Yoga Mats for Men: The Perfect Gift for the Man in Your Life
Whether you are a seasoned yogi or just developing a practice you’ll have noticed the wonderful healing power of yoga in your life. It can be apparent after just one session on your mat. That sense of calm, increased energy levels and an enthusiasm for a practice that keeps you feeling connected, balanced and focused on the present moment as well as toning and strengthening your physical body.
Yoga has a seemingly endless list of benefits that attracts people, encouraging them to create time for regular practice, whether at home or in a yoga studio.
One of the most positive things about yoga is its simplicity and universal appeal. Anyone can take a class, young or old, male or female and you can always find a specific type of yoga to suit your abilities and requirements.
However, in our Western culture yoga has usually been associated with young, limber women much more than men, but that all seems to be changing.
Yoga somehow got labeled with being “easy” or “feminine” perhaps because of its generally slower, spiritual nature, but studies show that more and more guys are rolling out their mats and joining their female yogi friends in downward dog. And why not?
After all men can reap the many benefits of adding yoga to their exercise regime. Traditional skeptical male attitudes see heavy weight lifting or intense training as the only way to go, but combining these workouts with the muscle toning, strengthening, joint protection, flexibility and improved mental focus offered by yoga can greatly enhance athletic performance.
Not only that, yoga increases mindfulness and a connection to your body as guidance. It can be used to aid with visualization and improving performance or aiding muscle recovery and preventing injury. Certain professional male athletes are also doing wonders for yoga’s reputation as they publicly swear by the benefits, Lebron James, the Seattle Seahawks and the Philadelphia Eagles to name a few.
Undoubtedly one of the best things about yoga is how little you really need in the way of equipment or special props. It’s the kind of practice you can take anywhere with you, adapting to small hotel rooms, parks or beaches, yoga is as flexible as you want it to be. HOWEVER, investing in a good yoga mat will certainly enhance your practice. Yoga mats are to yoga what a good pair of shoes are to a long-distance runner. You can get a lot more out of your practice with a mat that works to support your movements, height and personal needs. A great yoga mat can be your best friend when you’re first starting out and if you’re a dude you come with your own unique set of requirements and challenges for what kind of mat works best for you.
In an industry that is overflowing with choice (there are non-stick mats, thick mats, small mats, travel mats, mats that are eco-friendly, mats for meditation, mats with unique designs etc) you might want to consider our top characteristics to bear in mind before making a purchase.
Thickness is an important consideration.
Yoga mats can vary from 2mm – 7mm in thickness, providing less or more cushiony support for you. This is a personal choice and you should consider whether or not you would need more support for kneeling poses to protect your joints or if you’d prefer a thinner mat to better connect with the ground in a standing, balancing pose. Basically the more cushiony the mat the less stability, but the thinner the mat the more you might get a sore knee in a crescent lunge. Thinner mats will also be smaller and easier to transport. The average mat is between 2-5 mm and luckily there are plenty of options and you can find a middle ground that suits your physique and comfort.
Yoga mats are generally measured 68 inches long and 24 inches across. If you’re a guy and you’re taller you might want to consider a mat that’s extra long. A good pointer is to use a mat that’s around 6 inches taller than you are. Imagine that you want to be able to lie down on your mat during savasana without spilling over the sides too much. You can even find wider mats if you’re broader or just prefer the extra space to stretch out.
Most yoga mats are made from PVC or vinyl, which lasts for a long time but in an environmentally conscious world doesn’t really meet the requirements for being earth-friendly. PVC is toxic for the planet and for humans but still makes up the majority of mats out on the market, mainly because it’s budget-friendly and offers a good grip.
You can also find mats made from recycled rubber, a good option if you’re looking for a thicker, non-stick mat that’s a little kinder to the environment. These mats are durable, lightweight, cushiony and usually of high quality.
For the eco-warriors among you, look for mats made from cork, cotton or jute. Cork provides a durable, non-stick mat made from the sustainable process of stripped bark from cork oak trees (no trees are usually cut down and the trees naturally regenerate more cork bark themselves)
Cotton mats (or yoga rugs) are made from natural cotton, provide excellent grip and are often wider than usual mats. The downside is that they are more suited to a restorative, yin yoga practice or meditation and are similar to a thick blanket. They might not offer the stability you need for asanas and other balancing poses unless you place it on top of a regular yoga mat.
Jute is a natural material made from decomposable vegetable fiber. Jute mats have cushioning and grip and are elastic and comfortable.
Are you planning to travel with your mat a lot? Whether it’s just a short cycle to your local studio or you want to slip into your suitcase frequently, traveling with your mat means you’ll want it roll or fold easily and not weigh too much, something to consider when reviewing your choices.
