Although most people in the Western world begin their yoga practice these days by investing in a yoga mat, a traditional yoga rug can be a beatific, sustainable alternative to a regular yoga mat.
Most yoga rugs are approximately the same size as a standard yoga mat and can be used as the interface between your body and the ground or floor just like a yoga mat.
However, yoga rugs and yoga mats are made from different materials.
Most yoga rugs are woven from 100% cotton, wild yoga mats are often made from synthetic plastics like PVC or TPE, synthetic or natural rubbers, or potentially cork or jute. Although natural rubber, cork, or jute yoga mats can be eco-friendly, yoga rugs are usually a more sustainable option.
Yoga rugs also look, feel, and grip differently than yoga mats. They are softer, absorb sweat, and are less sticky or grippy than yoga mats, which can make most poses more challenging because you really need to engage your muscles and ground your body to stay in place.
However, this reduction in friction can also make moving into certain poses like Upward-Facing Dog more fluid and natural.
Yoga rugs are also typically machine washable, longer lasting, and honor the traditional roots of yoga in India.
Although yoga rugs are most common in Ashtanga yoga, yoga rugs can be a spectacular adjunct to your yoga practice no matter what style of yoga you do or whether you’re a beginner or advanced yogi.
To help you choose the perfect yoga rug for your yoga practice, we have reviewed and tested the top yoga rugs and shared our picks for the best yoga rugs below.
Most Versatile Yoga Rug: Hugger Mugger Cotton Yoga Rug
Hugger Mugger makes some beautiful, affordable yoga products, from yoga blocks to yoga mats and yoga rugs. We love the Hugger Mugger Cotton Yoga Rug.
This woven cotton yoga rug is designed to absorb your sweat and support your body in place without slipping as you hold poses.
It can be used outside on grass or sand, on bare floor, or on top of a yoga mat.
However, when using this yoga rug on a bare floor, it is recommended that you use a yoga mat underneath the yoga rug to enhance traction and prevent the yoga rug from sliding around.
The Hugger Mugger Cotton Yoga Rug measures 74 inches long by 28 inches wide, so it’s slightly larger than standard yoga rugs, and can fit yogis up to 6 feet 2 inches tall.
It’s relatively lightweight, at 2.8 pounds and fairly thin, at about 1/8-inch thick.
Due to the thin and flexible texture, you can also treat this yoga rug somewhat like a yoga towel or blanket, and fold it up to use as a cushion or bolster under your limbs, hands, feet, or pelvis to alleviate strain or pressure during poses.
For example, we like folding it up several times so that it’s a few layers thick and then placing it under the knees to modify Camel Pose if the direct pressure of the hard floor on your knees elicits pain.
Made from 100% cotton, this yoga rug is fully machine washable and durable.
Best Extra-Long Yoga Rug for Tall Yogis: Live Well 360 Handmade Organic Cotton Yoga Rug
The Live Well 360 Handmade Organic Cotton Yoga Rug is made from 100% cotton.
It’s one of the best extra-long yoga rugs for taller people because it measures 78 inches long by 27 inches wide.
Because most standard yoga mats are only 68-70 inches or so in length, using an extra-long yoga rug can be a great alternative for taller yogis.
With a length of 78 inches, this yoga rug can substitute for a yoga mat for anyone up to about 6 feet 6 inches tall. The extra width is also nice.
The Live Well 360 Handmade Organic Cotton Yoga Rug is machine washable and highly effective at absorbing your sweat. It will prevent your hands or feet from slipping as you press up into Downward-Facing Dog, even if you’re working up a sweat in a challenging Ashtanga yoga class.
This yoga rug is made from soft, 100% cotton.
It feels gentle on the skin and unlike most common yoga mats, it’s free from any synthetic rubbers or plastics. It’s lightweight yet sturdy and should hold up to years of yoga practice.
There are zero chemicals used in the production of these yoga rugs, a demonstration of Live Well 360’s commitment to carry for Mother Earth.
Each yoga rug is handwoven by artisans in India, creating jobs in rural areas and abiding by fair trade practices. It’s a purchase you can feel good about.
Most Durable Yoga Rug: Yogasana Yoga Mat Rug
Have you ever tried to stay steady in Triangle Pose, but find your feet sliding around on your mat from the sweaty moisture that’s not being absorbed into the mat?
No matter how much the manufacturers of a yoga mat tout its anti-slip features, the truth is that for nearly any PVC plastic or rubber yoga mat, the more you sweat, the more you slip around on your yoga mat. The closed-cell technology causes moisture to build up on the yoga mat, and moisture reduces friction.
