I have been in desperate need of a new mat.

I lost my beloved Manduka few months ago and in the meantime have been using an old but decent mat that I had. But, that mad has seen better days – and, to be honest, was  a bit too squishy for my liking. My practice style has changed lately and I had very specific requirements in my new mat:

1. I wanted something grippy but not too sticky
2. I wanted something that wouldn’t get slippery if I did a sweaty practice
3. I wanted something cushiony but not squishy that I would sink into
4. I wanted something that would be reasonably decent on carpet
5. I really didn’t want it to be quite as heavy as a Manduka – which, to be honest, I didn’t love as much as the rest of the world seemed to.

Like I generally do with a purchase like this, I researched, I agonized, I read reviews and I pondered the pros and cons. After contemplating Jade, Manduka and Lululemon primarily, I was pretty sure I had my mind made up and ventured off to the Lululemon store.

I walked in, told the “Lulu educator” what I was looking for and she led me over to the wall of mats with a few different ones available to try out. In hindsite, I probably should have tried more than one, but once I’ve got my mind made up, it tends to be more about making me question that one decision than to consider other options. So, I rolled out the The Mat, tried a few different poses, and compared it against the checklist in my head.

Thickness – check. It was not too thick, not too thin. I felt grounded but didn’t feel like I was just standing on the gound with nothing between me and the floor.

Stickiness – check. I tried trikonasana and parsvotanasana and didn’t slide at all. Then I tried pivoting my feet and I could without feeling stuck. Perfect on the grippy scale.

Sturdy – check. Definitely not flimsy like so many non-Manduka mats are. This one had some substance to it.

Technology – check, check! Very cool concept. It’s made of natural rubber and absorbs the sweat, but interestingly, it’s also antimicrobial so that the sweat it absorbs won’t turn into funk.

I chose a color, which was possibly the hardest part because there are so many pretty color options! Paid for it, and hurried home to try it out.

Other than a bit of an odor right out of the gate (which, btw, has already dissipated after just a few uses) it was AWESOME!

I tried both an anusara and a vinyasa practice with standing, sitting, twisting, arm balances and all… and it answered the  call like a dream.

It may not have the lifetime guarantee of Manduka, but it also doesn’t have the uber-hefty price tag. At about $68, I’d say The Mat is right on the money for a serious practitioner.

If I had to name one downside of The Mat, as a pink toenail polish wearer, I probably should have gone with black instead of the super cool gray/crazy green color I went with. Don’t get me wrong, the color makes me happy to look at… but the smudge of polish I already got on it trying to do hanumanasana makes me very sad… I’ll just look at it as a test to make sure I’m focusing on my practice and quieting my mind, and not obsessing over the pink smudge.