For years I found practicing yoga at home intimidating, like I needed elusive extra flexibility or cosmic wisdom to practice unsupervised. But all I needed was the best yoga mat for me (along with several yoga apps to help me inject both structure and spontaneity into my practice).
“A varied home practice can help us feel really comfortable in our skin,” Angela Dawn, a certified yoga instructor at Y7 Studio in New York, tells SELF. “It can be really tough to start, but you don’t have to go it alone. The internet is actually a great place to find sequencing ideas, flows, and even full video classes.”
Finding the right mat is a big part of creating the optimal conditions for your at-home practice. But how exactly do you choose the best yoga mat? Start by considering your needs. Maybe you find thicker mats more comfortable for joint pain. Maybe perfect alignment is your goal and you want a mat that helps you achieve straight Warrior Two arms. If you sweat a lot during your practice, a mat that reduces slipping might be top of mind.
My favorite mat for at-home practice is the Gaiam Performance Ultra-Sticky Yoga Mat ($ 40, Gaiam), which I bought on a whim. It’s soft enough that I feel comfortable practicing on my hardwood floor, the purple color makes me happy, and I never feel like I’m going to slip out of my poses (something that’s super important when you’re practicing alone). But for this roundup, I tapped professionals who spend way more time on their mats than I do. Below, five yoga instructors share which picks they consider the best yoga mats for at-home practice, plus a little encouragement to help you develop your routine.
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“As a sweaty yogi, I find that JadeYoga mats have a slightly better grip than a lot of other mats I’ve tried,” says Dawn. And as a self-described curvy woman and certified Yoga for All instructor, she adds, “Their XW Fusion is great for bigger, taller yogis who need a bit of extra cushioning.” Buy it: $ 180, amazon.com
Dawn’s at-home practice advice: “Just like any daily habit, the hard part is showing up. Some days you might only have time for a few deep breaths, and that’s okay.”