Cleaning your mat is super important regardless of what it’s made of to ensure good hygiene and a long life span. Dirt, sweat, skin products and general bacteria can make your mat less than attractive over time as well as shorten its durability.
Wipe down your mat after each use and every month or so give it a deep clean (if you are a regular user). The best way is to soak the mat in warm water with mild soap, wash it with a soft cloth to remove any stubborn dirt and then rinse it with clean water. You can dry it with a towel and let it air dry, don’t squeeze or twist it up. For added benefits use a lavender soap or spray made from essential oils to leave your mat smelling great for practice.
We’ve selected the top seven yoga mats out there suitable for male yogis of all shapes and sizes at whatever stage of their yoga journey. Take some time to figure out what will work best for you!
Men’s Yoga Mat Reviews
The Kind Mat
Living up to its name, the Kind Mat is all about extra cushioning and comfort. Designed specifically to offer sensitive joints a wonderful layer of memory foam cushioning, this mat is perfect for anyone seeking pain-free yoga support. The mat comes in two sizes, Medium (24” x 68” for $110), or Large (28” x 76” for $125) and is half an inch thick. It offers a great combination of stability, support, and comfort. The middle layer is high-density memory foam topped by water-resistant neoprene perfect for good grip. The bottom layer is made from non-skid EVA material so you don’t have to worry about slipping. All in all a good choice for anyone wanting an extra supportive mat without compromising on stability. It may be a little thick for rolling up and traveling.
B MAT Everyday
This is a stylish looking mat with superior grip, good cushioning (4mm) and comes in a variety of colors. You can also get the B Mat Strong which is perfect for guys needing extra length as it comes in at 71 inches long and 6 mm thick. It’s got great grip and cushioning for high impact poses and vinyasas. The B Mat Strong Long has even more length (85 inches) and the same 6mm cushioning making this make a great choice for male yogis craving extra space to stretch out and good support and grip.
The Reversible (Big) Mat Lululemon
This affordable ($78-$88) mat from high-quality brand Lululemon boasts an antimicrobial, slip-resistant surface apt for hot yoga (and just regular yoga). Made from moisture absorbing natural rubber, the mat provides textured grip, comfy cushioning and it’s been designed extra long and wide for taller yogis or those who just like more room. Great for practicing those vinyasas, balancing poses or just lying out in relaxation pose to meditate.
Jade Fusion Yoga Mat
This mat is made from open-cell natural tree rubber (sustainably harvested) which gives it an excellent grip although does it make it heavier. The mat has excellent 8mm thick cushioning support. The material makes this durable, dense and firm. It provides great support for men with joint tenderness, sensitive knees, or anyone prone to injury or recovering from injury. Note, the rubber does have a natural smell that diminishes over time. It’s available in two lengths and they plant a tree for every mat they sell! So this is a very eco-conscious choice.
YOGO Ultralight Travel Yoga Mat
A top choice for yogis with wanderlust, whether you’re a hiker, cycler, frequent flyer or simply love the ultra-light weight and micro folding design of this mat. It folds up into a tiny rectangle weighing only 2 lbs and can be fitted into a bag or purse. It’s very thin at only 1.5 mm but that tends to be the trade off for a mat you can transport anywhere with zero hassle.
The mat is eco-friendly, made from sustainably harvested rubber with a cotton mesh on top great for textured grip plus one side is sticky and provides great non-slip traction. It also has integrated buckles and straps into the design, which mean you can hang dry it and also strap it onto your backpack. It’s very earth-friendly and they plant a tree for each mat sold! The downside is really the thinness of the material, making it great for use anywhere but not so good for anyone with joint issues.
Yoloha Aura Cork Yoga Mat
Made entirely from cork, this mat wins points for being environmentally friendly. It’s durable, non-slip, weighs very little and you can get in a variety of sizes including 26” or 30” widths and lengths ranging from 72” x 24” all the way up to 84” x 30”. This mat is also naturally antimicrobial, offers great grip and traction which helps for sweating during hot yoga sessions. This brand is really making waves in the yoga-product industry and is known for its high quality and eco-friendly characteristics.
Manduka PRO Yoga Mat
This mat comes in a variety of sizes including extra long and wide (great for larger men). It measures at 6mm thick and is made from PVC making it dense, durable and with optimum grip. Choose this mat if you want something that lasts and gives you the option for a wider mat (it’s 26 inches wide, generally 2 inches more than a standard yoga mat). It’s tough and reliable and a good investment for anyone doing regular yoga in need of cushiony support for all surfaces. It’s also 100% latex free and the closed-cell technology keeps bacteria at bay.