he ancient art of yoga has endured since its origins in India approximately 5,000 years ago, becoming a widely taught and practised activity in contemporary society and wellness-orientated groups to this day.
With its three main tenets focusing on breathing, flexibility and strength, the movement elicited by yogic practices simultaneously allows us to pause and reflect, while flowing through core-engaging movements assisted by the power of our own breath. In teaching us to harness the power of our body’s natural movements and the basic functions which help us to survive, students of yoga learn to be at one with the natural world.
Yoga provides a firm, solid foothold to help boost us into a wellness-focused life, which prioritises mental health and positive movement above all else – it just takes a little bit of practice. Yet despite yoga’s unwavering popularity over the centuries, many beginners find that the activity is often at odds with their modern, fast-paced life.
Rather than waking up extra early to get a sun salutation in, it suits the vast majority of 9-to-5ers far more to run to the office instead. Similarly, many office-dwellers would prefer to take a speedy 20-minute gym break during lunch, during which they’ll likely burn far more calories than they would in a 90-minute yoga class.
However, attempting to turn yoga into a means to lose weight or putting your physical endurance to the test is missing the point entirely. Yoga is all about intuitive movement, so much so that flows and salutations can be learned and rehearsed like dance routines, so they’ll come as naturally as breathing.
As such, you don’t need a studio or instructor to flow while you’re away from home. After a few classes and a little bit of practice, you’ll feel mightily confident on your own – and if you’re still not quite there, you can of course pop on a gentle guiding YouTube video from one of your favourite online instructors (ours is Adrienne, of course).
Whether you’re camping, hiking, travelling or enjoying a relaxing beach holiday, you’ll be surprised by how incomplete your day starts to feel without even a few minutes of stretching, breathing and movement. When you’re on the move, it’s therefore always a brilliant idea to take a portable, travel yoga mat with you.
We’ve rounded up a selection of the best travel yoga mats to help elevate your practice even when you’re not on home soil.
Mikkoa Travel Yoga Mat – Finding Nirvana
Foldable, compact and lightweight, Mikkoa’s travel yoga mat is one of the best on the market for a myriad of reasons. Not only will you gain access to free online yoga classes once you make your purchase, but you’ll also be able to use this durable yoga mat on the go for years to come without the need for a replacement.
When unfolded, the sweat-absorbent and supportive microfibre mat measures 183 x 66cm and folds neatly into a 24 x 14cm rectangle – thereby taking up approximately one-third of the space of a regular yoga mat. The best part? This yoga mat is entirely machine washable. That’s right, no more wiping down with cloths and disinfectant after every single use.
Sustainable Non-Slip Jute Travel Yoga Mat
Another brilliantly compact option, this jute travel yoga mat from Complete Unity Yoga is just 2mm thick. Despite its incredibly grippy surface, yogis will be pleased to discover that the mat itself has been crafted solely from durable, non-toxic and eco-friendly materials.
The manufacturing process itself is also proudly zero-waste, and your mat will be delivered in zero-plastic FSC-certified packaging. Suitable for whatever type of yoga you go for – even in the hottest environments – Complete Yoga Unity stands by its grip guarantee, making this portable mat perfect for yoga retreats abroad.
Viavito Travel Yoga Mat
Designed to fit in even the smallest of tote bags, this grippy non-stick yoga mat has been fabricated from a durable and waterproof PVC which is nevertheless free from phthalates and horrible chemical odours. Thanks to the handy slightly perforated design, this yoga mat folds easily from a 61 x 173cm mat into a 31 x 25cm rectangle for the utmost portability.
Liforme Cosmic Moon Travel Yoga Mat
Though on the more expensive side, this luxurious and beautifully designed yoga mat from Liforme is not likely to leave your side any time soon. While lightweight and wonderfully portable thanks to the inclusion of a bag strap with your order, this yoga mat also functions as a top-of-the-range piece of kit to use during practices and classes at home as well as abroad. Made from PVC-free and biodegradable materials, you can be sure you’re protecting the planet as well as your mind by purchasing a mat from this B-Corp-certified yoga brand.
Manduka eKO SuperLite Travel Yoga Mat
Available in a plethora of calming gradients and solid hues, Manduka’s SuperLite travel yoga mat is a no-nonsense piece of apparatus to add to your yoga arsenal, especially if you travel a lot. With two options for size – standard and large – you’ll find that both are able to fold neatly into a tote, travel bag or suitcase. Plus, you can use it on top of your regular mat during normal practices for extra support and grip, whether you tend to move on hardwood floors or ultra-plush carpets.
Foldable Cork Non-Slip Yoga Mat
Eco-friendly and entirely slip-proof thanks to its cork surface, this yoga mat by Eke features a beautiful lotus design in the centre of the mat and a line down the middle to help focus your practice while improving your balance with every session. We also love the fact that this value-for-money option comes with a yoga mat for extra portability.