I’ve practiced on a lot of mats over the past 15 or so years, starting out on the basic sticky mat, moving on to an ecological Jute mat, and then sticking faithfully (no pun intended) to the Jade mats over many years, different colours and thicknesses.Â I’ve recently been turned on to a new ecological mat by Kulae that is pure luxury to practice on.Â This is a short list of all short lists – there are loads of great mats to choose from and the more yogis you ask, the more you begin to realize how passionate we are about our mats!
Sticky mats are decent if you are just starting out with yoga and don’t want to invest in higher quality mat or an ecological mat. They are widely available in places where there often is no other option. I was even able to find a basic sticky mat in a sporting goods store in Kosovo several years back! The problem with a standard sticky mat is they aren’t actually all that ‘sticky’, and they do fleck apart in large chunks rather easily…and of course while falling apart, those chunky rubber pieces aren’t going anywhere for a few hundred years, at least.
Jute mats are another experience altogether, and while not for everyone, do give the hands and feet the feeling that they are grounding into something natural. The Jute gives the top an almost ‘fabric’ like feel, while the underside sticks well to the floor. I didn’t find the Jute all that comfortable over a long period to practice on, and in particularly hot classes the mat was more slippery than gripping. I know a few yogis that love their Jute mats, but for me it was a one shot deal, mainly because the surface made my feet peel.
I know the Jade yoga mat inside and out. While the thicker mats offer a good balance of padding and firm support and the travel mats are easy to fold up and take anywhere, the two problems I’ve encountered again and again are: 1. My jade mats never have stuck to the ground surface; and 2. The way that the jade mats biodegrade has left my yoga clothes time and again covered in tiny flecks of colour. Regarding the former, wnether I try using the mat right off the shelf, wearing it in, or washing it, the only way I’ve ever had any luck with my Jade mat sticking to a studio floor is using another mat underneath. The latter speaks for itself, and if you’re a Jade user you’ll know what I mean.
I was sent a Kulae yoga mat recently, and I’ve been more than pleasantly surprised. Quite simply, the ecomat Ultra is the nicest mat I’ve ever practiced on. Besides the extra long length, the surface texture is padded but firm and non-slip. It doesn’t appear to be porous like the Jade mats, so my hope is that it won’t fleck apart in tiny pieces over time. The other mat I received, the ecomat, is super lightweight and feels like the perfect travel companion. The mats are made with ‘closed-cell technology’ that apparently means they won’t take on odors or bacteria. All week long I’ve been excited for the next time I get to roll out the mat and get down to business. Thank you Kulae!