When I began practicing yoga I bought the cheapest sticky mat I could find. It did the trick at the time – I knew whose germs were on the mat and it provided some cushion and traction.
But it was very thin. I became easily fatigued and tender in my wrists, hands and knees. So I bought a thicker, inexpensive mat. It was sooooo slippery. Nothing I tried made it less slippery. I really couldn’t enjoy my practice. So I tried again – a pretty mat I saw at TJ Maxx that promised to be sticky. Once again – slippery. And a little too “cushy”. My hands sank in and it was stressful on my wrists.
I heard a teacher rave about her Manduka Black Mat. It looked nice, but even 10 years ago they were almost $90. $90 for a yoga mat!! No way. But I saw the Manduka Lite and ordered one. It served me well for a couple of years, but my toenails wore it down in places and my cat loved to claw at the back. (It is now serving as a loaner mat here at YG). As I became more and more committed to yoga I felt I wanted more support and grip.
Then I decided to look at my yoga mat a different way – since yoga is practiced barefoot, my mat was like my shoes. I hadn’t bought a new pair of athletic shoes in the years since I’d committed to yoga. My feet had become the strongest and healthiest they’d ever been. My mat was to be my new Nikes. I bought a Manduka Black Mat Pro.
Twelve plus years later I am still using my Manduka Pro*. And other than the different label and a slightly different pattern on the back, you’d never know the mat is over 10 years old.
The Manduka Pro’s are thick and supportive, but not smushy. They are a little longer and wider than average mats. Your knees and wrists are protected but don’t sink. They aren’t perfectly sticky. There is not a mat out there that will prevent sweaty hands and feet from sliding a bit. I keep a towel at the top of my mat to absorb the sweat from my hands. Some people use a full length towel across their mat if they perspire a lot all over. But most of the time I can come to downward facing dog and really feel my hands connected strongly enough that I can push down and forward and lift my hips up and back and find the length in my spine without having to pull in because my hands are sliding. That’s where the yoga is.
Please ask if you would like to try either my Manduka Pro or Manduka Light during a class.
Important: When you first purchase your Manduka mat, it will be slippery. It will become “seasoned” with use. Please keep a towel handy for the first few classes. The label gives some tips for breaking it in. I recommend leaving it unrolled at home and walking, dancing and practicing on it a lot!
* I recently added a new Manduka Pro to my life because sometimes I want some color! Now I have one at home and one for the studio.