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Manduka Yoga Mat Review: Breaking it Down

A mat, is a mat, right? Well, I beg to differ.

I’ve always been a believer that when you have the right tools, you are empowered and potentially limitless in your endeavors. The same applies to your yoga practice!

Over the years, I’ve racked up quite a collection of yoga mats. Practicing, traveling, hard standing, and meditating on a variety of brands, thicknesses, surfaces, locations, and even colors.

Today, I’m rounding up an honest review of my three favorite mats that I personally own and use on a regular basis from Manduka.

Ranging from lightweight, to heavy duty, to an all-around favorite, I’ve got all your yoga needs covered with these three options. And, being a car girl at heart, I’ve related each mat to a specific vehicle and their functionality in our lives. Because in reality, your yoga mat mentality, physically, and spiritually takes you places!
manduka mat - eko lite 3mm

Perfect travel companion looking for the adventurous, dedicated yogi who likes to travel and practice anywhere. I’m fairly light, low maintenance, easy to pack, sticky (but not too clingy!), and also plays well with other yoga mats as an added top layer. With a passport in hand, I’m ready to go anywhere you fly or drive!”

Product: The Manduka eko lite™ 3mm
Summary: Made from biodegradable, natural tree rubber
Pros: Lightweight, easy for travel, and environmentally friendly
Cons: If you’re using this as an every day mat, you might want something thicker (see options below)
Price: $52

My absolute favorite travel mat! This one is the compact car of the bunch due to its small size, functionality, and intelligent design.

I love this mat for its easy ability to fold up and fit in my carry-on bag, or strap onto my backpack. It’s light enough to not weigh me down or take up too much room, yet offers substantial grip-ability to make you feel at home with your practice no matter where you go.

One of my favorite parts of this mat (and many in the Manduka line): it doesn’t smell. The worst experience is opening up your brand new yoga mat to use, rolling it out, taking a big inhale, AND!…you start coughing, filling your lungs with ganesh-knows what kind of toxins and chemicals.

Manduka does not use toxic chemicals (unlike many other brands out there) to soften the rubber during the manufacturing process.

Choose from four different color options (I love the acai color!), coming in a standard size 68 inches long, you’ve just met your perfect travel companion.
manduka - black mat pro

 

“Strong, grounded, and connected, I can be your base, your rock, your mat forever more. I come with a bit of padding, heavier in weight than some others, but my strength is sure to last for a lifetime. Standard dimensions apply, but can be customized to fit a taller yogi. Looking for commitment? I’m the one for you!”

Product: Manduka Black Mat PRO
Summary: Sustainable, Oeko-Tex certified yoga mat
Pros: Offers serious durability, grip-ability, and comes with a lifetime guarantee
Cons: On the heavier side, so not the easiest for courting around
Price: $108-$134

The luxury car of yoga mats, this is my mat of choice when I want to get down and sweaty during my practice. The Black Mat PRO doesn’t shift, move, crinkle, or leave your knees in pain after a serious yoga practice.

The favorite of many yoga teachers, it’s also my personal favorite for at-home practice due to its extra padding for spine and knee comfort. Another great feature of this mat is that it doesn’t budge when you are hopping into a handstand!

Designed to endure hours of yoga practice, and with a lifetime guarantee, this mat will be with you for this life and your reincarnation. Yes, it’s a bit pricey, but think of your mat as an investment. You’d easily spend that money on sneakers, and last time I checked, sneakers never come with a lifetime promise.

If you’re looking to travel with the Black Mat PRO, I’d suggest grabbing yourself a strap to make it easier to tote around. Or, think of the extra weight as a warm up for your arms for all the Chaturangas you’re about to endure!

This mat comes in two different lengths, 71 inches standard size and 85 inches extra long, which is fantastic news for the tall yogis out there!

Upon first purchase, this mat can be a bit stiff. However, you can break it in by using a sea salt scrub then leaving it out for part of the day or overnight, then rinsing it off before you begin your practice.
manduka - prolite

“I get along with everyone, and am an all-around great soul to carry along with you from studio to studio, or on the go. I’m like an apple or a banana—nothing exotic, a crowd-pleaser, easy to maintain in its own shell, and can carry anywhere you need a yoga practice. With lots of color options, I’m a chameleon you can choose to compliment your practice style, mood, chakra, energies, or simply the color you love.”

Product: Manduka PROlite® Mat
Summary: Sustainable, 100% latex free, high-density cushion
Pros: High performance in a lightweight form with a lifetime guarantee
Cons: Can be a little slippery at first if not broken in properly or used in a heated atmosphere
Price: $80-$94

The sedan of the group, the Manduka PROlite offers the padding and functionality you’d want in a studio at the weight that won’t tire your arms out as you bring it with you from place to place.

Like the little brother to the Manduka Black Mat PRO, this mat is what I use for my private yoga clients, when I travel from home to home. It is also the mat that I gift to my friends and other yogis. It suits all types of practices, from Kundalini to Power Vinyasa.

Offered in two different lengths, 71 inches and 79 inches, with an inspiring array of color choices.

Like any relationship, car, or mat, the choice is yours, it just depends on what you are looking for. So, what will it be? Suitor #1, Suitor #2, or Suitor #3?

If you’re looking for the perfect travel mat, the Manduka eko lite™ 3mm will be the best carry-on companion. If you are looking for something for long term use or more durability, check out The Black Mat PRO. And if you are looking for something that is both portable and functional the Manduka PROlite® Mat is the way to go!

Like I mentioned before, I own ALL of these mats. Making Manduka my mat of choice for its’ high-quality design and functionality. As a proud ambassador for the company, I stand behind their actions in the community and the environmental awareness they take toward the creation of their mats.

manduka - linkshare ad

Sara Quiriconi
Sara Quiriconi
As a 12-year cancer survivor, Sara fell in love with yoga for its self-healing properties and has been practicing yoga since 2008. Graduating with honors and a BFA in Advertising and Graphic Design from Suffolk University/New England School of Art & Design, Sara became immersed in the corporate world and succeeded in Art Direction and Graphic Design in Boston for the first eight years of her adult life. However, her immense passion to heal others through the practice of yoga, creative movement, and honest self-exploration led her to leave the corporate world in 2013 to teach yoga full time. Sara’s mission in life is to inspire others to find a connection to their inner voice, create a balanced life in the real world, and enjoy the freedom of living free—liberating your inner voice through movement, self-inquiry, and creative self-expression. Sara’s teaching ranges from Vinyasa, Power, Budokon®Yoga, Flow + Restore, and paddle board yoga. In her classes, expect a healthy dose of creative transitions, challenging movement, intelligent sequencing, laughter and play—whether on the mat or in the water—at some of Miami’s most sought after spas and fitness centers, including Equinox, Exhale Spa, The Standard Hotel, and Anatomy 1220, along with private instruction. As a graduate from the online Institute of Integrative Nutrition and a contributor to beYogi.com and MindBodyGreen.com, two high-profiled online wellness communities, Sara is forever grateful to all of her teachers and is honored to be an ambassador for KiraGrace, Manduka, Starboard Paddleboards, Da Costa Jewelry, and Sand Cloud Apparel.

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