Yoga mat material is a matter of personal preference, beliefs, and how it reacts to your body.
Polyvinyl chloride (PVC): This is the stuff that keeps slippage to a minimum, is durable, provides the most “give”, and tends to be the cheapest material. A concern with PVC, without going into too much detail, is that it contains phthalates — substances that have been linked to health issues and negative impacts on the environment.
Cotton: A cotton mat helps to absorb sweat and can increase grip when wet, but doesn’t provide a lot of give.
Recycled, natural rubber: It may not be as sticky as a PVC mat, but will still provide great grip. People with latex allergies, however, should avoid it.
Cork: A natural (though expensive) material that becomes grippier with moisture, but tends to absorb sweat and be difficult to clean.
Jute: Made from the fiber of a jute plant, this stuff keeps you in place due to Polymer Environmental Resin (PER), a nontoxic material. Jute has the added bonus of having antimicrobial properties for those extra-sweaty practices.