One of the most frequently asked questions is: What is the best yoga mat?
My preference is for Jade Harmony yoga mats. They are made locally (near me in PA) from all-natural rubber. Jade mats contain no PVC, EVA or other synthetic rubber. The company plants a tree for every mat sold, and their website boasts that they have planted over one million trees so far (1,349,985 to be exact).
Jade mats aren’t cheap. But here is the secret: you do have to spend some money to get a good mat. Cheap mats are available almost everywhere, like HomeGoods and Target, but they aren’t the best quality. The biggest complaint about them is that your hands and feet slip, which is not a good feeling. Another problem is they can slide around on the floor, which is a safety issue. When you stand on your mat, you don’t want to worry that it’s going to move under your feet.
I like Jade mats because they are thicker and more substantial than other mats. They are also heavier. When brand-new, they do have a strong smell, but I find that if I hang them up and air them out, the smell usually goes away. My biggest issue with these mats is that after a while they start to disintegrate. (My yoga mats get a lot of use, so for me, a mat lasts about a year.) I joke about my mat “flaking out” on me when I come up after practicing Cobra and notice little flecks of mat all over me. That’s when I know it’s time to get a new one. I’ve been through many Jade mats, and currently I have two in my car and three in my home studio.
Cleaning your mat.
I am not an advocate of putting your yoga mat through the washing machine, but some people do it. To me it seems harsh. I prefer to use a cleaner that I make with white vinegar, water, and drops of tea tree oil and lavender oil. If you don’t have access to that, then fill a small bowl with water and add a drop of detergent. Use a clean rag and scrub down your mat. Then hang it up to dry. Jade doesn’t recommend hanging the mat in full sun, so use your discretion.
Your mat should be cleaned after every practice, and deep cleaned once every few months. When you practice, you are working out negativity and blocked energy, and sometimes these things can get absorbed into your mat. Cleaning it thoroughly releases this energy and brings more support for your next practice.