You don’t need a ton of specialized equipment to try hot yoga, but a mat that supports your practice—especially when you’re sweating buckets—is a definite plus. The ideal pick will help you feel “zoned in on your practice to the point where you’re not focusing on your mat,” Erin Archibald, a registered yoga instructor with CorePower in Denver, tells SELF. But finding one that doesn’t slip, bunch, or cause discomfort as you move and perspire isn’t as simple as grabbing the first option you see on the shelf. We spoke with yoga instructors to help find the best options.
How to choose a hot yoga mat
Grip: For hot yoga, you want a grippy mat to reduce your chances of slipping and sliding as things get hot and sweaty. Those made of rubber material are good for grip, says Archibald, who recommends natural rubber over synthetic, since the former is more durable and often higher quality.
Sweat-absorbing: Mats made with an open-cell design (meaning, they’re porous) can be really helpful in yoga since they often fully absorb your sweat and don’t create a slipping hazard with any puddles, Archibald says. Many open-cell mats are constructed with natural rubber. Just keep in mind: You’ll want to regularly clean them so that they don’t get stinky. If you prefer an option that’s easy to sanitize, you can opt for a closed-cell design (meaning, they’re nonporous), which makes them easy to wipe and disinfect, Sarah Larson Levey, a registered yoga instructor and cofounder of Y7 Studio in NYC, tells SELF.
Thickness: Mats come in varying amounts of padding, and the right level boils down to personal preference. You might feel more stable for balancing poses on a thinner mat, while a thicker one will provide more cushion for your joints. Generally, you’ll want a thinner option (in the 3 to 5mm range) for hot yoga for a more grounded feeling, and a thicker mat for more slower-paced styles (like yin or restorative), Archibald says.
Size: The standard for yoga mats is 26 by 71 inches, which works well for most folks, Archibald says. If you’re taller (say, over 6’2″), then you may feel more comfortable on a wider, longer version, Levey says.
The best yoga mats for hot yoga
Based on expert input and customer ratings, here are solid picks to elevate your practice.