I've Been Using This $18 Yoga Mat for a Year, and It Prevents Slippage Better Than Any Luxury Mat I've Tried

The grippy surface keeps my feet in place, even through tricky poses.

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I still remember how psyched I was to score my first Lululemon yoga mat. It was thick, squishy, and smooth — however, every time I practiced on it, I slipped. It got so bad that I spent many yoga classes dreading the moment I'd eventually thud to the floor. Public humiliation aside, it bothered me how my sleek new gear was interfering with my workout, so I decided to browse Amazon for a new mat. After scrolling through hundreds of customer reviews, I landed on a Gaiam yoga mat (Buy It, from $18, amazon.com), which users claimed to experience "absolutely no slipping" with. Plus, it was almost $50 less than my Lulu splurge, and if it also proved to be a slip 'n slide, at least it would only cost me the price of an indulgent NYC lunch.

After receiving my new mat, I pulled on my favorite leggings, opened up an Alo Moves vinyasa class, and hoped for the best. Although slightly thinner and less padded than my Lululemon mat, the Gaiam model still provided support for my hands in downward dog and my knees in postures that required kneeling. Standing in warrior two, my feet stayed firmly in place thanks to the grippy traction of the mat, and for the first time in months, I felt certain I wouldn't slip or have some dramatic, embarrassing fall during class. I even felt comfortable enough to do handstand hops on the Gaiam mat, confident that my heels wouldn't slide backward upon landing. (Check out even more fitness apps for exercising at home or for on-the-go workouts.)

So, what exactly gives this mat an edge over its pricier counterparts? The Gaiam Classic Solid Color Yoga Mat has 5 millimeters of soft, joint-friendly cushioning that's both lightweight and durable. In addition to 15 colorways, it also comes in two lengths and two widths to accommodate a range of body types and needs. But, the feature that really caught my attention was the "sticky," slip-proof texture that allowed me to transition to different poses during my flow, such as from upward to downward dog, without falling on my face and causing a scene in class. (BTW, if you love especially cushy yoga mats, this one might just become your new fave.)

Gaiam Solid Color Yoga Mat

Buy It: Gaiam Solid Color Non-Slip Yoga Mat, from $18, amazon.com

Between at-home yoga, cardio, and weight training, I've used this mat at least once a day for more than a year and can say that it's improved my practice and supports my workouts. I don't know what I'd do without it, and I'm not the only fan — Gaiam is constantly name-dropped in shopping guides of mats loved by yoga instructors, and even Jessica Biel has collaborated with the wellness brand on an athleisure line. Plus, more than 1,200 Amazon shoppers have given this mat a perfect rating.

One five-star reviewer wrote: "I got this mat for at-home fitness and yoga. I have a fancy mat for hot yoga classes but wanted something more low-key for other days of the week. This mat provides great cushion and is not slippery! I was surprised that it felt just as great as some of my more expensive mats. I would totally recommend it!"

"This mat has been downright perfect," raved another. "My hands don't slip, my toes don't slip, it's just the right thickness. I love it! My old mat finally went in the trash yesterday. No regrets!"

"Now doing virtual yoga classes from home, I needed a thicker, better mat to use on my hardwood floors. I have an old Gaiam mat that is almost 20 years old, and [I] knew they are high-quality, so I wanted to stick with the brand. I also needed a longer mat, wider mat. This mat is perfect. I used it in my class today. Didn't realize how much better a new mat would be. Much better grip, the thickness helps a lot with my knees, and the wider, longer size is just what I needed. Completely satisfied!" added yet another happy customer.

One thing I noticed is that after unwrapping this mat for the first time, it smells a bit odd — some shoppers describe it as a chemical smell — which is normal for any new mat. But, after letting mine air out, the scent completely disappeared. And if the mat starts to lose its grip, simply wash it with soap and water and it'll become sticky again.

To flow like a pro without letting gravity get the best of you, shop this non-slip mat on Amazon starting at $18.

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