The thickness of a Yoga mat is important especially for those who feel like they need extra support. As a general rule a 4mm mat should be enough support for the average person, especially if you are a beginner. For some people this can be too thick as they like to connect with the floor, however this is more likely to be an individual with Yoga experience, so you will know if this applies to you!
A sticky yoga mat doesn't sound pleasant, lets face it. But a sticky Yoga mat can be a great investment that will not only protect you from injuries, but help you in your yoga poses. The term sticky applies to mats that have a great non slip capability, they don't slip and slide when you're moving about on them, and they provide a firm non slip base for hands and feet so you're not going anywhere! Mixing it up with sweat (we're talking to you hot yogi's) and budget mats probably won't quite cut the mustard. For those who know they'll be getting very warm it is definitely worth reading reviews on mats before investing.
There are many different materials used to make Yoga mats, with foam, PVC, rubber, cork and even recycled plastic bottles just a few. The cheapest of these start with foam and PVC, with rubber mats in the mid-priced zone. As a beginner a good PVC or foam mat should be perfect for general yoga classes. Watch out if you are allergic to latex, although many mats are latex free, it's worth checking, especially with the cheaper ones.
Depending on how far away you have to travel to your class, the portability of a mat can be a huge issue. Thicker mats in general tend to be heavier, with rubber working the muscles more than foam or PVC. Many companies have bags which you can store your mats in for ease of carrying. However check the weight of your mat before buying if this will be a big issue. For those wishing to travel with their mats abroad or long distance, small rubber mats are available. Folding into a tiny proportion of the size of a usual mat, these provide a non slip surface, though lack the comfort and thickness of usual mats.
Some of our favourites:
Yoga Matters - Sticky Yoga Mat - £17.00
A great beginners mat, the Sticky Yoga Mat from Yoga Matters is 4.5mm thick. Combine a huge range of colours and awesome reviews about its stickiness, we are sold!
Sweaty Betty - Eco Yoga Mat - £40.00
At 6mm this mat from Sweaty Betty is great for those who need that extra bit of cushioning. Grippy when used for normal and warm Yoga (with two different grip patterns), it's a light and portable mat that's kinder on the environment than other ones.
Yoga matters - Ecoyoga Jute Mat - £42.00
For those who fancy standing out from the crowd the Ecoyoga Jute mat is a rubber backed Jute mat which is naturally grippy. With a coarser natural texture it's not as soft as other mats, but this biodegradable mat is great for the environment and proves itself in the non slip category.
Manduka - Manduka Eko Lite Mat 4mm - £60.00
Available in both a 4mm and a 5mm size, Manduka are well kown for their environmentally conscious mats. Made from biodegradable, non-Amazon harvested, natural tree rubber, these mats provide a great grip on the floor. Available with jazzy patterns they're cheerful too!