Ahhhhhh... There is something wonderful about a new yoga mat. Maybe it's that feeling of starting fresh. Maybe it's the absence of the perma-grime and grooves from your old mat.
Maybe I'm just a yoga-dork? ;)
Anyway, the past few years I have been going through my yoga mats at the rate of more than one a year. It's kind of shocking, really! So when I was on holidays recently I decided to bite the bullet and invest in a long-term yoga mat. Something tough, durable and of course, eco-friendly.
What I came home with is Prana's Neo Natural Yoga mat. And I am in love!! The mat is made out of 100% natural rubber so it's grippy (like, REALLY grippy) from the get-go. No more slipping around, folks. :) I can't believe how grippy this mat is! It's so grippy that my shorts are catching on it when I'm working on my jump-backs! Maybe they should rename it the "so you thought you had bandhas, eh?" mat.
The other cool thing is the size - the mat is nearly 2 metres long (6"5!) and 66cm wide (26"). Now I am not a tall person so the length is no biggie to me but I really appreciate having the extra width to play with especially for arm balances and the like.
I read a lot of hype about the smell of rubber mats. My verdict? Yes, it smells like rubber (*duh*). No, it doesn't bother me. Ok, ok, I confess, I have been caught lovingly sniffing it. Did someone say yoga-geek? Prana recommends wiping the mat down with vinegar to reduce the smell. A friend of mine used a home-made spray made of water/vinegar/essential oil on her Manduka rubber mat - she brought the spray bottle to class and just gave it a spray after every practice. My favourite essential oil for mats in Orange... it gives you something nice to look forward to in Chaturanga. ;)
The only disadvantage to this mat is the weight: it comes in at about 3.6 kilos! (8lbs) So I think will still be using my old sticky mat/yoga blanket (easier to wash!) combo for teaching classes outside my home and for traveling of course.
Bye for now... I'm off to sniff my mat again... :p
[Image from www.barefootygoga.com]