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Yoga Mats: Jade vs Gaiam vs Manduka vs. Hugger Mugger

Yoga mats. Where do we start? There are so many variables from size and thickness to price and materials used. Are pricier ones better? And how do you clean a yoga mat?

We're going to cover this and more for you right here and now.

Size Matters

Most people think there is only one size and we know one size doesn't fit all. If you're 5"10 or less, than the standard 68' x24" yoga mat would be a good fit, great for kids too. However, they also make mats a little wider, up to 26" and for taller individuals you can get a good yoga mat up to 71" in length.


Depending upon your yoga style, hot yoga, vinyasa or restorative, and how much you practice thickness is vital. Here you want comfort, however, you can also add props (blocks, towels, etc) to aid in your asanas, if you don't have serious knee or joint issues and don't want to carry around a heavier mat.

If you have sensitive joints, bad knees or want more back support, you want to invest in a thicker mat, about 1/2 inch (usually looks more like an exercise mat). However, thicker mats can interfere with your balance and you tend to sink in. I have found myself gripping more with my toes and using more leg muscles for balancing.

In general mats that are between 6-8mm and made of natural rubber or dense PVC (like Manduka Pro) offers the best support. It cushions your joints and remains dense enough so it doesn't ruin your balance.

Hugger Mugger, the Para Rubber mat, a higher end mat, offers a 1/4" (6.35mm) offering great cushion and grip. It does come in the longer length, 70x24, however it's not sweat absorbing so you'll need a towel if you sweat a lot or perform hot yoga. It's made of natural rubber, with open celled surface which can aid in gripping but can harbor bacteria, be sure to do a deep cleaning regularly.

If you have a latex allergy, you may want to avoid yoga mats made from natural rubber.

The Hugger Mugger Tapas mat, comes in several sizes from 68", and 74" with a standard 24" width. It's durable and made with PVC similar to other yoga mats. PVC is heavy metal and phthalate-free so it's not poisoning your body. It's a sticky mat too, so when you first get you need to clean it and "break it in". It also has an open-celled surface. It's also dense but only at 3.175, so if you have sensitive joints you may want to keep a towel nearby, extra cushioning or go with a thicker mat. Not necessarily good for hot yoga. It's affordable and lightweight.

IN the essence of space and wordiness, I'll include a few charts below depicting some differences between Jade v Hugger Mugger, Manduka and other popular name brand yoga mats.

Overall, a 1/4" mat is considered thick and maybe more ideal for back support during core work, inversions and other postures that cause your bones to dig into the ground. A standard yoga mat would be about 3.3 mm or 1/8" thick.

And, if you don't have a yoga mat, that's ok too. You can use: a beach towel, woven blanket, grass or nothing.


Price is going to vary from $15 upwards of $100+ depending upon the material, brand, quality and where you buy your mat. You can do a quick google search and find the mat your want and maybe within your budget. Overall, you get what you pay for. If you go on the cheaper end, you may find yourself replacing your mat more often, and probably not being very comfortable doing your poses, or pilates. And, you may actually cause more harm, injury by not using proper mat thickness and or props in your practice. You may pay more upfront, but you're getting thicker, durable and better quality materials. I have found with less-expensive mats they flake quicker, especially if your an avid yogi and travel from studio to outside and more.

Some people have even layered mats. Whatever works for you.

Today there are a plethora of choices, so narrow down some of the specifics first, such as size, style (type of yoga or exercise and frequency of use, and this should help when you are ready to invest.

One more point. Perks! Some yoga mats come with warranties and other perks from he manufacturer. You can find these on their website and social media pages.


When you first purchase your yoga (or exercise) mat, you want to clean it as there may be chemicals on it. Usually the wrapper your mat comes in may have directions for proper cleaning. Usually I wash mine with a gentle, non-toxic cleaner and soft sponge and/or towel and let air dry, preferably outside. Then I like to use a yoga mat cleaner spray I make with essential oils (you can see a video on my page, in facebook and youtube, www.heartfulyouyoga, BeYogaFull). My Yoga Mat cleaner, I usually have two different ones, have a cleaning essential oil (like tea tree, for its bacteria cleaning power) in it and another oil for either relaxing (lavender, eucalyptus) or maybe something for muscles, like lemongrass, there are a dozen or more essential oils to choose from. I use pure essential oils. More about essential oils on my page, website and youtube channel. Feel free to email me with questions. Then I alternate the sprays as I need. Also, if I've been outside practicing or in other studios, and regularly, I like to do a more thorough cleaning submerging it in warm water with a mild, non-toxic cleaner.

