The life expectancy of a yoga mat varies depending on how much you use it and its quality.
When your mat does start to reach its end of life, however, there are some clear signs that it’s time to replace it. This will help prevent injury and increase comfort when practicing yoga!
So, let’s learn how long a yoga mat typically lasts and identify the seven signs it might be time to replace it.
How Long Does a Yoga Mat Last?
A yoga mat will typically last between one and two years before it needs to be replaced. The lifespan of a yoga mat is largely determined by its quality, how often you use it, and how well you care for it.
Of course, one to two years is simply an average. And it’s important to note that number is skewed pretty low due to all of the cheap yoga mats sold at big box stores.
A higher-quality mat like the Lululemon 5mm Reversible Yoga Mat (made of mostly rubber and polyurethane) can easily be used for 5+ years. Lululemon yoga mats are a bit pricier than your average mat, but it’s well worth it in the long run.
Jade yoga mats, which can run as high as $199, offer even better quality, in my opinion, using no cheap synthetic materials, and instead opting for natural rubber from rubber trees. I know yogi’s who have used Jade mats for ten years and running.
The popular Manduka yoga mats, made from PVC, range from $50 up to $299 per mat. According to Manduka, their mats last up to 10 years with proper care and use. And they even back that up with a lifetime guarantee (with lots of fine print, so read up before purchasing).
Slightly less durable, in my opinion, but still a great eco-friendly option is cork yoga mats. The Gaiam Performance Mandal Cork Yoga Mat is a great quality mat that runs less than $50. I don’t have any long-term experience with them, but they do back their work with a lifetime guarantee (again, read the fine print).
So, do your research before buying just any ol’ yoga mat from your neighborhood retail store. And check out our guide titled Why Do I Need a Yoga Mat? for tips on choosing the best yoga mat for your needs.
7 Signs You Need to Replace Your Yoga Mat
Yoga performed on a worn mat might harm your body and result in serious injuries. But, how do you know when your yoga mat has gone bad?
Your mat will tell you!
Here are seven different signs that your yoga mat is worn out and should be replaced for not only your comfort but safety, as well.
1) The Mat Is Falling Apart
Let’s start with the most obvious. If your mat is visibly falling apart or you find tiny pieces of your mat on the floor after rolling it up, it’s time to buy a new one.
Visible wear and damage is the most telltale sign of needing a new mat. So, if your mat is shedding, cracking, starting to tear, or developing holes, it’s time to part with your beloved mat once and for all.
2) The Mat Is Lumpy
Another, sometimes not so obvious visible sign, is a lumpy mat.
To check for this is, lay the mat flat out, and lay on the floor next to it, looking for any unevenness in the surface. The best way to describe this is to think of how a golfer kneels or gets on all fours to gauge the pitch of a putting green.
If certain areas of your mat appear squished down or the cushioning is uneven, especially where your hands and feet are typically placed, it’s a good indication that the padding is starting to break down.
3) You’re Starting to Experience Joint Pain
Certain poses put extra strain on the joints like your wrists and knees, and a worn-out yoga mat won’t offer much in terms of comfort or protection.
If you’re having trouble performing poses during your yoga session because your mat doesn’t properly cushion certain areas of your body, resulting in joint discomfort, it’s might be time to upgrade.
4) The Grip Is Fading
If your feet and hands continuously slip in poses like the Dolphin pose and Downward Facing Dog, it’s a sign that your mat is worn out.
When you’re sweaty during yoga practice, traction is especially crucial in nailing those difficult poses.
Typically, your mat will start to form bald spots as it becomes less sticky. This brings us to…
5) The Mat Is Forming Bald Spots
Another visual cue that you need a new mat is when you notice bald spots forming on it. You’ll typically notice this in heavily used spots, like where your hands and feet often go.
These bald spots will eventually become slip hazards that can lead to injury. So, as soon as you notice these spots start to form, it’s time to consider a new yoga mat.
6) The Mat Is Smelly
If the yoga mat is emitting any odors that cleaning doesn’t seem to remove, it’s time to consider purchasing a new one. For the sake of yourself, and those around you!
Choosing a high-quality antimicrobial and antibacterial mat, along with proper cleaning, will help prevent this from happening in the future.
7) It’s Increasingly Difficult to Hold Balancing Yoga Poses
If all the above seem to check out, yet you’re starting to experience issues with balance poses, then it may be a less recognizable problem with your mat.
Many of the above issues, like lumpiness in your mat and fading grip, for example, are subtle at first. So subtle you might not even notice them right away.
So, if you’re experiencing difficulty holding poses, especially ones that require a certain level of balance, it’s time to really inspect your exercise mat for any of the above issues before they lead to discomfort or injury.