The BEST Yoga Mat for Ashtanga Yoga: Ashtanga Teacher review


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The BEST Yoga Mats for Ashtanga Yoga: Ashtanga Teacher review

There are so many yoga mats to choose from nowadays. Some are tailored to more dynamic yoga practices while others are better for more grounding practices. And so if you practice a dynamic form of yoga, such as Ashtanga, Vinyasa, or Power yoga, you want a durable mat that ticks certain boxes. So which ashtanga yoga mat should we choose?

The best yoga mat for Ashtanga yoga is Manduka because it has a lifetime guarantee. Also, Liforme because it has excellent grip and a useful alignment system, Lululemon because it is an all-around good quality mat, and lastly Jade because it is eco-friendly and may absorb your sweat.

As a yoga practitioner, you need to find a yoga mat that checks all the boxes. And so as an Ashtanga practitioner, one of the most important things is to find a yoga mat with good grip so you won’t be sliding all over the place, especially if you have sweaty hands. Nobody wants to be sliding all over the place when they’re doing their practice!

Here’s a quick preview of the best yoga mats for sweaty hands that I’ll cover:

Definitely check out my detailed guide for Ashtanga yoga beginners if you are new to Ashtanga yoga and looking for more information.

Best Ashtanga Yoga Mat

To figure out what the best yoga mat for Ashtanga yoga is, I went ahead and did some research.

I asked the very helpful group “Ashtanga Home Practitioners Network’ on Facebook to let me know which yoga mat they would recommend for Ashtanga yoga.

So let’s see what they had to say.

And so as you can see, the vast majority of those who responded stated that they use Manduka. And that’s an incredible 73% of those who responded!

And so there you have it. If you are looking for the best yoga mat for Ashtanga yoga, well, most Ashtanga yoga practitioners appear to be practicing on a Manduka yoga mat.

I have been practicing Ashtanga yoga with my Manduka Pro for the past 10 years and I can honestly say it is an excellent yoga mat. I have also owned a Jade Harmony for 5 years. However, for the sake of doing an honest review, I went ahead and purchased a Liforme and Lululemon and tried them out for 1 month. And so for the rest of the article, I’m going to explain all the pros and cons of each of these types of yoga mats.

YOGA ASHTANGA YOGA MATPERCENTAGE OF PRACTITIONERS
Manduka73%
Liforme14%
Jade5%
Lululemon4%
Other3%
Number of people using Manduka, Liforme, Lululemon, Jade yoga mat for Ashtanga yoga

Here are some of the responses of why they practice Ashtanga yoga on the mat they mentioned:

Why Manduka is the best mat for Ashtanga:

My best friend Manduka mat ♥️. I can’t believe I hated it at first, it was way too slippery for me and I had to cover its beautiful colour with a rug! I took the rug away about a year later as I’d broken it in and now, maybe over 3 years of use still looks just as gorgeous

Why Liforme is the best mat for Ashtanga:

Liforme has been the only mat that kept me from slipping during the Primary and Intermediate Series.

Why Jade is the best mat for Ashtanga:

I’m using jade and I love how grippy it is.

Why Lululemon is the best mat for Ashtanga:

I use my Lululemon mat and love it. I have the original black mat. It’s nice and grippy for standing poses but not so grippy you can’t jump through.

If you want to see my overall best yoga mats review on YouTube, here’s the video.

Below you will see all about the specifics of these four yoga mats.

MandukaLiformeLululemonJade
ProWhite GoldReversibleHarmony
Weight3.4kg2.5kg2.2kg2.2kg
Thickness6mm4.2mm5mm5mm
Priceover $100over $100under $100under $100
Colors available1521614
Eco-friendlySustainable PVCNatural rubber baseNatural rubber Overall most eco-friendly
yoga mat
Brand cleanerManduka Mat WashJade plant-based mat wash
GuaranteeLifetimeMay take it back1 year
Best for travelgoodlight enoughlight enough
Extrascomes with mat bagcomes with tote bag
Star qualityMat for lifeAlignment systemTop antimicrobial layerMost eco friendly
NegativesNeeds to be broken in firstHigh priceLoses initial shine soonProne to wear and tear
Best mat for Ashtanga yoga description

Why It’s Important To Choose a Mat for Ashtanga Yoga

Yoga mats really are the only accessory you may need to buy for your yoga practice. And so especially if you practice Ashtanga and sweat a lot, it really is important to buy a good-quality yoga mat that will support your practice. And if you are wondering why that’s important?

