Manduka Yoga Mat Review: 12 Years Later


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This is me on my Manduka Pro with the text 'Manduka yoga mat review' covering the image

Manduka is a reputable company that is known for its long-lasting and quality yoga mats, but are they good enough to buy? I have some experience with Manduka products and have done some additional research for this Manduka yoga mat review and here is what I found.

Manduka yoga mats have a far superior quality than cheaper brands. Additionally, the Manduka Pro is the only yoga mat on the market to come with a lifetime guarantee. And yet, they still have their issues. They need to be broken in to achieve good grip. Overall though, Manduka Pro is worth the price.

It isn’t very common for any new yoga mat to have some problems, but that is the case with the Manduka Pro. You first need to break it in and only then are you able to get the full experience out of the Manduka Pro.

In this review, I discuss my experiences with my Manduka Pro that I’ve had for almost 12 years now (for a review of the Manduka eKo skip to here and for a review of the Manduka travel mat, skip here). I still practice on it, teach on it, and it’s still as good as new. Well, that is once I finally broke it in!

The Best Things About a Manduka Yoga Mat

Let me start by saying that although the Manduka Pro does have its issues, it is my favorite yoga mat. From its lifetime guarantee to its 6mm thickness, the Manduka Pro was overall a great purchase.

Grip – Great Grip Once Broken In

One of my favorite parts of the Manduka Pro is the incredible gip it offers. I’m not sure if you have ever practiced on a yoga mat without any serious grip, but it can be a real pain in the neck.

As you can imagine, having good grip is one of the most important features of a good quality yoga mat. And this is what led me to buy this yoga mat all those years ago. I had purchased a pretty buy cheap yoga mat when I first started yoga. And as with many cheap yoga mats, I was sliding all over the place during my practice.

With the Manduka Pro, you will know that you will get to experience a superior grip during your practice. However, this is where the two key drawbacks come into place and are discussed in detail below. However, let me just say that in order to experience this superior grip you will most likely need to break it in first. Plus, if you sweat a lot you may need to add a yoga rug or a towel. Skip here to find out more.

For more information on the grip with dry and sweaty hands, you may like my video, where I examined the grip of 7 of the best yoga mats on the market: How to find the best yoga mat.

Cleaning – Simply Wipe It Down

Another great feature about a Manduka Pro is how easy it is to clean. Manduka Pro yoga mats are made of PVC which is considered to be the closed-cell type of yoga mat.

Manduka Pro yoga mats are made of PVC, which is resistant to water. And so a PVC yoga mat is considered a closed-cell yoga mat.

This means that if you sweat during your practice, the mat won’t absorb any of the sweat. This, in turn, means that you can simply wipe down your mat after every practice. This is an excellent choice for people who sweat a lot, as it may help make the mat more hygienic.

There are two main ways to clean a Manduka yoga mat:

  • The DIY method – There are three mixtures you can prepare to clean your Manduka yoga mat. One is with water, vinegar, and tea tree oil. The second is with 1tsp baking soda in water. The third is with warm water and dish soap. Spray your mat with the solution, simply wipe it down and let it air dry.
  • The Manduka cleaner spray mehtod – Manduka has 3 different yoga mat cleaners. The Manduka Yoga Mat Wash and Refresh you can use after every practice, the Botanical Cleaner you can use if you want to disinefct your yoga mat, and finally the Natural Rubber Yoga Mat Restore if you have a rubber yoga mat (such as the Manduka eKo).

I don’t know about you, but one of the quickest ways to damage a yoga mat in my opinion is a dirty and smelly yoga mat. I don’t think you will have any problems keeping this yoga nat clean.

For more information, check out my article: How To Clean Manduka Yoga Mat: Step-By-Step

How to clean a Manduka Pro
How to clean a Manduka Pro

Thickness – A Comfortable 6mm Thick

Yoga mats come in a variety of thicknesses. These can range from the very thin 1-2mm travel mats, to the very thick 12mm mats. Manduka Pro is considered a thick yoga mat, at 6mm thick.

This, for me, is the best thickness of yoga mat. Why? Well, it is thick enough so you don’t feel the floor beneath you, your joints are protected, your hands and feet don’t sink into the mat.

Plus, if the mat has a good grip, well then it is a perfect yoga mat for all types of yoga practice, from a dynamic Ashtanga to a more grinding Yin yoga practice.

Manduka pro thickness

Durability – It Will Last A Lifetime

The Manduka Pro was created with longevity in mind. And so if you are looking for a yoga mat that will last a long time, then look no further than the Manduka Pro.

It even comes with a lifetime guarantee! According to their website: “Manduka guarantees the Manduka PRO™,  PROlite® and PRO Travel yoga mats to last the lifetime of the mat, if used and cared for properly.”

To the best of my knowledge, Manduka is the only yoga mat brand to offer a lifetime guarantee.

From my personal experience, I can say that I’ve had my Manduka Pro for almost 12 years. I practice on it and I teach on it and it only has some very faint signs of wear and tear.

Sizes – Comes in 2 Sizes

Another advantage of Manduka Pro is that it comes in two sizes. The standard 71“/178cm and the longer 85“/216cm.

After some research I did on yoga mat sizes, I found that the standard length of yoga mats tends to range from 68″/173cm and 71″/178cm. This range is suitable for most practitioners of standard height.

And so if you are of standard height, go for the 71“/178cm. If you are 6’2″ and above it is worth looking out for the 85“/216cm version.

