Mat Matters

I have long professed a deep love for Lululemon's cheapest mat offering - the Align Ultra Mat. And hands down, for $28 - this mat gets the job done. I have two of them. My original mat is so beat up from traveling, sweating, and general use that it is coming apart at the sides and always seems to appear that it has been run through some sort of wrinkle machine when I roll it out. Original Mat's kid sister is also showing the signs of a mat that is pretty tired of my active routine.

I knew it was time. 

I actually would have purchased the same mat once again, but I felt that I needed more support for my body. The amount of yoga that I do is stressful on my joints, particularly my wrists. I decided to look for a thicker mat, and if I was going to go down this path anyways, I wanted one that would last.

Type A to the core, I spent roughly 10 hours researching mats. I combed blogs and amazon.com reviews, looked at each company's website and compared materials, guarantees, and the environmental factors. I reached out to a few blogger friends and also asked around in class.

I narrowed it down to three, all in the $80-$90 price range:

-The Jade Harmony
-The Manduka Pro
-Lulu's Le Mat

I then looked at several factors, including weight, thickness, color (yes - I'm not embarrassed to say it was a factor), width, and length (did you know they made 85 inch mats for my taller yogi friends?).

I was really starting to treat this like a car purchase, when my husband reminded me that - in fact - I had bought a pair of pants last week that cost as much as these mats.  Busted - although they were WORK pants. I took the plunge and one-clicked my choice on amazon.com.

A week ago, my Manduka Pro arrived...complete with it's own new bag.

The Manduka Pro with bag - an excellent deal on Amazon!

I knew from my first downward dog.

I am deeply, madly in love with this mat. Which is good, because according to Manduka, it should last me a lifetime (Or two. Really - this is their slogan). It has a lifetime guarantee. Who does that? Manduka is essentially telling me that this can be an heirloom item. Look out world - nieces, nephews, potential offspring, other relatives - if you capture my heart - I might will this baby to you.

Yes, it's heavy and a bit big, so it requires a larger mat bag. I knew both of those issues going into the purchase. Aside from some initial slipping and the I'm-a-new-yoga-mat-smell, which the company warns about, the mat is perfect. It has been a week and I am already starting to feel the stickiness and grip kick in. And it has so much cushion. It feels like a different practice for my wrists and my ankles. This mat is one sturdy piece of rubber.

It feels strong. And so do I.

I have been promised a lifetime of happiness. One week in, it looks like a match.

A mat is a personal choice. What is right for me might not be as perfect for someone else. But I'm excited about this new long-term relationship.

Love at first pose.