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Choosing a yoga mat

In a saturated wellness, yoga & fitness market, how do you choose the mat that’s right for you?

The answer is, it depends…and your search begins with who you are:

1. What kind of yoga practice you do or would like to do (Hatha, hot, flow, yin, Iyengar, etc)

2. Personal Preferences (grip, cushion, allergy, mat length, easy to clean, off-gassing)

3. Consumer Conscience (cost, eco-friendly, made in usa, employment & manufacturing practices)

4. Personal Style (color, texture, story)

I’ve tried many mats over the years and for me personally,  the company culture, grip, thickness/weight  & toxicity of my mats matter. I love this amazingly well researched article that landed in my inbox last week and I just had to share it with you. A consumer advocates group has compiled an in-depth review of the best eco-friendly yoga mats on the market today. I highly recommend taking the time to read it. I learned so much! https://www.consumersadvocate.org/yoga-mats

A few takeaways/my 2 cents:

Having read this fab review, I’m most interested in testing the Suga mat for it’s forward-thinking, waste reducing ways, plus, it seems it would provide the right balance of cushion and grip I’m always looking for in a lightweight yoga mat. And being born and raised in a Southern Calif beach town, I’m partial to a mat made from recycled surfer gear. 😎

While I’m intrigued by the Tranquil Cork mats which seem amazing for those not overly concerned with grip, great for a sweatier yoga practice & the natural antibacterial qualities innate in cork,  lugging around its 6+lbs ,very expensive (& no free shipping) mat put me off.

What do I use?

My preferred yoga practice is vinyasa flow and hatha flow, allowing me to be creative, with big flowing movements, combined with longer pose holds (hatha) and advanced poses and inversions. So, I like a well cushioned, grippy mat, preferably extra long, non-toxic and supportive for hands/knees/elbows.

Manduka

I have 2 Manduka EKO mats, one orange and one (really old one) all grey. The one I like best is the older model, made of 100% rubber with much better grip that the orange eco mat but which is now discontinued! 😕I don’t love the orange one because it’s a little too slippery and though, super easy to clean, it does’t have the grip I like. I think they discontinued the other one because it smelled intensely like a barnyard for many months after purchase and use. It also hasn’t worn well in the heavy use areas (hand/feet) But the good thing about Manduka is the lifetime guarantee and free return of old mats which they dispose of/recycle for you. (though this may only apply to their PRO collection)

I also have 2 Manduka PRO and PROlite mats which I like but… the PRO is very heavy, so it stays in my home studio. The PROLite, while still heavier than most mats, is better for travel to other studios.

Note how I like, not love these mats. 2 reasons: the Manduka PRO line of mats are made with toxic PVC chemicals and they don’t quite provide that perfect level of grip I like.

Jade

I love this family run company, their ethos and that they’re made in the USA

I own 2 Jade mats.

The Harmony mat is grippy, lightweight (so not quite as cushioned as I like) and I love the color! (inspiring turquoise!)

But the wear and tear on the heavier use areas of the mat is significant for a mat that is a little over a year old. It’s also difficult to clean but seeing as I’m the only one using it, this doesn’t bother me too much

The Voyager mat folds up nicely in my carry-on suitcase, and while very thin, it gets the job done!  It’s great on the carpeted hotel room floor, and also good to place on top of a studio rental mat if you like to use your own mat when you travel to other studios.

I hope this helps you make an informed decision next time you go to purchase a yoga mat for yourself or for someone else. And here’s that link again, to the fantastic earth-friendly yoga mat review:

https://www.consumersadvocate.org/yoga-mats

Happy yoga mat reviewing ! If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out. I’d be happy to help walk you through what mat you think would best suit your needs! Share this blog post with a friend, fellow yogi or future yogi and be well, friends…

love,

jenny

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