I’ll admit, I’ve become a bit of a yoga gear junkie. When I discovered yoga more than a decade ago, I towed around my $10 Gaiam mat, and it served its purpose. As I grew as a student, and eventually became a teacher, my desire to expand my horizons in the yoga mat department grew exponentially. Yes, I’m a yogini, so I’m supposed to be using less, and I do. However, as anyone who practices yoga with any regularity can tell you, finding the perfect mat that can evolve with you, is like dating. And, let me tell you, I get around. So, thought I’d provide my own experiences in yoga mat courtship.
My first step up to a premium mat was the Jade Fusion Yoga Mat by Jade Yoga, a super thick open cell rubber mat with plenty of cushion for long floor holds and restorative yoga. As you begin to expand your practice, this is a great intro mat. Sticky doesn’t begin to the “non-slip” surface.If you want to feel what it’s like to sink deeply into downward facing dog without slipping, this is a great choice. Plus, it’s the perfect mat if you have knee issues thanks to the super thick cushion. Caution: because this mat is made of open cell rubber, you can’t leave it in a hot car or it will destroy the integrity of the surface.
Next up, The Mat by Lululemon. I’d seen plenty of yogis using this mat and loving it, but the surface looked super slick, so I was hesitant to try it out. I asked the sales person at Lulu about the mat, and they
said that it was the perfect combination of stability and cushion. When I asked about the surface, they said that it’s made of tennis grip material, so the more you sweat, the stickier it becomes. They agreed to let me test drive one for a week.
I can see how someone who takes hot yoga classes, or someone who sweats a lot, might like this mat. Indeed, if it’s wet, it’s grippy. However, I just don’t get super sweaty palms (pause for joke). If I didn’t keep spraying the mat with water, and my hands were dry, I kept slipping. Same with my feet. It’s a beautiful mat, but sorry Lululemon, The Mat is not for this Charmed Yogi.
And now, introducing the Gaiam Sol Shakti. Similar to the thinner Jade Harmony Professional Yoga mat, it’s made of open cell rubber. This one has a fabric like surface so it’s definitely got the grip you need if you’re a slider.
I like this mat just fine, except the strong odor smell still persists after 4 months. I have to wash my hands a few times after asana on the Sol. Same price range as other premium mats, Gaiam is stepping up their game.
Finally, I’ll move to my favorite, Manduka. I tried a friend’s Manduka Pro, and loved it. It was so heavy, I decided to purchase the Manduka PROlite® Mat. I loved this mat so much, it didn’t take me long to step up to the special edition Manduka PRO Black & Light.
The perfect mat for me, it’s stable but thick. It’s got grip, but still allows me to slide into poses versus having to pick up my feet and replace them like with the Jade and Gaiam. The PRO is a heavy mat, but I don’t mind carting it around because it’s
worth it. It is quite slick at first because of the manufacturer coating, but it doesn’t take long to wear off. Plus, you can expedite the process with a little salt water scrub.
So, there you have it, my trials in the yoga mat dating arena. All mats have their pros and cons, and everyone has different needs. For this yogini, Manduka is tops.
This non-endorsed product review has been brought to you by none other than yours truly. Step onto your mat and into being.
– Your Charmed Yogi