolite because it's just like the PRO, only smaller and lighter. It's a slightly thinner (4.7 mm) mat that’s offered in a standard (71 x 24 inches) and long sizes (79 x 24 inches). The weight of this mat is noticeably less than the pro coming in around 4 and 4.5 lbs respectively. Further, the Prolite and Pro are both closed cell making them easy to wipe clean after class.
Mandukas Yogitoes towel has to be my favorite towel for hot yoga. It features a patented silicone nodule pattern on the bottom to keep it stuck to your mat, absorbs buckets of sweat, uses body friendly dyes and comes in some really amazing styles.
I’ve never had any problems with this towel bunching or moving during class and, as you sweat, the grip improves. It’s also made from recycled plastic water bottles making it that much better for the environment.
3. Yoga Design Lab
Yoga Design Lab started with Chad Turner, an average joe on vacation in Bali. As the story goes, he was sitting in a yoga class and noticed that everyone had a bunch of unoriginal, solid colored yoga mats. So he thought to himself, “self, there must be a way to make a mat that looks beautiful AND serves a purpose.” So Yoga Design Lab was born.
Why We Love Them
Yoga Design Lab uses “fashion-forward” designs with high conscious materials. Their mats are made from biodegradable natural tree rubber and the dyes they use to make their inspiring mats are water based and body friendly.
Another perk is (at the time of this writing) their products are very affordable considering the level of quality. And they donate $1 dollar of every purchase to support boys and girls youth yoga programs.
Our Favorite Yoga Design Lab Product
Their Combo Yoga mat is a very nice 2-in-1 mat that’s a combination of a natural rubber mat and high quality hot yoga towel. Since the towel and mat are bound, you never have to worry about your towel bunching or separating from your mat - even in vigorous classes.
It's currently offered in a 70 x 24 inch length/width which is long enough to accommodate slightly taller individuals but I do wish they made a wider version. That being said, we love their mission and their Combo Mat. It’s something you may want to look into if you’re a regular in hot yoga.
4. Aurorae Yoga
Aurorae Yoga is a small, family owned business founded by cancer survivor, Dennis Ingui. Dennis began practicing yoga as a way to release stress, strengthen his body and find inner peace. Now more than 15 years later they’re one of the top rated companies in the country for yoga mats.
Why We Love Them
All of Aurorae’s yoga mats are eco-friendly. They’re made from a non-toxic resin that’s certified to be free from harmful Phthalates, Phenols, PAHS and other chemicals. They’re Oeko Tex 100 certified, FDA approved and several of their products are biodegradable and hypoallergenic.
They pride themselves on being a small business and putting their customer service first and this has really shown through with the success of their business.
Our Favorite Aurorae Product
While they don’t have the best photos, their products are in fact high quality. The Aurorae Classic comes with a 2 year warranty, it's made from a 6 mm thick PER material, includes a free rosin bag to improve stickiness, and it's 72 x 24 inches (they also have an ultra that’s 78 x 26).
Overall this is a great budget friendly mat that provides adequate cushioning, doesn’t contain harmful chemicals and is biodegradable so you’re not harming the environment. Read the full review here.
This is not a comprehensive list and there are many more established and up-and-coming companies that strive to make quality eco-friendly products. We've simply highlighted a few of our favorites to help you gain a clearer picture of the best yoga mat brands. Each company has their own unique styles and products so no one company on this list is any better than the other in that respect.