Well, the last thing you want is to be sliding all over the place during class. The reason is that not having a good grip will make your yoga Ashtanga practice more challenging than it needs to be.

For more information, check out my video below where I explain yoga mat grip and even do a grip test with dry and sweaty hands!

What to Look for in a Mat for Ashtanga Yoga

There is a lot to consider when it comes to choosing a yoga mat for sweaty hands and feet. Some are the features to pay attention to:

Does the Surface Absorb the Sweat?

If you’re someone who sweats a lot, this part’s important for you. Some yoga mats are open-cell while others are closed-cell. What’s the difference?

The open-cell mat is porous and so it absorbs sweat. And so if you are looking for a yoga mat for sweaty hands, then this mat may be perfect for you as there will be no sweat puddles! This is good for a dynamic practice like Ashtanga, however, one downside is that it can be hard to clean and become a bacteria playground. A typical example of an open-cell yoga mat is the Jade Harmony.

The closed-cell mat is denser with an impermeable surface. It is more resistant to wear and tear and could be considered more hygienic. A typical example of a closed-cell yoga mat is the Manduka Pro Yoga Mat. And so if you sweat a lot then you will most likely need to pair this mat with a cotton rug (Yogasana Yoga Mat) or a Yogitoes Manduka Yoga Towel for Mat.

I am also an Ashtanga practitioner, and the current combination of mats I have is the Manduka Pro Yoga Mat and then I place the Yogasana Yoga Mat on top when I get to the seating poses.

Does the grip remain the same as you sweat?

For anyone who is looking for a yoga mat for Ashtanga yoga, having a mat whose grip is not affected by sweat is a must! And so one such example is the Jade Harmony. And so more specifically, because this mat is made of rubber, it will absorb your sweat and in this way, it doesn’t affect the grip.

Can your Mat for Ashtanga yoga be Cleaned Easily?

Being able to easily clean your yoga mat is really important when it comes to sweaty Ashtanga yoga practices.

During our Ashtanga practice, our mats get a lot of love, sweat, and sometimes tears from us! And so given the fact that we come into close contact with our yoga mats on a regular basis, and especially if you sweat a lot, you can now probably see why it is important to regularly clean mats!

So, why does this matter? Well, having a clean mat is essential for your hygiene, also also, it will prevent any bad odors. When you’re shopping for a yoga mat for Ashtanga, it is worth noticing if they can be cleaned easily.

If you want more specific instructions on how to clean your yoga mat then my YouTube video may come in very helpful!

As a side note, I wrote an article titled How To Clean a Yoga Mat The Right Way. Be sure to check it out!

Should you use a Cotton Rug or a Towel on top?

If you practice Ashtanga yoga, you may notice that your sweat is causing you to lose your grip, especially if you practice on a closed-cell yoga mat. And especially if you’re someone who sweats more than average, you may want to look into a cotton rug to place on top of your yoga mat, such as the Yogasana Yoga Mat, or a yoga towel, such as the Yogitoes Manduka Yoga Towel for Mat. Both options are commonly used by yoga practitioners who sweat a lot.

I try to go to India to practice with my teacher, Sharath Jois. And as the climate is rather hot and sometimes humid, most people find themselves sweating much more than they are used to. And so regardless of the yoga mat you use, every single person there has a cotton rug or a yoga towel on top of their mat.

Best Mat for Ashtanga Yoga

1. Manduka Pro

This is the yoga mat I have had for the past 11 years. I absolutely love this mat for my Ashtanga practice. You will have it for life and it even comes with a lifetime guarantee! It is 6mm thick meaning that it offers great cushioning for your joints. However, as it is a closed-cell mat, it doesn’t allow any moisture to penetrate. And so this means that you may need to use a cotton rug or yoga towel on top once you start sweating.

I travel to Mysore, India to practice with my teacher Sharath Jois once a year. There I generally sweat A LOT, as do most people! And so what we all do is add a cotton rug or towel once we get particularly sweaty. And so if you are considering this yoga mat, know that you will have do also use a rug (like the Yogasana Yoga Mat) or towel (like the Yogitoes Manduka Yoga Towel for Mat).

