Last summer, after a beautiful weekend away camping, we stopped in Truckee for lunch on our way home. As we were wrapping up with lunch, we found ourselves with a little baby in need of a diaper change and a restaurant restroom without a changer, which is where things got interesting. With our car packed full of gear, we were short on space to change her inside the car. Our parenting took a new level as there in the parking lot we unrolled my yoga mat to change her diaper. Despite lots of scrubbing and sanitizing when we got home, I was never able to look at that mat the same again.
This turned out to be just what my yoga practice needed.
I had been practicing on that Gaiam Tree of Life yoga mat, which had been a birthday gift from Landon, when we'd first started dating. It was one of those, "he really gets me!" sort of moments unwrapping presents that first year together. But though our relationship progressed, my mat game did not.
After 6+ years of yoga I don't know why the mat I practiced on didn't cross my mind earlier. So if it hasn't crossed your mind either, no worries. After having spent the past few months with the Manduka PROlite Mat + Yogitoes Skidless Towel I wanted to share just what exactly I've fallen in love with.
I was familiar with Manduka because of their famous Black Mat. It pops up frequently on blogs and fitness magazines with reviews calling it the Taj Mahal of yoga mats. After seeing it in person this past winter however, I knew it wasn't the mat for me. Though I've been lifting weights, and it's technically only the weight of a newborn, it wasn't my soul mat. Luckily Manduka isn't a one hit wonder company, but a top company that gets yoga gear, and has options for every yogi.
Let's talk details --
The first thing I'm impressed with the PROlite is its weight. In the Goldilocks story of yoga mats, the PRO was too heavy, my old mat too light, and this is just right, weighing 4lbs. I can't see myself ever wanting to go back to a 2lb or less mat, unless backpacking across Europe. It just feels right in your arms.
Next, thickness + dimensions. The mat I was using, similar to many you'll find rolled up ready to borrow at your local yoga studio, was 68" long and 3mm thick. The PROlite is 71" long and 4.5mm. Now maybe I'm underestimating what a 1.5mm increase sounds like to you, but to me, it makes a much larger impact in person than it did on paper. If I were to switch off between the holding the two, I'd swear the Manduka mat was twice as thick.
I'm sure I'm partially thrown off by the difference in construction of the two. It's bottom of the PROlite is unlike any mat I've ever seen or used. Shark Tank has taught me to appreciate something proprietary when I see it, and this is something I think Mr. Wonderful would have gotten excited over. They call it their dot-pattern bottom, but I'd call it your future best friend. Think octopus arms; once I flip my mat out on the yoga floor, I know it will stay in place with no exception the entire 90 minutes.
The surface is lovely. It has a woven look with subtle vertical long lines, which I love. From the first downdog to the last it feels very sturdy, my hands don't "sink" in and stay in place amazingly well. Because I don't share my mat, I breezed through the parts about its closed-cell surface that keeps moisture from seeping in and breeding bacteria when choosing this mat. But! I feel more confident recommending it to others knowing that fact.
One last thing that just doesn't hurt while I sing its praises it the lifetime warranty. If your PRO or PROlite mat wears out from regular use, under normal conditions, they'll replace the product, regardless of where it was purchased. Which just makes me feel good.
All in all, I love this mat. I really love this mat. Let me share a few quick thoughts about the Yogitoes towel while we're at it, because you guys, they're a match made in heaven.
"Over the past decade, yogitoes went from simply identifying an unmet need to pioneering a new market - using innovation to become a renowned brand synonymous with not slipping on your yoga mat,” Susan Nichols, yogitoes founder.
So what is the Yogitoes towel and how does it make my life more joyful?
A few specs to start: it is 68" long, 24" wide + 1.25lbs. It covers the width of my mat perfectly and is just 3 inches shorter in length. It is incredibly lightweight, but nothing about it seem delicate or fragile. It lays down + smooths out easily at classes' beginning. The texture is pleasant to the touch, and provides an extra glorious layer to my mat setup during yoga.
The silicone orange dots grip to my mat, and are the key component to the towel being skidless. During a typical hatha or vinyasa flow class I am lucky to not sweat easily. The first place that I do, or where it gets in the way of practicing is in the palms which is common. During heated candlelight yoga, which I am new to! it is a whole different story. Many of my frustrations early on with hot yoga came from being distracted from trying to stay in poses on my old mat. When you only have an hour to focus on your practice and let go of other cares of the world, slipping around in hot yoga is not ideal.
Other fun perks of the towel is that it's able to be thrown in the wash, comes in fun colors + collections, and it just feels so nice to stand on. And sometimes, that's all the reasons I need. Growing up is fun. I've learned that if there's a product that helps me feel more confident or it brings me joy, that is enough of a reason!
If you want a bit more of a guide, here is what I recommend:
- If you have a mat that is already your soul mat, great! We can still be friends even if it's completely different from what I love. Check out the yogitoes + see if you fall more in love with your mat with the towel on top.
- If you have a birthday coming up, or want to treat yourself, think about getting both. I really truly love the two together. I have the PROlite mat in Quest as well as the Yogitoes towel in Quest.
- And if you have a hot yoga towel that you love, or want to get only one, grab the mat. If I had to choose between the two, I'd grab the mat. It provides the perfect foundation for any class
Most of all, thanks for checking out this post! I'm feeling grateful that I set goals at the start of the year and that it gave me the push to make room for more yoga in my life. And a big thanks to Andrew Faulkner for shooting photos for me!
C/O Manduka Yoga