May 252015

Eko-LiteI have about 10 yoga mats. Some were given to me, others I bought for 5$ a pop when a local yoga studio cleared out mats people had long forgotten. I use them for my summertime outdoor yoga classes so the quality really isn’t very important. Up until very recently, I’d just grab one of these ratty mats and head to work. Or I’d just borrow a mat from whatever studio I taught at that day. But in starting to take better care of myself, I thought, HEY! I DESERVE A GOOD YOGA MAT!

Enter Manduka’s eKO Lite Mat. I’d had my eye on these mats for a while. I’m bothered by the waste that is caused by all these crappy yoga mats so many of us use. I get (totally get) why people might not want to shell out 60$+ on a piece of rubber they might only use one time. (Did you see that Craig’s List ad??) But run of the mill yoga mats–including the 10 that I have– are made of all kinds of yucky chemicals. I primarily teach Mom and Baby yoga and kind of cringe when I see a baby gnawing on a toxic yoga mat. Most yoga mats are not good for us, our babies, or the planet. They’re made of things like PVC, BPA, azodicarbonamide, phthalates…


Shoulder stand at Happy Tree

So, in doing my eco friendly yoga mat research, I kept coming back to Manduka, and was recently lucky enough to get my hands on one. In the yoga world, we talk a lot about manifestation and the joke among my closest friends is how if I want something, be it a blender, crockpot or yoga mat, I make it appear thanks to this here blog. Which is what happened with this mat– Manduka sent me my very own eKO Lite Mat to review, and is going to give one to a lucky mamanaturale reader!

There’s always a chance, when I review something, I’m not going to like it. That’s not the case with this mat–I adore it. But at first, I was a little worried. I have used mats, like this one, which are meant to be used in hot yoga, and I really dislike the texture. You see the Lululemon ones all the time, totally scratched up from normal use (and I find them to be slippery). Often, they are also super thin, which to me defeats some of the purpose of using a yoga mat.

This Manduka mat, which is 4mm thick, has a really cool texture on the top. (They call it the “rippled water top”) it doesn’t scratch and it doesn’t slip. It’s made of biodegradable, sealed-cell natural tree rubber which was not harvested in the Amazon. The softening process is done without the toxic foaming agents and plasticizers found in other mats (see above!) What this means, is that if in Mom and Baby Yoga class, one of the munchkins craws up and takes a nibble, it won’t be too bad for her. I might not be impressed though, these days, this mat is my baby.

Crow at Espace Shanti

Crow at Espace Shanti

The day the mat arrived, I missed it and had to go to a Fed-Ex depot to get it and I was beyond excited. I really do receive a lot of cool things to review on this blog, but this thing takes the cake. I got my mat on a Wednesday night and on Thursday I used it to teach a Mom and Baby yoga class at Equilibrium, two Prenatal yoga classes at Happy Tree, TAKE a Hot Yoga class there (seriously super grippy when I was super drippy), then head with my new precious mat Espace Shanti where I teach Hatha/Yin. What a day. But I had the company of this luxe yoga mat.

I’m not one for “stuff,” and have definitely had moments snobbishly turning my nose up at spiritual materialism. But every teacher and every yogi deserves a good yoga mat that’s not going to make a giant footprint, right?

You might have noticed the huge Manduka ad on the side of this page. I’m an affiliate, so if you buy something from them through that link, you’ll be supporting this blog! Thanks in advance.

If you’d like to enter to win your own Manduka eKO Lite Mat, answer the following question in the comments: Why do you practice yoga? A second entry if you also tell us which yoga posture brings you inner peace.

Namaste and good luck!