The BEST Yoga Mat – A Yogi’s Journey

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The BEST Yoga Mat – A Yogi’s Journey

There are not a lot of things I love as MUCH as my yoga mat but finding that perfect mat in itself was a journey.

I researched and read through hundreds of reviews and testimonials. I have tried dozens and have storage bin full of “failed” mats. I have often said that my mat is one of the top 10 items I would grab to save from a fire.

The Journey

A really good Yoga mat becomes more than a tool to perform your class on but it is a partner in your journey to self discovery. It should hold, support and comfort you in all that you are trying to accomplish. If you are continually having a relationship of struggle and pain with your mat then you have the wrong mat. I did not understand this prior to buying my mat and would probably have laughed if I read a review that talks about an object as a partner, so let me explain.

I have been practicing yoga now for 14 years and have been teaching around 10 years. I did not start yoga until I turned 37 years old and with no gymnastics or dance background I found the hand to floor work challenging. I was constantly slipping and moving around on my mat. The thicker mats made me feel more unstable while the thinner mats gave no stability and support under my knees or wrists. I am a stronger person with a gym background and could do a lot of the forward jumps but my hands would move making me feel as though I would fall.

The Importance of a Good Mat

Learning yoga is a bit different than just doing yoga. Doing yoga is getting through a class. Doing the poses instructed but not feeling them. I spent about 2 years in this stage of my practice as most new yoga students do. I knew yoga was healthy and wanted to feel better and increase my flexibility but did not understand that yoga is a LIFE practice and not simply a class. In this stage I spent a lot of time hoping my feet and hands didn’t slip, folding my mat under my knees and back and wishing a pose would end so I could be comfortable again. I think if I had found a better mat earlier in my practice I would not have spent so much time focusing on the wrong thing.

The second stage of yoga in a yogi’s journey is the “learning stage.” This is phase where you are having what I call those “light bulb moments.” Where the instructor is saying something and all of a sudden it “clicks” and you get WHY this is important or significant. This is where you are focusing more on how things “feel” in your body. How your body works and how you are connected and grounded to your mat. To not have a supportive mat in this stage will be a constant distraction and WILL DEFINITELY hold back your progression forward.

This is a really exciting stage. Students figure out HOW to make the poses operational and functional for their body type. This is also the exploratory phase where students want to try more and do more. Explorations into back bends, arm balances and body weight maneuvers like jumps and even handstands are going to be tried more frequently during this stage and its imperative a student’s focus is on the pose, not on whether or not they are slipping or held securely in place to their foundation.

Finding Your Perfect Mat

From this point forward you will want to have a mat that you can trust. A mat you know will keep you grounded and firmly rooted in your poses. The best mat and overall #1 choice by Yoga instructors is the Manduka yoga mat.

This mat is ideal because of its closed-cell construction not making it overly thick but dense. It is not bulky but very supportive so it is no longer painful having my knees, tailbone and spine on the mat The Manduka mat’s dense construction will provide unparalleled grip. You will stick all your poses and feel your yoga practice grow overnight

Manduka YOGA Mats:

Manduka eKO Lite Yoga Mat – 68 inches and 4 mm thickness

Pros: Lightweight and the perfect travel mat

Cons: Lower density so for your everyday mat you might want a thicker option

Price: $48-56

Manduka PROlite Yoga Mat 71-79 inches and 5 mm thickness

Pros: Constructed for hours of practice/dense structure and won’t weight you down (this one is my EVERYDAY mat)

Cons: For a heated practice a yoga towel would be recommended

Price: $80-$104.00

Manduka PRO Yoga Mat (also available in Long) 71”-85” and 6 mm thickness

Pros: You will never need or want another mat/optimal support and grip

Cons: A bit heavy for day to day carry

Price: $108-135

Each mat offers the following:

  • High-density cushion, joint protection, unmatched support.
    • Non-slip surface
    • Manufacturer’s lifetime guarantee
    • Closed-cell construction repels moisture/sweat from permeating the mat
    • Material will never peel, flake or fade.• Non-toxic, emissions-free process and 100% latex-free.
    • OEKO-TEX® certified.

The wonderful thing about the Manduka line is these mats don’t smell. Manduka does not use any harmful products or solvents to soften their rubber making them ECO and environmentally friendly. Your Manduka mat will last for a lifetime and you will not be adding to the landfill by buying a new mat every year. This makes the price truly worthwhile.

Cleaning and Care Instructions:

Your mat will arrive a little slick so generously rub your mat with sea salt, leave it on a few hours then rinse before use.  To clean your mat any all natural cleaner or soap would do. Manduka makes a line of cleaners available for purchase.  Personally I use a small heavily diluted amount of Dr. Bronner’s Baby Soap to clean my mat.

I cannot say enough amazing things about this mat and am certain you will agree it is the ONLY mat you will ever want or need!

If you have any reviews or personal comments about your Manduka mat please leave your comments below!

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