So, you fancy trying some hot yoga?
Maybe you already practice another yoga style like Hatha or Vinyasa or you have tried a hot yoga class and realised your mat isn’t up to scratch or isn’t suited to this new style of yoga?
You probably know that yoga has been around for thousands of years. Early Yogis would not have used a yoga mat at all.
Nowadays we use a yoga mat to give our body a degree of cushioning and to keep our exercise area clean. Let’s be honest, it’s a way of defining our space in a group class too. So we know we need a yoga mat, but what is the best cheap yoga mat for hot yoga in particular?
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What is hot yoga?
Hot yoga is a type of yoga that is done in a hot and humid environment similar to that found in India. The heat combined with the vigourousness of the exercise (90 minutes) raises the heart rate and exercises the muscles.
The excessive sweating that ensues is said to (in the words of Bikram Choudhury) ‘remove impurities’, and the heat is said to make it easier to stretch the muscles.
There are several types of hot yoga, here are a few:
- ‘Bikram yoga’, devised by Bikram Choudhury first became popular in the 1970s.
- Ana T. Forrest developed a style that focuses on holding poses for a longer duration.
- CorePower Yoga is another
Whichever style of hot yoga your instructor teaches, there is one thing for certain, you are going to sweat!
Why you need a good yoga mat for hot yoga
You will need a mat that gives good cushioning, especially if you are a beginner, and something durable too because you won’t want to have to keep replacing it.
You will need a towel to mop up all that extra moisture along with a good non-slip mat so that you don’t lose stability mid pose.
Due to more sweat, your mat is going to have extra germs to deal with. You will need a yoga mat that can be easily sanitized.
Can you buy a hot yoga mat cheaply?
If you look online you will see that (as with everything), if you want to, you can spend a considerable amount of money on a yoga mat!
Today we are looking at good cheap budget-friendly hot yoga mats. It’s perfectly possible to get a good cheap mat on a budget.
What to look for in a good hot yoga mat
When practising hot yoga your mat has some unique challenges to overcome. Let’s have a look at those and pick out the best.
You will want a non-slip mat for hot yoga especially if you are a beginner. You will be sweaty, so you don’t want to risk slipping in a pool of water.
The worst feeling is having your feet or hands sliding around when you a trying to hold a pose!
This very reasonably priced yoga mat by Dralegend has a special anti-skid design on both sides of the mat, so it won’t slide on top or underneath. It is also a good thickness and easy to wipe down. It is made of non-toxic TPE (Thermoplastic Elastomer), which also makes it durable and safe.
This yoga mat by Oshca is lightweight and has a good grip for a very reasonable price. If you are going to be travelling to your class you need something lightweight, and this one fits the bill perfectly.
It also has alignment guides on it which help you to keep your body in perfect alignment when holding poses.
It doesn’t come with a carry case but should roll up easily under your arm.
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Most yoga mats are made of rubber, and of course, rubber is inherently unabsorbent.
A rubber yoga mat is fine for most styles of yoga, but for hot yoga classes, you will be sweating a lot, and that will cause you to slide around on your mat.
It will feel uncomfortable and just a bit icky too!
Don’t forget the humidity is going to prevent any evaporation. So that water is going to stick around until the end of the class unless you mop it up.
The solution is of course to put a towel over the top of your mat. The problem is that normal sports towels will slide about on your mat which is not ideal at all.
For best performance, you will want a purpose made yoga towel to pop over your yoga mat. The best yoga mat towels have a grippy underside so that they stay in place on top of the mat.
This yoga towel from Lotuscrafts has a non-slip silicone coating underneath so that it grips to your yoga mat. You could also use this yoga mat on its own as a travel yoga mat, though of course, you won’t get the same amount of cushioning.
Too much thickness can affect the stability of a mat while a thin one won’t protect your joints. The best thickness is considered to be around 6mm or 0.24 inches so that it can be safe, and durable whilst at the same time cushioning any weak areas of your body.
Often it is the knees, wrists and ankles that need the most protection. If you have issues in this area you will need a mat with a little more support.
My yoga instructor always advises us to have an extra towel on hand to place directly under the knees, or any sensitive areas. If you have injuries then it would be safest to avoid certain poses completely.
If you need extra cushioning for your yoga mat, this one by Gaiam Essentials is extra thick and comes in at a very reasonable price.
The usual length for a yoga mat is 68-72 inches and caters to people under 6 foot tall. If that is not you, then you will need a longer mat to give you extra space and comfort.
Personally, I prefer an extra-long mat. I am 5’10”, so really a normal mat would suffice, but I like to have more room.
Here another reasonably priced yoga mat, but with extra length.
If you need to use public transport to get to your class you might want to think about a travel yoga mat instead, perhaps one you can fold up. Look for a mat that comes with a carry handle or one you can fold up.
This one by Viavito folds up ready for packing.
What is the best mat for hot yoga?
To sum up, make sure your yoga mat has ->
- Good grip for better stability
- Good cushioning especially if you have injuries or weak joints
- Good absorbency (with a non-grip towel) to mop up the excess moisture
- Is the right length for your height
If you want to take your mat on your travels you need to be able to put it in your suitcase. In that case, a foldable yoga mat is a perfect choice.