Slipping during yoga can not only be frustrating but also dangerous, increasing the risk of injuries.
The Yogasana Yoga Mat Rug is made from 100% cotton.
It completely absorbs your perspiration and any moisture while you work out, safeguarding your body from any accidental slips. You’ll get a superior grip.
This yoga rug is built to last. We found that it had a rugged, sturdy feel, and is woven well to withstand years of use.
It does soften over time as you use and wash it, and the initial stiffness fades to a luxuriously soft and flexible yoga rug.
With a 15-year warranty and the durability of this yoga rug, the initial higher upfront cost is easily defrayed over time by the longevity of the product.
Best Budget Yoga Rug: Bliss Peak Cotton Yoga Rug
When you’re working with a tighter budget, you can still find a couple of options for good inexpensive yoga rugs, though you should be mindful of the materials and craftsmanship of cheap yoga rugs.
Our pick for the budget yoga rug is the Bliss Peak Cotton Yoga Rug.
For less than $40, or about the price of many cheap yoga mats, this yoga rug can be a versatile option for your yoga practice.
You can use it instead of a yoga mat, on top of a yoga mat, as a meditation mat, or folded up as a bolster.
The Bliss Peak Cotton Yoga Rug is lightweight, weighing just 2.8 pounds, making it a portable yoga rug for travel, whether to a yoga class or to practice outside in the morning sunshine.
Because it’s machine washable, you can easily keep it clean no matter where your yoga takes you.
Each yoga rug is handmade in India on a traditional handloom from 100% cotton.
It measures 75 inches long by 27.5 inches wide, making it slightly larger than most yoga mats.
Best Eco-Friendly Yoga Rug: WMX KD Handwoven Cotton Yoga Rug
Our pick for the best eco-friendly yoga rug is the WMX KD Handwoven Cotton Yoga Rug.
This sustainable yoga rug is woven from 100% organic cotton that is sourced from the Better Cotton Initiative to ensure sustainability and environmental safety.
The result is a supremely comfortable, highly absorbing, and completely non-toxic cotton yoga rug.
These fully organic yoga rugs are free from harmful dyes and toxins and are recyclable.
We also love the look of the KD Cotton Handwoven Yoga Mat Rugs.
They come with six color options: Air (natural), Water (blue), Fire (red), Spring (green), Saffron (yellow), and Earth (brown). All colors are from naturally-sourced dyes and have an earthen, traditional look.
These yoga rugs are reversible and measure 72 inches wide, 24 inches long, and 4 mm thick.
You get a free yoga rug mat strap for easy transport, and you can launder the yoga rug in your washing machine.
Best Yoga Rug for Beginners: Kakaos Cotton Yoga Rug
The beautiful Kakaos Cotton Yoga Rug is colorful and comfortable.
Between the reasonable price point, yoga mat size, ease of use, versatility, and quality of construction, it’s our pick for the best yoga rug for beginners.
We love the sustainability of this yoga rug. Each yoga rug is handmade by local artisans in India, who use only 100% cotton and 100% natural plant and vegetable dyes.
The Kakaos Cotton Yoga Rug has a nice thickness and measures 74 inches long by 24 inches wide.
It’s a good yoga rug mat since it’s nearly the same size as a standard yoga mat but does a superior job absorbing sweat and preventing slipping.
You can wash this yoga rug in the washing machine, but it should be hung dry.
JadeYoga Organic Cotton Mysore Yoga Rug
We love the traditional look and craftsmanship of the JadeYoga Organic Cotton Mysore Yoga Rug.
These machine-washable yoga rugs are made from 100% organic cotton. They are 72 inches long, 27 inches wide, and weigh 2.5 pounds.
You’ll appreciate the sweat absorbency of the rug, and it’s easy to fold it up to tote it along with you to yoga class or for use as a yoga prop to cushion or bolster your body.
Like most of our other picks for the best yoga rugs, these organic cotton yoga rugs are handwoven by artisans in rural India, helping preserve the tradition and art form and providing a livelihood for weavers.
JadeYoga also donates one week of nutritious, hot lunches to a child in India for the purchase of each yoga rug.
The beautiful colors of these rugs are made from all-natural vegetable dyes made from herbs such as indigo, cumin, and turmeric.
Interested in more of our recommendations to support your yoga and mindfulness journey? Check out our mindfulness podcast recommendations here.