We provide 3 complimentary “rentals” of our studio yoga mats to everyone who walks through our doors. We do this because, simply, everyone needs a hand from time-to-time. Maybe you don’t have your own mat the first time you come to practice, and maybe you just forgot it at home; in either case, we’re here for you. For members, we provide this service forever. But, I strongly encourage everyone to purchase and supply your own yoga mat and only use rentals in case of emergency. Why?
- Bacteria is a thing. Because of this, we disinfect rental mats after every use. Yoga mats are not meant to be treated this way, though, so even our high-end Manduka rental mats will wear down from all the washing. The result will be a mat that is more slippery and less effective than one that isn’t a shared resource.
- Your yoga mat is sacred. There are a lot of things I don’t buy into. I don’t believe gemstones hold special powers, I don’t believe in astrology, and I don’t believe in psychic powers. But, I do believe it is important to have a space dedicated to you for your practice. Sure, our studio is that space. But within our studio (or wherever you take it) your yoga mat is uniquely yours. Practice on it long enough, and it will hold a power with you. My yoga mat holds stories only I know. When I step onto it, I immediately know, “No, this is not me sitting in traffic. This is me making time for ritual, healing, care, and sacred space in my day.”
Own your practice. Get a mat!
Okay, so now you’re convinced. Which mat should you buy? Look for these features:
- Stays in place on the floor
- Has enough cushion for your joints
- BUT isn’t squishy … You shouldn’t have to step off your mat in order to balance, and you shouldn’t feel your wrists sinking in during poses like down dog.
- Is slip resistant enough that it is not distracting to your practice. Some people will prefer very high levels of “stickiness,” while others just need a mat that won’t turn into a slip-n-slide.
- Will last you at least several years
Here are some recommendations:
- Manduka – Manduka is the luxury brand of yoga mat we carry in the studio. This mat will hit every single one of the points above. The eKo line is the most slip resistant, while the Pro line hits more of a middle ground. In any case, the mats carry a lifetime warranty. They are literally the only yoga mat you’ll ever need.
- Jade – Jade mats hit most of the marks above. They are also extremely eco-friendly. This makes them a little bit pricier than Manduka, and unfortunately it means they won’t last a lifetime. Jade mats tend to have a 3-5 year lifespan, depending on use.
- Lululemon – Lululemon’s “The Mat” is a great option if you want a lot of slip resistance. This mat is best for hot yoga, but many people will love it in their normal practice. It’s less expensive than Jade or Manduka. The slip resistant coating will wear down in 2-4 years, depending on use.
- Hugger Mugger – This is a good option for an entry-level yoga mat. At about half the cost of the above options, Hugger Mugger will do the trick when you’re not ready to take the plunge into the luxury brands. You’re paying for what you get. It won’t be as sturdy, have as much cushion, or be as slip resistant as the other options, but it will be a little bit of each category.
- The random mat at Walmart – Ultimately, I of course want you to buy a mat from us. These purchases help us stay in business and provide quality yoga instruction. We also sell great mats at a fair market rate. But, I know you may go elsewhere for your mat. If you do, please buy one of the brands above at another retailer.Don’t go to Walmart or Target or Amazon and buy the $10 mat. Why? Well, let me start with this. Everyone at The Yoga Harbor is working hard to keep the doors open, and this is true of every local, non-corporate studio you see. It hurts to see our students then take their money to Walmart. Please, if you can afford it, keep your money in a small, local business that is directly serving you and your community. Every purchase you make with us helps us continue to teach yoga. If you find a better option or a better deal at another studio, you have my full blessing to make that purchase. Like us, they use these sales to provide yoga to the community.
Second, the mats you find at super low prices from big box stores are little more than pieces of plastic cut in the shape of a yoga mat. They won’t meet the needs we’ve outlined above. My first yoga mat was from Target. I used it for about a month before realizing it just wasn’t going to do the trick. Get yourself a mat that you can use for years. It’s friendlier to your body and friendlier to the Earth.
We currently have Manduka Pro, ProLite, and eKo mats for sale at The Yoga Harbor. We also now offer Hugger Mugger for those of you who aren’t into the premium brands. Come shop!