I started yoga way back in 1999, and since then, I have been using the exact same yoga mat: the Manduka Black Mat Pro. I think I paid $80 for it at the time, although now it costs $120. Either way, I've definitely gotten my money's worth using it for the past 20 years, and it looks as perfect as the day I got it.
I love it because it's thick, durable, and dense enough to offer cushion for my bones in any pose. I also love that it's super tacky, so when I'm in Down Dog, I don't slip. That is, until halfway through a super-sweaty hot yoga class. That's when my mat becomes dangerously slippery — I once dropped into a full split without meaning to because I had forgotten my yoga towel that day.
Manduka now makes a new mat specifically for your sweaty practice — the Manduka GRP Yoga Mat ($98). I've tried dozens of yoga mats, so I wasn't expecting this one to be that amazing, but after just one class, I was shocked at how awesome it was — I instantly became a convert!
I adore my Black Mat Pro, but having to use a yoga towel over it can be annoying because it bunches up and doesn't offer the grip I love from my mat before I get sweaty. But this GRP Yoga Mat, which is made from sustainably-harvested natural tree rubber, got even more grippy the sweatier I got. In a 98-degree room with drips coming off my nose, my palms were so sweaty and they still didn't budge. I didn't have the annoyance of having to stop my practice to lay out a towel, and it still offered the thickness and denseness I love from my Black Mat Pro.
The one tiny issue is that the surface is super smooth and slippery when your hands and feet are dry. But that was quickly remedied by dribbling a few drops from my bottle at the top and bottom of my mat to wet it a little. Boom: instant traction.
If you love hot yoga classes, or you tend to sweat and slip a lot, you must get this mat. It'll change your practice forever — I know it's changed mine. I teach hot yoga classes, and this is now the one mat I'll recommend to my students.