What is the best Yoga & Pilates mat to use?

I often get asked what mat I use for Yoga and Pilates? Students wanting to know what the best mat is to use and what they should look out for in a good quality mat?

I don’t believe that there’s a right or wrong here, it’s all really about personal preference. Yoga mats range in thickness: typically on the thinner end of the scale between 3-4mm, and on the thicker end between 5 – 6mm.  I found that when I started yoga my preference was for a thinner mat – I just felt more grounded and secure on the mat, but this changed as my practice deepended.  The more time I spent on the mat, the longer I started playing and the more adventurous I got on the mat, the more I started feeling my bones (think knees, elbows, hip & bum bones, even my the vertebrae – especially during spinal rolls) – a bit more padding was required.

Unfortunately when transitioning to a thicker mat, I found balancing poses a lot more challenging – I often felt like I was sinking into the thick end of a plush carpet and struggled to find my grounding.  I tried out a host of mats over the years, and the problem I found with a lot of them, is that as soon as I started gripping into the mat, they would start flaking and peeling – leaving me with a sorry-ass looking mat that looked like a mouse had been nibbling at it.  This resulted in an often uncomfortable wobbly ride, which only worsened as I started sweating on the mat during more rigorous routines – slip and slide (and not in a good way).

Finding the Manduka Pro mat was like coming home for me – I finally found a mat that checked all my boxes:

This 6mm mat not only provided the cushioning I was looking for (doubling up perfectly for both Yoga and Pilates), but the dense rubber weave still felt like solid “ground” beneath me – balancing poses felt a lot more intuitive.

The mat’s closed-cell surface makes cleaning a breeze, but also appeals to the OCD germaphobe in me – it keeps moisture (think sweat and water when cleaning) from seeping into the mat and providing a breeding ground for bacteria.

This mat has incredible grip! Not only in terms of the mat itself not moving around on the floor once you’ve laid it out, but also in terms of how secure you actually feel on the mat as you begin moving around and sweating on it – the more you use the mat the better the grip becomes.

This mat comes with a lifetime guarantee to not fade, flake or peel.  Sure, I had to spend a bit more but it’s an investment I was more than happy to make.

When I recently started looking around local for suppliers of Manduka I was pleasantly surprised to discover Yoga Essentials. Their pricing was reasonable and didn’t sky-rocket, as did a lot of suppliers, post COVID-19 lockdown.  Their service was friendly, helpful  and super efficient.  In fact I was a little blown away by how fast I received my product. As they are an online service based in Durban, and I’m situated in Cape Town,  I thought it was going to be an uphill battle to receive my order.  I placed my order late on a Friday afternoon and imagine my surprise when I received it first thing Monday morning. I was also able to track my parcel the whole time from pick-up to delivery – great for peace of mind.

If you are serious about your playtime on the mat, I would definitely recommend checking out Manduka (it’s the only mat I use).  They have a host of mat options to choose from, even providing a “Long” length mat for those graced with taller frames:-)

That’s it for now – see you all for playtime on the mat😉

Till next time – Keep it Light😘

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