The Low Down on Yoga Mats
I've been wanting to write something like this for a while, but I had a few reasons to wait on creating a review on yoga mats. Mainly because I've only ever seriously practiced on 3 different mats. Originally, I wanted to review a bunch of them, but then my minimalist mind was like - "Wait, where's the practicality in having a bunch of yoga mats?"
Also, this is from the opinion pile - but I think a really fair review on yoga mats requires that you practice on the mat for an extended period of time. Because mats take on a different quality over the course of their life, and they absorb the prana we place on them everyday.
Choosing a yoga mat is totally up to personal preference. I swear by my favorite mat and my husband swears by his, so to each their own.
I hope that whatever you choose to practice on, that some of this information will help you. Remember, that not so long ago, yoga was not such a mainstream activity as it is today. Lots of people practiced on the floor without a mat. So if you ever find yourself in a situation where you forgot yours, you can still practice as long as the surface is not too hard or slippery.
Good luck yogis and keep on, keeping on.
Jade Yoga Mat
This was my very first yoga mat. I practiced on studio loaner mats for the LONGEST time before I decided to crack open my wallet and buy a Jade. I remember thinking, "I can't believe I'm paying this much for a mat, I better practice more!" I have to chuckle at this memory of myself.
When I bought the Jade mat I was primarily practicing Iyengar yoga and I was incredibly happy with it. It was cushy enough and my hands never slipped. However after several years of use and a few hundred vinyasa classes later, my mat started to move underneath me. Particularly when I would jump forward or back in sun salutes. Most likely this was due to the fact that I stored my Jade in the car a lot and it started to dry out which caused it to slip on wooden floors.
A teacher noticed this and advised that I spray my mat to make it wet to help it adhere and not slip. Hello, the lights came on and I realized why so many people were spraying their own mats around me. Sigh...
I tried this for a while and it certainly worked.
In total I used my Jade mat for the first 4 years of practice and I absolutely loved it at the time. It did start wearing thin and showing signs of wear and tear so I retired it to my "teaching mat." Which leads me to...
Enter my second mat mate. I started practicing at a bunch of different studios after teacher training and it seemed like everyone was using a Manduka. Since I used to seriously suffer from FOMO I splurged on one. This time, I felt like well, it's worth it since I'm pretty much practicing every day.
The Manduka is heavy and worth it's weight in adhering to the ground. It does not slip during jump backs and it has an amazing grip. It does have a breaking in period however so for a little while you may notice that the surface is slippery. There are tons of videos that show the quick way to break in your Manduka mat. My favorite way to break it in?
Liforme Yoga Mat
This is my third mat relationship. And I think this one is here to stay. I've been practicing on Liforme since 2015 and I have 3 of them! It's mainly because when I purchased my first Liforme, I received the wrong mat. Once I discovered they shipped me the wrong mat and contacted them, they graciously sent me another one. The third was another gift from Liforme as I had emailed them about my experience in Mysore where I had to cut the OM symbol off my mat. You can read about what caused me to do this in the Sacred Symbols post.
I have really sweaty hands, and I also struggle with Urdhva Dhanurasana. The Liforme mat has an unparalleled practice surface that's super grippy and also dries quickly. It's surface is so vastly different from other mats that it took me a while to try it. After my first practice on it however, I was hooked. It doesn't have a breaking in period, and so far, my very first Liforme is still holding up. The surface doesn't have any dents or dings and it's not falling apart despite the major use it's had in the past 3 years.
As you can see, my Liforme travel mat has been to various places with me around the world. It's so light and easy to carry through the airport and I find joy in the bright green color, which inspires me to step onto the mat to practice. I keep my regular mat at home for practice, though I have taken it on longer trips away from home.
Remember yogis, choosing a mat is truly up to your personal preference and how you practice. To conclude the highlights for each mat, I've created the table below for you. As my preferences and practice changed, so has the surface that I've chosen to practice on.
I'm also curious for those who travel - what's your favorite light weight yoga rug? Please let me know in the comments below.