Lululemon Yoga Mat Review
I don’t claim to be an expert yogi. In fact, I don’t bend very well even though I practice yoga and stretching on a daily basis. The results are coming – I believe! So why am I doing a review of a yoga mat?
When I first started training at home without any weights or equipment, I always used a yoga mat as my workout area. I started with one of those $10 foam mats that you can buy at Wal-mart and it did the trick. It didn’t slide on the floor and it provided a little cushion when I stretched or kneeled down, but it’s longevity left much to be desired. It would only take about a month before little bits of purple foam were falling off and causing a mess all over the floor. I knew it was time to make an investment in something better.
The Perfect Yoga Mat
I actually went through a process of finding a yoga mat that I was going to stick with. As I tried various mats I began creating a bit of a “perfect yoga mat checklist” that included the following criteria:
1. It must be super-durable
It must be able to withstand more than barefoot yoga. I want to be able to wear my running shoes and do a full-on high-intensity workout without have to worry about rips, holes, or little bits of yoga mat peeling off.
2. It must provide good cushioning
A lot of moves I use in Make Your Body Work workouts require lying on the floor, kneeling, lunging, jumping, etc. I wanted a mat that would provide a bit of cushion so that these moves weren’t painful or dangerous.
3. It must be firm
Isn’t this the opposite of #2? Yes and no. It was important that my mat have adequate cushioning without being so soft that it affects balance. Doing a pistol squat on a squishy yoga mat just won’t happen so I knew the perfect mat had to be firm.
4. It must not puddle
This is gross but true. When I exercise I drip a lot of sweat everywhere and I can’t have a mat that puddles. Sweat puddles are slippery and dangerous so it’s important that the mat absorbs some moisture.
5. It must be sticky
I teach a lot of plyometrics in my at-home workouts and that could be a very dangerous combination if the mat doesn’t have some tackiness that will keep it firmly in one place.
6. It must not stink
If a something absorbs a lot of sweat it tends to get stinky (say hello barefoot running shoes!) I wanted a mat that would breathe, not trap moisture, get smelly, and grow mould!
“The Mat” by Lululemon
I bought “The Mat” from Lululemon with high expectations. After all, it cost about $70 so it had to be WAY better than those $10 mats I was used to using. How did it stand up to the “the perfect yoga mat checklist”?
This mat is pretty darn indestructible. I have been using it daily for 6 months and there isn’t the slightest indication of wear and tear. Much of the time I am using it with running shoes on, and am doing a lot of intense training that would normally kill a yoga mat pretty quickly (ahem, Bronco Kicks!). I have been very pleased with its durability.
It has two sides, offering a different feel on each. I like using the green side up because the black side is super-sticky and doesn’t move an inch no matter how much I move, shift, and jump around on it.
This green side is also grippy but is made from a polyurethane coating that gives the firmness I was looking for. Doing single-leg deadlifts or other balancing moves is no problem on this surface. At the same time, The Mat is 5mm thick, which is almost in Pilate-mat territory when it comes to cushioning.
Does it smell? Not one bit. It is apparently built with an “antimicrobial additive” that prevents mold, mildew, and apparently bad smells. It still seems to absorb some sweat since it doesn’t form puddles, but somehow that absorptive quality doesn’t lead to bad smells. It’s a miracle!
First off, it’s not cheap. As I mentioned, it costs about $70 which might be overkill if you are looking simply for a mat that will hold up to the occasional yoga practice. It’s also very heavy (like 5.5lbs heavy!). This isn’t usually a big deal but it does create a problem when you want to pack it in your suitcase and take it on a plane – It consumes 10% of your total allowable luggage weight!
The biggest downside of The Mat is how quickly it gets dirty. The coloured side has no bumps or ridges so any dirt or dust collects right on top. For some reason it is also hard to get clean. Even scrubbing it doesn’t seem to remove many of the dirt marks that accumulate after a few uses. As I said, it is amazingly durable but it does lose its “new yoga mat” shine very quickly.
The Final Recommendation
Should you buy The Mat? If you are looking for a quality mat that will likely last you a lifetime regardless of what punishment you put it through, then this is the mat for you (pun intended). However, if you’re looking for a mat just for yoga or low-impact, lower-intensity training then you might be able to find a cheaper (and lighter) option that meets your needs.
I’ll stick with my Lululemon yoga mat…I’ve just got to find a way to get it looking clean!