When I was a teenager, I got hooked by the Winsor Pilates commercials and begged my mother to buy me the Winsor Pilates package, sure that it would take away all my teenage insecurity. She finally caved and I was so excited when my DVD came, with a Pilates mat included! Fast forward 5 years or so, my pilates career long abandoned, the only thing I had to show for it was my bright blue super squishy mat that I had started to bring to my yoga classes. It took me far too long to realize that my pilates mat was hindering, not helping, my yoga practice. I thought squishy was good, and didn’t quite make the correlation between my mat and the fact that my hands kept slipping in my downward facing dog, and it was really hard to keep my knuckle mounds glued down.
Insert: a friend with a real, legit mat. My friend, a local yoga teacher in Tacoma, Washington, let me use her Manduka yoga mat one day while we were practicing. I immediately noticed the difference! I checked them out online, and their website states,”Designed to last a lifetime (or two), Manduka PRO series yoga mats curb the amount of PVC mats that enter landfills every year and reduces overall mat consumption (check out our Lifetime Guarantee). During the manufacturing of most PVC products, toxic emissions may be released into the air. However, PRO series mats are manufactured through a process that ensures no toxic emissions are released into the atmosphere.” The difference between a mat made with rubber and a mat made without is quite substantial.
I purchased the Manduka “PROlite” yoga mat in midnight navy (black seemed too dark, but I’m scared of actual color haha), despite the price tag because I knew it was time to invest in my yoga practice. There has not been a single day that I have regretted it. I clean my mat regularly, and use a yoga towel if I go to hot yoga to help keep the mat nice.
Rubber mats do weigh more than their cheaper non-rubber cousins which is why I went with the Manduka PROlite as opposed to the Manduka PRO, which weighs almost double the weight (but is definitely thicker). The weight of the PROlite is minimal, I would compare to carrying a full bag of groceries. While I appreciate that my Windsor Pilates mat contributed to the start of my yoga practice, I am so glad that I found my Manduka mat when I did.