My mom purchased my first yoga mat at a Marshall’s that came with a free yoga DVD. It was a blue, thin little thing from Bally’s Total Fitness that provided minimal padding – but that’s okay because I didn’t need anything special for Bikram Yoga. This was 12 years ago in 2003 when I decided to invest in my first Bikram class at BYSJ.
My second mat came when I walked to Funky Door Yoga (Berkeley, CA) for a Bikram class and realized I didn’t bring my mat. Since it was a nearly 20 minute walk from my college apartment, I decided to finally upgrade my mat to a pink Wai Lana mat with hibiscus flowers. (I think this was sometime in 2006.)
This mat held over until 2011 when I started vinyasa yoga. I started investing in many many many Manduka eQua towels for the slip and slide that inevitably developed on my sweat drenched mat. I spent too much money on towels and realized that I should actually invest in a good mat.
I then tried out the Jade Yoga mat (on a loan from a friend) and suffered the same slip and slide. Many of my friends lauded it for it’s grippy-ness, but I sweat like a fat pig in a sauna. Others told me to try the Manduka, but mentioned that the towels will still be needed for a slipper practice. I still have a Manduka Pro Light that I use at home for a non-sweaty practice + global travel.
But many of my teacher friends had The Mat from Lululemon. *Cue the angelic choir.*
The Mat has been my hot yoga practice savior. I own a few that I use on rotation (except for the one my dog pooped on. I’m not sure when I’m ready to bring that back into the fold.)
Why I like The Mat:
- For most sweaty betty’s, it’s grippy enough to survive most hot vinyasa classes. [I know a few guys who still sweat more than me and require a towel. Just a few.]
- There are multiple lengths and thicknesses. “The Big Mat” is available for the taller folk. “The 3 mm Mat” is for those who don’t require so much extra padding.
- Excellent durability. I alternate mats only because I have to air them out after practice to dry out. I’ve had my pink one for over 3 years and it definitely has a lot more mileage left.
Things to note about The Mat:
- It smells when you first buy it. Air it out for a long long long time and it will go away.
- It’s a heavy mat. It doesn’t bother me at all, but just thought you should know.
- Do not clean with oils (tea tree, lavender)! I scrub with soap and water and sometimes vinegar.
- Buy a black or very dark mat. My pink one looks extra nasty and it’s hard to scrub the dirt marks out.
- Air out after a sweaty class.
Photo: I almost always bring my Manduka ProLite mat with me on my global travels. My hotel had promised yoga class, but alas, there was none. Did yoga by myself on the balcony overlooking the water instead.[Nobody endorsed me for this post. This is solely from personal experience. I really do sweat a lot – many of my teacher friends have noted that I sweat on par with many guys.]