Features to love about the Manduka Pro Yoga Mat:

  • Mat for life as it offers a lifetime guarantee
  • 6mm thick, meaning that it offers great cushioning of sensitive joints
  • Comes in two lengths, regular 71 Inches and extra-long 85 Inches
  • Made in an emissions-free facility

Naturally, there really is no perfect yoga mat, and so in my opinion, the only two drawbacks of this yoga mat is:

1. This is a rather heavy yoga mat, and so this may not be your best option if you have to carry it to your local yoga studio, or if you are planning on traveling with it.

2. You may need to break it in at first to experience the superior grip. For more information check my video: https://youtu.be/oxAUnLFJ59E

2. Lifrome

You have probably seen this yoga mat on social media, Instagram in particular! Since the release of their first even yoga mat with an alignment system, Liforme really has revolutionized how useful and practical the top surface of a yoga mat can be. And so the Liforme yoga mat can greatly benefit yoga beginners and the more advanced practitioners with their alignment pattern. And yet that is just one of the benefits of this mat. You will experience a superior grip to support your Ashtanga practice. Plus, it looks really pretty.

And so this really is a great yoga mat for Ashtanga yoga.

Features to love about the Liforme Yoga Mat

  • It is made from Natural Rubber and Eco-Polyurethane
  • The great grip you will experience is thanks to their “GripForMe” material 
  • It has a rubber base meaning that you will experience great cushioning.
  • It is lightweight and so it is easy enough to carry around
  • It also comes in a travel mat edition, making it the perfect mat to travel with

Just keep in mind that if you sweat a lot, then you may need a towel to help you sliding when your hands get really sweaty.

3. Jade Harmony

The truth is that the cost of practicing yoga can add up. This may involve the cost of your local yoga studio, any online memberships you may have, and any workshops you are interested in attending. And so if you are looking for an eco-friendly yoga mat that is also a good quality yoga mat for Ashtanga yoga, then this yoga mat may be a good option for you. This yoga mat is sustainably made, it’s lightweight, and also it is rather inexpensive!

Features to love about the Jade:

  • Eco-friendly yoga mat
  • Lightweight meaning it is easy to carry to your local studio
  • At 5mm thick it offers great cushioning
  • Affordable
  • It is moisture absorbing meaning that it is a perfect yoga mat for Ashtanga yoga

One thing to point out is that the surface of this yoga mat can feel rough, perhaps a bit too rough for some practitioners. And so if the silky smooth surface of the Liforme was on one end of the spectrum, then this is certainly on the other end. And so keep this in mind when considering this yoga mat for Ashtanga yoga.

4. Lululemon Reversible

If you are an Ashtanga practitioner that is looking for a good quality yoga mat that has good grip, good cushioning and is under $100, you’re going to want to check this mat out. It has a superior grip in dry and sweaty conditions, meaning that this is a perfect yoga mat for Ashtanga yoga. It has an interesting leather-like top layer that maximizes your grip no matter how much you sweat. And that’s something worth checking out!

Features to love about the Lululemon:

  • Good grip for an Ashtanga yoga practice
  • Antimicrobial layer
  • 5mm thick meaning you will experience great cushioning
  • Comes in a variety of colors
  • Affordable

5. Manduka Eko Lite

If you are looking for an eco-friendly yoga mat this is also great for Ashtanga yoga, then this may be the option for you. It is 4mm thick meaning that it also offers some good cushioning for your joints. Similar to the Manduka Pro mentioned above, you may need to give it some time to break it in to really get to experience the grip Manduka can offer.

Features to love about the Manduka Eko Lite:

  • 4mm thick meaning you will experience some good cushioning
  • Eco-friendly and biodegradable
  • Comes in a variety of colors and patterns
  • Affordable

If you are considering this yoga mat for sweaty hands and you know you sweat a lot, then know that you may have to also use a rug (like the Yogasana Yoga Mat) or towel (like the Yogitoes Manduka Yoga Towel for Mat).

6. Manduka eKo

This yoga mat is the thicker version of the mat mentioned above. It comes in at 5mm, meaning that this offers extra support for your joints. And so if you are looking for a yoga mat for Ashtanga yoga that also offers great cushioning, then this may be the mat for you. Additionally, if you are concerned with how sensitive it is, know that this mat is actually the “most durable natural rubber yoga mat on the market”.

