Product Review: Manduka High Performance Yoga Mat

I’m no yoga pro, but I do the best I can, ya’ know? Since I started practicing, I’ve been using a variety of yoga mats. You know, the usual kind, that generic, foamy, I-don’t-know-what-the-brand-is type. But I’m super-tall, and I kept practically falling off my mat every time I did downward dog. I needed a better mat. My yoga instructor told me to check out Manduka yoga mats. The guy behind the front desk backed her up by referring to them as “the Rolls Royce of yoga mats.” Oh, reallllly? I was intrigued. The Mandukas are exceptionally well-made, easy to clean, and, best of all, come in extra-long, which is perfect for containing my flailing frame.

Before I took mine out for a spin, someone told me it’s “easier” to work out on a Manduka mat. I was dubious. But the material from which the mat is made is far firmer and denser than your average yoga mat. While doing my practice, I found it was easier to stay balanced, to really dig in while changing positions, and there was generally less slippage and awkward moments. Also, the extra-long one I bought was really long — 85-inches. The model I chose, the Black Mat PRO, comes with a lifetime guarantee. If you’re into thinking green, the Black Mat is made with zero-waste and from sustainable materials.

The cons? Well, since I got the “pro” one at an extra-long size, this thing weighs a ton, or, more specifically, 8.5 lbs. This is no lightweight mat. I used to ride my bike to yoga class when I lived in New Orleans, and I would throw my mat into my bike basket. If I tried that with this one, I’d probably fall over in the street. Also, Mandukas aren’t cheap. The one I got was around $125. I wouldn’t be surprised if it lasts a “lifetime,” but that’s a good chunk of change to spend on a yoga mat.

The Manduka mat has its pros and cons, but the pros far outweigh the cons. I’m happy with my Manduka. What yoga gear do you prefer? Tell us in the comments.