I’ve said before “Manduka yoga mats rock”. For the last 3 years, the purplelite ™ (Manduka’s 4.5 pound-travel mat) has been my yoga ride. It’s an awesome mat. I still highly recommend it.
Recently though, I was brainwashed by the environmentally friendly marketing leprechauns that I needed a new mat. Frankly, I’ve been a tad curious about all these new eco-friendly yoga mats available. Functionally, are they as good as what existed before? Are people trashing their old mats for a hip eco-mat? If so, that’s not very green.
Since my sturdy purplelite is starting to look slightly worn, I decided to go for the Manduka eKO friendly mat (eKO Lite™). The sale price offered though The Y Catalog push me over the edge to finally make the purchase. The eKO Lite is nice but it’s not the same experience.
Like the purplelite, the eKO mat is durable and resists bunching. For those looking for an enviro-friendly mat, it’s a natural rubber mat that apparently will “decompose completely at the end of its useful life without wasting valuable landfill space” (quoted from the Manduka site). I understand what this means, but can’t we just donate mats when we’re done with them, create other uses for them, etc.? And how long will it take the mat to decompose? I’m assuming they don’t just magically puff out like smoke.
Including the fact that I jumped on the green bandwagon, I’m disappointed in my eco-friendly mat purchase/experience. First, my purplite mat is still in good condition so I didn’t REALLY need to to go “green” to do yoga. Second, the new eKO mat I bought lacks the comfort/support/cushion that Manduka mats are known for. The purplelite™ as well as the 7lb. Black Mat ™ (yes, I have this one in my home studio) are luxury yoga mats. Maybe my joints are getting old – who knows?!!? The reality is it’s hard to go from comfort and luxury to no-cush, no support. No offense, but its kind of like going from an S-Class Mercedes to an environmentally friendly car that has zero creature comforts.
Long story short, change is good right? It’s getting through the first few steps of newness that we often resist. In trying to practice what I preach, I’m staying open to the change. When I go to practice in a studio or teach a corporate yoga class, I’m forcing myself to stick with my new eKO Lite. I’m slowly getting use to have less support and I have been forced to shift my practice slightly. For instance, in Ustrasana (camel pose) I now have no choice but to double-up my mat to protect my boney knees. It’s made me realize how spoiled I’ve been by the Manduka purplelite. It’s also reminded me of what the majority of my students feel when using thin yoga mats – no love from the hard floor below. On the plus side, toting around one pound less of weight is a nice feature and is better for my spine.
Looking for a yoga mat? Go with the Manduka purplelite. In my opinion it is still the king of all yoga mats, including Manduka mats. As for my purplelite yoga mat, it is currently the mat I use on the back deck of my house.