Over the last four years of doing yoga, I’ve come to own four different yoga mats and tested more than ten variants. Picking a yoga mat is difficult! It’s a personal choice that boils down to many factors, like your body’s specific needs, your budget, and where you’ll be using it.
A lot of yogis I know have more than one mat—so do I. But making that first step to buy your first mat (or even considering getting a new one) can be overwhelming. Like you, I’ve searched the interwebs for insights on what the best yoga mats are, and I’ve come up with a list of recommendations based on my experience with each.
Filipino yogis are in luck because this list of yoga mats are all available in the Philippines.
1. Manduka eKO Lite
Pros: The Manduka eKO Lite was my first yoga mat, and at the time of purchase, it cost P2,650. I owe my practice to this mat because it gave me everything I was looking for as a beginner. It was grippy enough for my liking after a short break-in period, but it allowed me to glide in between transitions without skidding.
3mm is also my sweet spot for mat thickness. It gives me enough cushion (I don’t have bad knees or achy elbows) while allowing me to feel connected to the earth during balancing poses.
Cons: That price hike, though. If cost isn’t an issue for you, I’d still recommend this. However, be warned: the eKO Lite comes with a strong rubber smell. It took me a week to air it out, and the smell disappeared probably after a month.
Unfortunately, the eKO Lite isn’t designed to last forever. After about two years of regular use, I saw small tears on my mat. It has an open-cell construction, which means it can tear apart after a while. This also means the mat absorbs your sweat. I made sure I cleaned it regularly, always used a mat spray after class, air dried it, and I’m the only one who used it. I still have this mat but don’t use it as often.
2. Lululemon The Reversible Yoga Mat
Comfort: Medium to high at 3-5mm thickness
Grip: Sticky from the get-go but can wear off over time
Design: Closed cell, reversible, durable
Price: Starts at P3,150
Shop Link: Lululemon HK (ships FREE to the Philippines)
Pros: Are you looking for an incredibly sticky mat? This is The One. This variant in particular is reversible, which means if you need a softer mat texture for your Restorative class, you can switch things up. That’s two mats in one! Lululemon also has a great rep for being durable.
Cons: They are so sticky that gliding in between poses causes my feet to skid. I didn’t realize how much I wasn’t fond of this until I was using it everyday for class. I missed those toe curls in my chaturanga transitions, and I couldn’t glide my feet on the mat anymore. If you don’t mind this (which a lot of people don’t), then this might not be a con for you.
I’ve also heard that the stickiness wears off over time. I didn’t own my Lululemon mat long enough to find out, but I’d imagine that would entail years of usage under classes like Hot Yoga.
3. Manduka PRO
Pros: You might be thinking, “Why is it so expensive?!” The answer: lifetime guarantee. Every Manduka PRO mat comes with it, meaning you never have to buy another yoga mat again. (If this matches your needs, of course.) If that’s the case, imagine the savings you’ll get over time.
This is also incredibly cushioned at 6mm. That means no elbow pain, no knee pain, and it’s an absolute joy to lie down on. It’s a luxurious yoga mat, that’s for sure.
Cons: Again, the price tag. However, I was able to snag this at around P6,000+ (including shipping) from YourShoppingBagPH in 2018. (2020 Update: They don’t accept Manduka orders anymore.) If you’re going to be lugging this around with you, it will get cumbersome. The Manduka PRO weighs 7.5 lbs—that’s heavy for me since I walk to my yoga studio.
After I sold my Lululemon mat, I wanted to love my Manduka PRO so bad. However, it just wasn’t grippy enough for me. I did the salt scrub method more than once, aired it out, and used it regularly for practice, but it didn’t hold a candle to my eKO Lite in terms of grip. Some report that it’s grippy to them though, which makes me label this as a hit or miss.
