Three Features You Need in a Yoga Mat

Yoga and Pilates are two forms of exercise that are easy to do at home, as long as you have some space to spread out your mat.

Woman stretching on yoga mat
Yoga mats are just simple pieces of foam but they can make your workouts a lot more comfortable.Burst/Pexels

The beautiful thing about practicing yoga is that you don’t really need anything but your body, a clear mind, and some space in which to stretch out. But if you invest in only one accessory to help get your Gaia on, make it a yoga mat. A proper mat cushions joints and pressure points like hips, elbows, and knees, and also keeps you centered over a dedicated space without cluttering up the room. Here are a few traits to look for in a proper yoga mat.

Ample Thickness

BalanceFrom GoYoga All-Purpose 1/2-Inch Extra Thick High Density Anti-Tear Exercise Yoga Mat
A thicker mat will be easier on your joints and muscles than a thin one.BalanceFrom

A mat for practicing yoga, Pilates, or any kind of floor workout should be about 3/8- to 1/2-inch thick. That’s enough to dampen impact and add a layer of safety to the session. Also look for a textured surface, which will assist with traction during difficult poses or stretches.


Gaiam Yoga Mat - Premium 6mm Print Extra Thick Non Slip Exercise & Fitness Mat
A mat with bundling straps and a handle is easier to transport and store than one without.Gaiam

A typical yoga mat is just big enough to stretch out on from head to toe. But the thicker or longer the mat is, the bulkier it gets. Straps will help keep the mat all in one bundle for transportation and neatly stored out of the way when not in use.

Easy to Clean

AmazonBasics 1/2-Inch Extra Thick Exercise Mat
Most foam mats are durable enough to handle a quick wipe down after a sweaty workout.AmazonBasics

A close-cell foam mat is pretty standard for yoga or Pilates. Just make sure the surface will accept a quick wipe down with a household disinfectant after particularly vigorous workouts. This is especially true for hot yoga classes, which can get pretty sweaty.