73% of Ashtanga Practitioners Use Manduka Pro

A few months ago I asked a group of Ashtanga yoga practitioners what yoga mat they would recommend. Interestingly, 73% of those who responded said that they would recommend the Manduka Pro.

Read more about it here: The BEST Yoga Mat for Ashtanga Yoga: Ashtanga Teacher review

The Worst Things About a Manduka Pro

As much as I do love Manduka, it still has its issues.

You’ll Have To Break It In First

A big hang-up with the Manduka pro is that you may need to break it in first. For example, when you first receive it and you try to practice on it straight out of the box, you are most likely going to be sliding all over the place.

In order to improve the grip you will either have to be very patient and wait for it to break in. Or you can actually speed up the process by breaking it in with salt. You may be thinking that that may not be such a big deal, but I know several people who want a mat they can practice on straight away without having to go through this break-in process.

Not Great Grip If You Sweat A Lot

The grip on the Manduka Pro is great (once broken it). However, that is till you start sweating in your practice.

And so if you have a sweaty practice you could do what most Ashtanga yoga practitioners do. You could place a yoga towel or a cotton rug on top.

Weight / Portability

Yoga mats tend to range from just under 1kg (2lbs) to just over 3kg (7.5lbs). Manduka Pro comes in at 3.4kg (7.5lbs).

This means that is quite a heave yoga mat! FOr this reason, the Manduka pro is a great yoga mat to have in one place. For example, if you can store it at your local yoga studio or have to practice on ta home.

However, if you are looking for a yoga mat that you will be able to travel with, then it would be best to look for a lighter yoga mat.

For more options check here: Yoga Mat Weight of all Popular Yoga Mats (lbs & kg).

Both Good and Bad About the Manduka Pro

Price

The Manduka is a premium yoga mat. And so like any premium yoga, it does come with an increase in price, but unlike some of its premium competitors, you are a mat for life. For just over $100 you can own a good quality yoga mat that you may never need to replace.

Paying just over $100 may seem like a lot. And it is. However, think that you will never need to buy another yoga mat.

To give you a comparison, the very popular Liforme has a lifetime of about 4-5 years and costs just over $150!

Sustainability

There is a little debate about how sustainable the Manduka Pro actually is.

On the one hand, we could argue that it is made of PVC which is a form of plastic and say that it isn;t a sustainable yoga mat.

However, according to the Manduka website: “Our PRO series mats are manufactured using a process that ensures no toxic emissions are released into the atmosphere. The PRO Series is certified STANDARD 100 by OEKO-TEX®️ (12.HUS.17706 | Hohenstein HTTI) to keep you and your family safe from harmful substances”

Add to that the fact that you will not need to buy another yoga mat and are not adding to landfill.

Conclusion of My Manduka Pro Yoga Mat Review

Manduka Pro is not perfect, but it is still a terrific buy. If you are thinking of settling for a cheaper yoga mat you may want to reconsider.

In my opinion, the added price it takes to get the superior quality of a Manduka is well worth it.

I really love the grip and comfort that the Manduka Pro can offer. A nice thick mat that doesn’t mess up my joints is much appreciated whenever I’m practicing.

Not to mention the fact that I’ve had it for almost 12 years. All of these things combine to make a really exceptional yoga mat.

My biggest complaint is the need to break it in when you first buy it. I know this has put off many of my students from buying this yoga mat. But in my opinion, this is a small price to pay when juxtaposed with the plethora of great features.

When all is said and done, I fully endorse Manduka and think they are well worth the price.

Manduka eKo review

Quick Manduka eKo Review

The Manduka eKo is an eco-friendly and biodegradable yoga mat that sells for just under 100 USD.

According to the Manduka website: “The eko® mat is a natural yoga mat made from sustainably harvested tree rubber. Unlike other rubber mats available today, the foaming agents used to create the eko® are non-toxic”.

Other than it being an eco-friendly yoga mat, the key advantage of this mat is that it offers great grip.

However, that is only if you don’t sweat a lot.

If you sweat during your practice, then keep in mind that you’ll be sliding quite a lot if you don’t place a yoga towel or a yoga rug on top.

As much as I love my Manduka Pro, I can’t say I’m a huge fan of the Manduka eKo.

Quick Manduka Travel Mat Review

I bought the 1,5mm Manduka travel mat several years ago when I was planning on flying to Paris with Ryanair. I know I could only have hand luggage, so this mat seemed like the perfect choice.

The great advantage of the Manduka travel mat is that it is just 1.5mm thick, meaning it can be folded and placed in a backpack. Additionally, it offers superior grip when your hands are dry.

The two key disadvantages I have found with this mat are:

  1. There is very little grip with wet hands. And is if you sweat a lot, keep in mind that you wont experience great grip. Click here to check out my wet vs dry hand grip experiment.
  2. It is too thin if you are plracticing on a hard floor. So for example, this mat is great if you can place it on a communal yoga mat or on a carpet. You’ll find it extremely hard to plactice on if you lpace it directly on ahrad floor (e.g. tiles, concrete).

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Alexia Koletsou

Alexia Koletsou is a Level 1 Authorized Ashtanga Yoga Teacher with a Ph.D. in Science Communication. She received her blessing to teach Ashtanga Yoga in 2019, from the Sri K. Pattabhi Jois Ashtanga Yoga Institute in Mysore, India, where she has had the honor of practicing with R. Sharath Jois multiple times over the years. She is the owner of her own Shala in Greece and now shares her knowledge on yogamyoldfriend.com and her YouTube channel Alexia K Yoga.

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