Do not use steel wool or other coarse type of scrubber as these can damage your mat. Also, you really shouldn't use any harsh chemicals such as Lysol or wipes, windex, bleach, etc. Also you will be breathing these chemicals in while practicing.

You can use vinegar (white or apple cider) and water, a 50/50 mix to wipe down your mat. Let hang dry in a well-ventilated room or outside.

How Long Should You Keep Your Yoga Mat

A general rule of thumb would be six to twelve months. However, again, it depends on the type or style of yoga you practice and your frequency.


What is Gaiam yoga mat made of?

The typical and lower priced Gaiam yoga mat is made of PVC or to put it in more simple terms - vinyl. While a lot of yoga students and instructors prefer yoga mats made of natural rubber, some still prefer PVC because it's a tried and tested material for making sticky yoga mats.

Is PVC toxic?

PVC contains dangerous chemical additives including phthalates, lead, cadmium, and/or organotins, which can be toxic to your child's health. These toxic additives can leach out or evaporate into the air over time, posing unnecessary dangers to children.

Do yoga mats cause cancer?

The main ingredient in PVC is vinyl chloride, which is a known human carcinogen. We are exposed to the gas that PVC yoga mats emit. Also, dioxins are byproducts of PVC yoga mats' manufacturing and disposal. ... They have been classified as a human carcinogen.

Manduka - 97% latex free, eKO mats, tactile grip, springs, responsive ride, catch grip ® technology, balance of grip and drag to flow effortlessly between poses. Made from biodegradable, non-Amazon, sustainably harvested rubber.

Repose Eco-Friendly Yoga Mat, as it features a nonslip surface made of natural rubber padding that gets you through even the hottest of workouts. Additionally, its cork exterior makes it extremely durable — not to mention better for the environment because it doesn't contain plastic.

Sweaty Betty's Eco Yoga Mat features not one but two layers of nonslip fabric, which gives it a better grip than some other mats on the market. It's also completely biodegradable, so it's better for the planet. As if that weren't enough, it's lightweight yet still durable.

A few notes about Cork yoga mats:

Cork mats- extremely durable, and it also offers a lot of traction. Wet or dry, it has plenty of grip and traction (hot yogis will love it). ... In short – cork creates a high-performance yoga mat that's durable and also a joy to practice on. ¼’, 3.3mm +, cork oak trees absorb more carbon dioxide in their stripped state. Antibacterial: Cork mats are easier to keep clean than other mat materials because cork is naturally resistant to bacteria growth.

These are the best yoga mats out there, according to some of the top teachers across the country.

· Best Budget Mat: Gaiam Premium 2-Color Mat.

· Best Cushioned Mat: Manduka Pro Mat.

· Best Mat For Vinyasa: Gaiam Sol Yoga Mat.

· Best Upgrade Mat: Liforme Yoga Mat.

Best For Studio Style: La Vie Boheme Botanical Yoga Mat

What is the best cheap yoga mat?

The Best Yoga Mats

· Our pick. Lululemon The Reversible Mat 5mm. The best yoga mat for most people.

· Runner-up. JadeYoga Harmony Mat. A natural rubber option.

· Budget pick. 1/4″ Extra Thick Deluxe Yoga Mat. A bargain mat that holds up.

· Also great. JadeYoga Voyager. A foldable mat for travel.

Top Yoga Mats For Beginners Reviewed

· YogaAccessories Non-slip Yoga Mat. Comfort. Price.

· Jade Fusion 68 Inch Yoga Mat. Comfort. Price.

· Aurorae Classic Eco Safe Yoga Mat. Comfort. Price.

· Heathyoga Eco Friendly Non-Slip Yoga Mat. Comfort. Price.

· Jade Harmony Yoga Mat. Comfort. Price.

· prAna Revolution Mat. Comfort. Price.

· Manduka Pro. Comfort.

Note: if you're practicing on carpet, you can also slip a piece of wood under your mat for more stability and smoothness during your practice, without having to get a thicker mat.

If you are committed to a yoga practice, invest in a good mat and you won’t regret it.

(More reviews will be added in a separate post, as this one is getting very long.)

I will update this blog post very soon with links to videos, etc.

I'm available for reviews of products. Please email me.

Disclaimer: I may have links here that will lead to my business page (essential oils) or other affiliates where if you make a purchase I make small commission.

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