This is a review of Lululemon's yoga mat: Le Mat. I admit that I tried MANY yoga mats before finally settling on this one. I tried the cheaper ones from Gaiam, and even the more expensive ones from Manduka and Jade. After not being happy with all of the above, and many returns and exchanges, I *finally* decided to give this one a try... and I'm SO glad that I did. It was love at first asana.
Oklahoma City is lucky enough to have a Lululemon showroom downtown in Automobile Alley, so I headed down one afternoon on my lunch hour to give this mat a try. The super helpful women in the shop said that I would be really happy with it (especially when sweating), and gave it high praise. Of course, they worked there so I wouldn't have expected them to say anything but positive things about it. I had read so much about it online and knew that black would probably be the best color to get (I had read about stains on the lighter mats). They were out of black, but they had this beautiful ocean blue mat instead. How could I say no to it's vibrant, beautiful color? It instantly reminded me of the ocean and I knew it had to be mine. I was actually glad they didn't have any black, because I would have certainly went for the black. The blue is gorgeous and makes me feel like I'm on the beach everytime I practice.
I brought it back to school and did some yoga on the remainder of my lunch hour. Instantly I knew this mat was THE ONE for me. With all the other mats I'd tried, I still had slippage issues. Mostly in downdog, but also in plank and chaturanga. Not with this mat. My hands stayed firmly in place as I moved about. I was even able to get deeper into some asanas because I was firmly in place when posturing and had no worries of slipping.
The top is absorbent, so when you practice, if you sweat it will hold that moisture. I have left some very interesting hand and butt prints on my mat after hot yoga classes. They just add to the fun. No worries- they dry out if you unroll your mat when you get home.
The reverse side of the mat is also grippy. It's lighter and is softer than the top. The top of the mat (the blue) feels like tennis racquet handles (that's what it's made out of). The sweatier you get, the more you grip to it. The bottom is a different material entirely. I have yet to practice on the reverse side of the mat, but I really need to give it a try. I wonder if my legs would float easier to warrior on the smoother side. Hmmm...
I read a LOT about how Le Mat is manufactured, and it's one of the most eco-friendly mats out there. No harsh chemicals used in the manufacturing, and it appears that Lululemon is a pretty eco-friendly company. If I'm going to be spending an hour+ everyday on my mat, I don't want it to be full of harmful chemicals that I'm breathing in. It is made of natural rubber, so it's going to smell at first. I have noticed that it has faded over time, but it still has some odor. As someone who is very sensitive to smells (and them triggering allergies), it doesn't bother me at all. In fact, I kinda look forward to the smell of my mat. It's a comforting smell that lets me feel at home on it. Weird? Sure!
Oh, the ladies at the store said that when they need to clean their mat, they take it into the shower with them. They scrub themselves and then let the shower water clean the mat. Seems easy enough, but I don't do enough hot yoga to need that throrough of a cleaning. I simply wipe my down with a wet towel.
Here's some specs on the mat:
It's heavy! And it's thick when rolled up, so it might not fit your regular yoga mat straps or bag. I made my own bag out of a cloth tote I had in the house. I just cut the handle off one side, sewed it on the reverse side of the bag, sewed on some velcro and voila- free tote.
If you've been on the fence. Give Le Mat a try. You won't regret it. At $68, it might seem pricey, but it's WELL worth the money. It will last for years, is thick and cushiony, easy to clean, antimicrobial, comfy, and still far cheaper than the 2-3 pairs of running shoes I have to buy a year. ;)
I've been using it daily for about 3 weeks now. Couldn't be happier with it!
Oh, and not that you even wondered, but I wasn't paid by Lululemon for this review. I purchased the mat myself. I just LOVE it so much, I wanted to share this with the world. This will be the last yoga mat you'll ever need.