Yoga mat choices can be one of the trickiest things to discover along our yoga journey because there isn’t just one! There are hundreds! Ok, maybe not that many, but it can certainly feel that way as we search. When I first began practicing, I used a Gaia mat I purchased from Target, and it worked. For about 3 months at a time that is, until it would fall apart even with a Yogitoes on top of it so I didn’t slip and slide while I practiced in a 100 degree room. After my 4th mat purchase, I came home to a Mother’s Day gift that was pretty O’Mazing! My husband and kids had gotten me a Manduka Pro and I was elated! Even though it was heavy, I was happy, because I knew I finally had a mat that wouldn’t crumble underneath my feet.
After my first 2-3 weeks of practicing on my mat, I finally fell in love. I was used to a soft mat, which the Pro is not, however, I really liked how solid it felt. I am huge on alignment with my practice, and for some reason, feeling the weight of this mat under me, made me feel stronger and certainly more stable. I still needed my Yogitoes because I still slipped quite a bit as I was practicing in a heated room, but I was a happy yogini.
I fell in love with my Manduka Pro before I even cared about where or how things were made, all I knew was that it came with a lifetime warranty and that was enough for me. But now that I have awakened to the importance of ethics in a company and the standards in which they create their product (energy is carried on everything, and if something is made in a negative environment, this is imparted on what is being made), I carry my made in the USA mat a little bit higher. Sure, there are other brands out there with mats that may be lighter, may grip differently or stick better, but when I know that they aren’t made with integrity and in a 3rd world country, I just can’t use it knowing what’s behind it.
My husband has the Manduka ProLite and he digs it, I use it to travel with from time to time due to it not weighing a ton, and have really enjoyed it. I would still choose my Pro over it any day though, but I am a creature of habit and I have established a good relationship with my mat. It’s been with me for over 3 years and has supported me through some pretty rough times, it’s there for me when I fall and when I rise.
In regards to other mats, I have practiced a few times on Lululemon mats, they just didn’t feel good to me. With that being said, I haven’t practiced on them enough to be able to say one way or another how I really feel about them (ethics questions aside). I haven’t ever practiced on a Jade mat, or a Prana mat, however, in the best interest of my readers, I want to be able to offer you a fair comparison based on performance, preference and durability. There is this awesome site called reviews.com that will give you exactly that, a review on mats! Sweet! Here is a link to check out their reviews from yoga experts around the country http://www.reviews.com/best-yoga-mat/. I have used their 1st and 4th pick and definitely agree with them on those!
I hope this helps to support you on your journey through the jungle that is yoga mats. May you find the one that fits you best and may you create a bond that will last a lifetime (especially if it comes with a lifetime warranty).
From my heart and hO’Me to yours,
Mary O'Meara -