Features to love about the Manduka eko:

  • 5mm thick meaning you will experience some superior cushioning
  • Eco-friendly and biodegradable
  • Durable
  • Natural rubber grip
  • Rippled surface texture that helps improve the grip

Cotton Rugs and Towels for Ashtanga yoga

1. Yogasana Cotton Yoga Mat

If you practice Ashtanga and especially if you generally sweat a lot, then this cotton rug is perhaps just what you are looking for. As it is made of cotton and as such will absorb all your sweat, you can feel confident that is a perfect solution for sweaty Ashtanga practices. Of course, as it is a rug, you will have to place this on top of a yoga mat, otherwise you will be sliding all over your floor!

Features to love about the Yogasana Yoga Mat:

  • You can place this on top of your mat when you start getting sweaty hands
  • It will prolong the lifespan of your yoga mat
  • Simply put it in the washing machine on a cold wash
  • This mat comes with an incredible 21 Year Warranty!
  • It comes in a variety of colors

This is what I have for my sweaty Ashtanga practice. The combo I have is the Manduka Pro Yoga Mat and then I place this rug on top. This is something Ashtanga practitioners generally do as they start to sweat and it really is what has perhaps helped my Manduka Pro stay in perfect use, despite 11 years of practicing and teaching on it!

2. Gaiam Grippy Towel

Having a yoga mat towel is another option to using a cotton rug. It is micro-fiber and will help you have excellent grip throughout your Ashtanga practice, no matter how much you sweat. And so if you are looking for something to place on top of your yoga mat, then this is a great thing to use on top of any mat really and will help keep your hands in place throughout your Ashtanga practice.

Features to love about the Gaiam Grippy Yoga Mat Towels:

  • It is microfiber, meaning it is super absorbent
  • It dries in half the time of a cotton rug
  • It comes in beautiful colors
  • It can be machine washed
  • Very affordable

Something to point out is that this towel is very thin. And so especially if you practice Ashtanga yoga and you do many jump backs, this may be moving out of place, especially if you can’t clear your feet from the floor. This is something that I personally don’t like and that’s why I use a cotton rug. However, I know many people who swear by this and so it really comes down to personal preference.

3. Yogitoes Towel

Just like the yoga towel above, this is also a great option if you are looking for something to place on top of your yoga mat during your Ashtanga practice, especially once you start sweating. Simply place it on top of your mat and you are ready to go!

Features to love about the Yogitoes Manduka Yoga Towel for Mat:

  • It is microfiber, meaning it is super absorbent
  • It dries in half the time of a cotton rug
  • Eco-friendly
  • It can be machine washed
  • It has rubber dots on the base meaning it won’t be sliding anywhere, regardless of the surface you place it on.

If you don’t want to place this on top of your mat, you can always have it next to you and use it to wipe your sweat. This could be a solution to practicing with sweaty hands.

Conclusion

And so all the yoga mats listed are good options for Ashtanga yoga. It really does depend on what you are looking for.

If you want a premium yoga mat that you will have for life, then go for the Manduka Pro and pair it with the Yogasana Yoga Mat.

What is the best yoga mat for Ashtanga?

As a general rule, the best yoga mat for Ashtanga is one that offers great grip and that is at least 4mm thick to protect the joints. The four best yoga mats for Ashtanga yoga are the Manduka Pro (lifetime guarantee), Liforme (excellent grip), Jade (eco-friendly), and the Lululemon (affordable).

Is Ashtanga the hardest yoga?

As a general rule, Ashtanga is a physically demanding practice. Due to the constant flow from pose to pose, this makes it feel as a very hard yoga practice. Vinyasa flow is another type of yoga that is also considered hard. And so depending on your level and the teacher, one may feel harder than the other.

What is the best Ashtanga yoga mat thickness?

As a general rule, aim for a yoga mat that is at least 4mm thick. It may come as no surprise that the most popular mat by Ashtanga yoga practitioners is the Manduka pro which is 6mm thick. This, for me, is the best thickness of yoga mat for Ashtanga, as it offers excellent cushioning for the joints.

Alexia Koletsou

Alexia Koletsou is a Level 1 Authorized Ashtanga Yoga Teacher with a Ph.D. in Science Communication. She received her blessing to teach Ashtanga Yoga in 2019, from the Sri K. Pattabhi Jois Ashtanga Yoga Institute in Mysore, India, where she has had the honor of practicing with R. Sharath Jois multiple times over the years. She is the owner of her own Shala in Greece and now shares her knowledge on yogamyoldfriend.com and her YouTube channel Alexia K Yoga.

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