There are also backpack style bags. They can either fully enclose the mat or allow it to be seen from the outside. You roll the mat as tightly as possible and then use the straps to attach it to the backpack. Again, this can be wonderful because you can carry more than just your mat. You can stow shoes, other clothes, or even a water bottle which is perfect for re-hydrating after a very strenuous class.
When selecting a bag, no matter the style, you need to look at the materials it is made of and think about how much use you will get out of the bag. Are you looking for something a bit more decorative that you can use as an accessory? You can select from some of the lighter weight fabrics that are available in a range of colors. There are some beautiful choices available using materials such as embroidered silk or batik fabric.
If you need a serious bag that will last for some time, you should look for materials such as heavy-duty nylon or canvas. This can make the bag heavier but it will take longer for your bag to wear out. Look for reinforced corners and heavier stitching on handles and zippers. You should also make sure that your bag will allow air to move around your mat or you may find that it can take on a musty smell. Many yoga classes will leave you sweaty and that moisture can get on your mat. Letting the air get to your mat can help keep it mat from rotting or breaking down.
Your yoga bag can be more than a way to transport your mat. It can hold so much more and become much more than a simple accessory. When you find your perfect bag it will make it much easier to transport your mat to and from class.