28 December 2016: This post has been updated to include my review of the Magic Carpet Yoga Mat. Click here to read it.
I’m so happy to share my thoughts with you about my latest purchase: The Reversible Mat 5mm by Lululemon.
I recently attended a Primary Series class led by Kino MacGregor. It was held in an art gallery venue holding about 60 people, which means this venue was packed! There was probably no more than a foot between each mat. It was my dad’s birthday so unfortunately the morning class was the only one I could attend for the whole weekend. What stood out for me was that Kino helped me do my first chakrasana. She literally stood in front me, told me to try (this pose scares me) and flipped me into a backward somersault. And that was that.
Another thing that stood out for me was my disintegrating mat (lol). It is not uncommon for our minds to wander during practice, and as I slowly popped up into downward facing dog, I couldn’t help but notice the little bits and pieces of my mat on my clothes, my skin (thanks, sweat), and my neighbour’s mat. Just a tad embarrassing. Since that day, I’ve had my heart set on buying a new mat. I did some research (click here for a detailed comparison) and I ultimately decided that (1) I wasn’t going to buy the same caliber mat that I currently have, and (2) I was going to buy either a Lululemon mat or a Magic Carpet Yoga Mat.
For two years, I had been going back forth between using a yoga mat from Wal-Mart and Sportsline mat that I purchased from Winners. I can’t find a link for this but it was about the same quality, and cost about $15. I considered buying a Magic Carpet Yoga Mat simply because they are just beautiful. Aside from online, I’ve read that they are sold at Anthropologie stores but unfortunately none of the stores in the Greater Toronto Area carried them. I wanted to touch the mat and feel its grip but I didn’t think it was worth paying $95 for something I couldn’t feel out. Obviously, I didn’t buy this one but if I do happen to find a retailer in the GTA and if the mat lives up to its reviews, I think I would buy one just for the sake of owning such a beautiful looking mat. UPDATE! (28 December 2016): Click here for my review of the Magic Carpet Yoga Mat. I also considered a Liforme mat but again, no retailers in the GTA which is unfortunate because the reviews for both the Magic Carpet and Liforme mats were mainly positive.
Here are the specs of the Lululemon 5mm mat taken directly from their website:
- thin polyurethane top layer wicks away sweat and absorbs moisture to help you get a grip
- thick base layer cushions your hands and feet
- reversible—choose the right surface depending on your practice
- antimicrobial additive helps prevent mold, bacteria and fungi from taking over your mat
- natural rubber has a slight smell, but don’t worry—it fades over time
- wipe your mat down with warm, soapy water or soak it after a super sweaty class
- designed for: yoga
- fabric(s): polyurethane, rubber, latex
- dimensions: 71″ x 26″ (180cm x 66cm)
- weight: 5.24lb (2.38kg)
- thickness: 5mm
What I like about this mat:
1 – When I first cleaned it, the water immediately started to bead up. Awesome. I subsequently tried a down dog on the wet parts and the grip did not budge. My other mats simply absorbed the moisture and this is especially evident after I clean them with water and tea tree oil. They take about 30 minutes to fully dry after a good wipe-down. To resolve this issue in relation to sweat, I would use a bath or hot yoga towel that can be placed on top of the mat but it can – and will – bunch up, and the “grip” that yoga towels promise do not always guarantee a stable downward dog. I received this Lululemon yoga towel as a gift and I think it is the next best thing if you don’t want to splurge on an expensive mat (the towel itself is a splurge). The grip on this thing is amazing compared to other hot yoga towels but not 100% as compared to the 5mm mat. (Aside: the key is to not wash the towel with fabric softener! It ruins the integrity of “the grip”.) (Another aside: hot yoga towels make great beach towels because they dry fast.)
2 – It’s thick! I prefer using this Everlast Exercise Mat especially when practicing shoulder stand (to cushion the boney part of my neck), forearm stand (to cushion the elbows and minimize chafing), and headstand (for the same reasons I use it for forearm stand). The problem with the Everlast mat is that there is absolutely zero friction on the bottom of the mat if practicing on a regular hard floor (I almost wiped out practicing jump-throughs). My solution for this was to place it over top of another yoga mat. The Reversible Mat 5mm (which is about 1/4 of the thickness of the Everlast Exercise Mat) provides sufficient cushioning especially when I’m practicing in a studio and I don’t want to bring two mats. It’s not as thick as the Everlast, but it is thicker than your typical yoga mat.
3 – Lululemon stands by its products. Many negative reviews I’ve read were related to rubber and latex allergies. I myself am sensitive the to the latex found in most strapless bras – I just get itchy and I have scars from the rashes. The employee at Lululemon said that I could return it if I develop an allergy from the mat. She also mentioned that I could return it if the mat loses its “stickiness”, something I’m not sure I could have done with the other mats I considered (then again I didn’t ask). It would have been heartbreaking to know I spent $75 on something I couldn’t use because I was allergic to it.
1 – It’s heavy. As you can see from the above specs, it weighs a little over 5lbs in comparison to my Wal-Mart mat that only weights about 1-2lbs. Not a deal-breaker, but definitely not great for traveling if you’re looking to fold it up in your suitcase. I take this Nike mat when I travel because it’s very light weight (less than 1lb) and easy to fold up in my suitcase, but I personally don’t prefer to use it for daily practice. It’s too thin for my liking.
2 – It stinks of rubber at first, just as the specs indicate. I’ve kept it hanging over my banister for about four days and the smell has decreased a lot but I’m not sure if it’s just me becoming desensitized to the smell or if the smell had actually decreased. Either way, I’m going to keep it unrolled over my banister for another few days before I bring it to the studio. I think the smell would be distracting to my neighbours and myself.
UPDATE! It’s been 2 months since I’ve purchased the mat and I’m happy to say that the rubber smell is gone. I can only notice the smell when I’m in childs pose but it’s negligible as compared to when I first bought it.
ANOTHER UPDATE! (8 Sept. 2016): It’s been 10 months and the rubber smell is completely gone 🙂
In my previous post, I mentioned that if you are new to the practice, any mat will do. I don’t see the rationale in purchasing an expensive mat when you might not even like the activity. But if you’re getting serious with your practice or just looking to try out a new mat, I don’t think this mat will disappoint.
I hope this review will help you with your decision, and feel free to leave a comment if you have any questions!