4. Natura Yoga Mat
Comfort: Medium at 3.5mm thickness
Grip: Perfect for sweaty palms
Design: Yoga mat towel feel, pretty prints, eco-friendly
Shop Link: Natura Yoga Instagram
Pros: I LOVE this mat. This is what I’m currently using, and it suits me well. I sweat easily during a yoga class, so I appreciate that the grip gets better as it gets wetter. It has all the things I love from my eKO Lite, with the addition of beautiful designs to choose from and a microfiber surface.
I also like that I can wash this mat thoroughly because of its towel-like structure. It also doesn’t budge on the floor, thanks to its rubber base. Plus, it comes with a yoga mat carrier that doubles as a strap for class.
If you happen to be in Indonesia and would like a mat similar to Natura Yoga, check out Ahimsanusantara.
Cons: If you have dry palms, you might end up sliding from this mat. They recommend spraying water on the surface to activate grip, but if you don’t always have that handy, then that might be an unnecessary step for you. Otherwise, this might only be reserved for days when you go to Hot Yoga.
5. JadeYoga Harmony Mat
Pros: JadeYoga has a good reputation and is often pitted against Manduka. They have a lot of pretty colors to choose from too.
Full disclosure: I’ve never owned a JadeYoga mat and was only close to buying one. I know three people who owned JadeYoga mats, and two of them used it for years. It’s safe to say this is pretty durable for an open-cell mat. I’ve also tested them out, and I can say that once it’s been broken in, it’s grippy.
Cons: That one friend who gave up her JadeYoga mat early on said that it could take a while to break it in—and I experienced slipping from her new mat first hand, something that didn’t happen from the other two. If you’re looking for grip right away, this might not be for you. Plus, it has a rough-textured surface, which I’m not a fan of.
6. Liforme Yoga Mat
Pros: If you’re obsessed with yoga asana alignment, the Liforme Yoga Mat will win you over. The alignment markers prove to be useful when figuring out where to place your hands and feet in a yoga pose.
It helps that it’s durable and ultra grippy too. It also comes with a yoga bag. You can choose from limited edition designs that’s sure to get you inspired to roll out your mat.
I don’t own a Liforme mat…yet. LOL. But I’ve tried it out and seen it in action. I’m so tempted to get their Limited Edition Love Mat.
Cons: The price. It’s right up there with the Manduka PRO but doesn’t offer a lifetime guarantee. It’s also quite heavy at 5.5 lbs—but still lighter than the PRO.
7. Domyos Yoga Mats
This is a general review of Decathlon mats.
Comfort: Low to high at 1.5-8mm thickness
Grip: Generally OK
Design: Closed cell
Price: Starts at P450
Shop Link: Decathlon
Pros: You can get a lot of good quality mats for cheap at Decathlon. If you have a smaller budget, or you just want a mat to kick off your yoga practice, you can find an array of mats below P2,500 here. Some are even grippy and thick enough to battle big name-brand yoga mats!
I haven’t owned a Domyos mat, but these are studio mats at Treehouse Yoga. I use them for restorative classes sometimes and they work well.
Cons: If buying online, just make sure to read the product descriptions thoroughly. It’s better to head over to a Decathlon branch to try them out, as they usually have displays of their items. Not all of their mats are grippy or durable. Don’t expect a P450 mat to perform like those in the thousands.
Note: The availability of each mat isn’t always updated/complete in their online store, which is why I couldn’t recommend a specific variant.
Now, this isn’t a mat, but I thought it might be worth mentioning. I got the YogaPaws because I wanted grip on any mat—and any surface. I got the Skin Thins variant (they have a thicker one called Elite) in Cream, size two.
It’s a bit odd to practice with “gloves and socks,” but I got over it after a while. It’s useful for doing yoga anywhere, provided that I don’t have to lie down on the ground. For instance, doing sun salutations on my bare bedroom floor is doable with the YogaPaws.
Find Your SoulMAT
It’s common to go through many mats before settling on one, and it’s possible to end up owning a few—but I hope this list shortens a bit of that process for you.
Are there any mats you love that weren’t mentioned here? Sound off in the comments!
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