Your Guide to Yoga Mats

Is it or isnt it? Sure, there's no denying that your yoga mat is your sacred space where the magic happens, but how much value does it truly add to your practice?


The importance of a yoga mat...

Think of your yoga mat as a time machine; stepping onto your mat is a way of stepping into a different world, away from reality. It defines your space and for many people, becomes a safe haven. The moment you roll out your mat, your mind and body already start to prepare for the practice ahead. For many of us, yoga is such a personal practice and your mat is there with you every step of the way. Honouring that space is important.

Finding the right mat for you...

This can be tricky. Each yogi has unique opinion of what is important to them; maybe its the grip, the length, the material.... maybe even the colour or design! There are many things to look for when finding a mat that suits your practice; and the process can become quite tedious. To help you along the way, Ive selected a few "fan favourites" when it comes to yoga mats in South Africa.


Before we get started, here are a few factors to consider when buying a yoga mat:

  1. Thickness: Yoga mats come in a variety of thicknesses and materials that provide cushioning and support for our joints. If you’re someone who suffers from knee or ankle injuries, thicker mats provide more support in kneeling and standing postures.

  2. Weight: Weight is often linked to density or thickness. if you’re traveling yogi or will most likely be carrying your mat around with you a lot, then consider looking at travel mats that are lighter in weight.

  3. Price: Think about how much you are willing to spend on a mat. Yoga mats in a lower price range can typically be found in general sports stores, but it means you probably won’t be investing in a reliable, quality mat. The price tag increases with brand name and materials used. Don’t worry, this also means they are more likely to last longer!

  4. Yoga style : Think about the style of yoga and frequency that you are practicing. For example, comfort and cushion may be a higher priority when practicing yin yoga. Whereas, non-slip surface and density are a focus for vinyasa practitioners. In contrast, for hot yoga, you may look for a mat (or invest in a towel) that absorbs sweat and is easy to clean.

  5. Length & size: Yoga mats usually come in a standard size. However, many brands are now coming out with extra length mats for our tall yogis out there! You’ll want to make sure a yoga mat covers your whole body when lying down so make sure to look at the measurements.


Now that we have gotten that out the way, lets share a few of our favourite mats with you!

Did you know: All of these mats are proudly South African! We support local - and we hope you will


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Cork Yoga Mats.

One the latest trends; recycled cork, has become a crowd favourite when it comes to yoga mats! Not only are these environmentally friendly, but they are also naturally anti-bacterial and extremely grippy. Even in hot yoga classes, the extra sweat helps to ground down through your hands and feet.

Where can I find this mat?

The Om Revolution offers beautifully designed cork mats! The alignment lines encourage proper posture and foot/hand placement; great for beginners and more experienced practitioners

Not a fan of the design? You can also find cork yoga mats at Love Yoga Baby


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Microfiber YOGA MATS

Yay! A mat that is perfect for hot yoga practices! The microfiber top layer is absorbent, making it ideal for bikram, hot yoga or just a sweaty power or vinyasa flow. This layer minimizes injuries and improves stability, cushion and responsive grip. Organic materials ensure that this mat is eco-friendly, biodegradable and recyclable.

Where can I find this mat?

The Siréne Lifestyle beautifully designed microfibre mats are extra length and added thickness, making it extra supportive for your practice PLUS: Sirene are focused on reducing their carbon footprint by introducing products that undergo sustainable production methods and make use of natural and recycled resources.

You can also find it at Soul Matters: Combo Suede Mats


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High performance natural rubber mats

Probably the best on the market at the moment. This innovative mat is designed for maximum grip, cushy support and extra grippy surface! These natural rubber mats are suitable for all styles of yoga; from restorative to hot yoga! Being PVC-free, these mats are eco-friendly, making the environment super happy too!

Where can I find this mat?

The Mocana Nimbus Yoga Mat is an example of a high performance natural rubber mat. With their laser etched Mocana alignment line running vertically down the mat, this intelligently guides you during your yoga practice.

You can also find it at Soul Matters:Ultimate Mat


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YOUR EVERY-DAY YOGA MAT

The standard, and most easily accessible and affordable yoga mats are usually made of 6mm PVC. Although PVC, polyvinyl chloride, is durable, spongy and easy to clean, it is not so great for the environment.  These mats are ideal for beginners who are just looking at starting their practice. However, if you’re looking to practice regularly and advance your yoga, we would suggest taking it up a notch!

Where can I find this mat?

Soul Matters offer a range of PVC yoga mats as well as a variety of more sustainable and durable yoga mats.


INTERNATIONAL BRANDS THAT YOU MIGHT LIKE…

Although local is lekker, there are also a number of great International Yoga Brands. Some are really tricky to get into South Africa, but we are lucky to have amazing distributors bringing these mats to our shores.


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Liforme

Also High Performance Natural Rubber mats, Liforme make use a unique AlignForMe system of practical alignment markers which act as a guideline to encourage yoga practice with better alignment. Their mats are longer and wider which allows for more space as you flow. It also provides a balance between firm stability and comfortable cushioning.

Where can I find this mat?

PlayMoveBreathe have brought these amazing mats to South Africa. Available in a variety of colours as well as a standard or travel mat option!


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MANDUKA

Manduka mats are solid, firm and supportive. It is made with eco-certified safe PVC and is free from any toxins. The high-density cushioning is great for joint protection and provides great support. Plus, they guarantee that the mat will never wear out from yoga practice.

You get two types available in South Africa; Manduka Pro and Prolite. 

Where can I find this mat?

Check out the Shakti Shanti online store for a variety of Manduka yoga mats and props!


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JADE YOGA MATS

The Jade Harmony yoga mat offers incredible grip, great comfort and its eco-friendly. They are made with natural rubber, making it sustainable! It provides great traction and can even be bought in "extra length". PLUS, through its partnership with Trees for the Future, JadeYoga plants a tree for every mat sold. These mats are originally made in the United States and are quite a struggle to find in South Africa.

The only downfall is that these wonderful mats are not easily available in South Africa. If you have a friend traveling overseas, get them to bring one back fro you!

Find out more about Jade Yoga Mats here


Ill leave you with a thought. In your yoga journey, your mat becomes a friend. It sees you at your best and worst times. It catches you when you fall... and it never judges. Take the time to honour it, it does more for you than you think!

Tarryn James