People swear by hot yoga. It has detoxifying benefits, and it’s one intense workout. If you prefer to leave your workouts completely spent, Hot Yoga might be for you.
The best yoga mats for hot yoga are ones that grip the hands and don’t slip because you’ll be sweaty. We’ve compiled a list of our favorite Hot Yoga mats, plus answered a few questions you might have. Let’s take a look.
Our Top Hot Yoga Mats
What is Hot Yoga?
Hot Yoga uses heat and humidity to intensify a yoga workout by increasing flexibility and encouraging the shedding of toxins.
Studies (1, 2) have shown that increasing the temperature during a workout increases the body’s fat-burning potential. It can be a cathartic experience for many people, and for others, a reliable way to maintain weight and physical health.
The heat often helps those with sensitive joints as well. Be sure to hydrate before, during, and after a session, so the workout doesn’t dehydrate you. It’s advised to refrain from eating at least two hours before a session.
The original style Hot Yoga, Bikram, turned the heat up to 95–108 degrees with 40% humidity, traditionally. While some people use Bikram and Hot Yoga interchangeably, the truth is that Hot Yoga has a lot of variations.
Generally, Hot Yoga refers to a Vinyasa or flow style of yoga practiced in a heated humid room. The poses are not necessarily done in the same sequence each time, so if you like the idea of flow, Hot Yoga might be your better option.
In Bikram, on the other hand, the poses are done in a sequence that remains the same each time. Usually, during a 90-minute session, you go through the core sequence twice (26 postures, including two breathing exercises).
If you’ve never tried Hot Yoga, you might start with a studio that heats the room significantly less than the traditional 100+ degrees to see how your body reacts to the environment and gradually work your way up.
Here's a cool video showing Bikram yoga class at a glance
How Is a Hot Yoga Mat Different?
Maybe you had a cheap yoga mat when you first started yoga. If you take that generic mat into a Hot Yoga class, it’s likely to end a gross (and dangerous) puddle.
If you have a mat you’re already dedicated to, and Hot Yoga won’t be your exclusive practice, you can always get a yoga towel to handle any puddles.
When purchasing a Hot Yoga mat, you’ll probably want to look into a few key aspects:
You’ll work up a serious sweat. You’re going to need the best yoga mat for sweaty hands.
Open-cell mats are moisture-permeable and absorb perspiration, so you’re likely to benefit from steadier postures in hot conditions.
Closed-cell mats prevent any moisture from seeping deep into the mat itself, so you’ll probably need to factor in a yoga towel for better resistance.
Keeping your mat clean when used in these extreme conditions is undoubtedly something you’d want to consider.
Open-cell mats downside is that their moisture absorbing quality makes them harder to thoroughly clean and might allow in bacteria and fungi over time. You can try and minimize it by having a tighter cleaning regime.
The mats can be regularly cleaned with sprays and a quick wipe down. Deep cleaning should happen every so often, too. Some can be laundered on gentle with front loading machines. With others, you can soak them in the bathtub with mild detergent and rinse clean. Remember to follow the owner’s manual and don’t throw your mat in the dryer unless specifically instructed.
Many Hot Yoga mats are thicker than average. Hot Yoga is pretty active, and you’ll be up and down throughout the workout. A thicker mat can cushion the impact and protect your joints if you suffer from pain or stiffness.
Consider a rather dense material that isn’t too spongy. Your hands are already wet so a spongy mat might interfere with your body’s perception of the floor. It can throw off your balance and cause injury.
Grip and Traction
You’d expect the best yoga mats for hot yoga to get stickier the more you sweat. If they don’t, you’ll be adjusting both the mat and your grip throughout the workout. It prevents you from getting into the flow, and in some cases, can cause injury from overextension.
Usually, you’ll achieve better traction when using absorbent mats such as open-cell mats or natural fabric mats while closed-cell mats that wick away moisture might need the added support of a yoga towel, to help you keep an excellent grip.
A non-smooth texture that has some raised tactile pattern can also boost traction when less sticky. It can be sometimes rough though, and you’d probably want to try it first to make sure it’s easy on your hands.
The best grip yoga mat will give you a firm resistance and prevent you from overextending.
Material and Durability
A variety of materials are used for producing yoga mats. It goes from fully-synthetic PVC that is considered very durable and grippy but not eco-friendly, to all-natural options such as natural rubber, jute, cork, and others that you may factor in if echo-friendliness is on your focus.
Mat durability becomes more significant when you practice an intense workout such as Hot Yoga so you’ll need a mat that can last in these extreme conditions over time.
Typically closed-cell mats are considered more dense and durable while the porous nature of the open-cell mats makes them more exposed to wearing out when you use them extensively.
Many yoga mats are engineered now to provide a long life if you properly care for them and often offer a lifetime guarantee.
Our Recommended Hot Yoga Mats
Our first yoga mat is the Sol Dry-Grip by Gaiam. It maintains excellent grip and the stay dry top wicks away moisture to reduce slipping. It resists bacterial growth on the surface of the mat. The hotter you get, the better it grips so it can be a good choice for your Hot Yoga practice. It comes in two different lengths, 68 inches or 78 inches.
The Liforme mat uses something called GripForMe material, a proprietary blend of materials that provide better overall grip and stickiness. It has an alignment system that makes it easier to get your postures right, something vital in a Hot Yoga studio where you’re likely to overextend. It’s also bigger and wider than most yoga mats.
The Combo mat is the best of both worlds - a yoga mat and towel combination that keeps things dry and well-gripped. It has a natural rubber base with a microfiber top made from recycled water bottles. It stands out with its variety of beautiful colorful water-based prints.
Youphoria’s mat is manufactured to be extra absorbent. It eliminates the need for a yoga towel and is antimicrobial. It weighs just two pounds, and although it’s an open cell design, it resists odors. It’s very plush, and you can wipe it down to clean it
Manduka’s eKO is a sustainably sourced yoga mat with excellent grip and excellent cushioning. It’s made from rubber and contains no toxic foaming agents or dyes. All scraps are harvested, so the mat produces zero waste. The rubber is non-Amazon sourced. It’s longer than some mats at 71 inches and 26 inches wide.
We like the Liforme mat for a few reasons. First, it’s a good and reliable, all-purpose mat made from sustainably sourced materials. It’s highly absorbent and resistant to odor. It's our choice as the best yoga mat for sweaty hands.
What sells us is the positioning guides on the mat. In Hot Yoga, it’s so easy to overextend yourself because the heat relaxes your muscles. The guides give you a quick reference for your limits and help you get the right position the first time.
It’s such an innovative thing to do with a mat so that we can practice our Hot Yoga a little more safely. As you begin to push your limits, it’s wider and longer than many mats, so you have the space to do so. We think your yoga neighbors will be all over you to find out where you got the mat and it will give you a lot of use.