Manduka Pro Yoga Mat Review

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When my daughters asked me what I wanted for my birthday, I didn’t hesitate in responding, “A Manduka pro yoga mat.” How could I rattle off something so specific so quickly? Because I’ve been eyeing a Manduka pro mat for quite some time.

What makes a Manduka mat so worthy of my birthday wish list? Lots of reasons. But the biggest one, in my mind, was the fact that Manduka pro mats come with a lifetime guarantee.

In fact, it was when I was writing this blog post about products on Amazon with a lifetime guarantee that I first learned about Manduka mats. Here’s how the company explains how the lifetime warranty works for certain of its yoga mats:

“Our Manduka PRO, PROlite and PRO Travel yoga mats carry a lifetime warranty, if taken care of properly. The Manduka Guarantee ONLY applies to products listed as Ships from and sold by Amazon.com and is void if purchased from an unauthorized reseller.”

With this information in mind, I made sure to tell my daughters to buy the yoga mat from Amazon. However, another option is shopping directly on the Manduka site to ensure that your lifetime warranty works. (link via ltk)

What are Manduka Pro yoga mats

As you can see from the description above, there are three kinds of yoga mats in the Manduka Pro yoga mat line. They are:

  1. Manduka PRO yoga mat
  2. PROlite yoga mat
  3. PRO Travel yoga mat

Let me explain the difference between the three kinds.

Manduka PRO yoga mat

  • 6mm thick
  • Ultra dense cushioning
  • High performance grip
  • Extra long 85 inch option
  • Made from PVC certified to be non toxic

Manduka PROlite yoga mat

  • 4.7mm thick
  • Thick cushioning
  • Lightweight
  • Extra long 85 inch option
  • Made from PVC certified to be non toxic

Manduka PRO Travel yoga mat

  • 2.5 mm thick
  • Lightweight
  • Cushioning
  • Made from PVC certified to be non toxic

Manduka recommends pairing the PRO Travel yoga mat with a Manduka performance towel to help prevent slip during sweaty yoga sessions.

Examples of Manduka Pro Yoga Mats

Manduka Pro Yoga Mats

Why I asked for the thickest Manduka yoga mat

As I’ve outlined above, like other yoga mat manufacturers, Manduka mats come in different thickness. In fact, the GAIAM brand yoga mat that I’ve been using for years–and which is falling apart–is also 6mm thick. But even at 6mm it was quite cushiony enough.

Sometimes I practice yoga on a tile floor. Other times I practice on a hardwood floor. And in certain poses with one or both knees on the floor, I always need the extra padding.

A friend with a Manduka mat told me that the 6mm PRO mat just felt thicker. And with my midlife knees, I didn’t want to have to keep dragging a blanket onto my mat whenever I was doing a crescent lunge or half split.

GAIAM 6mm mat versus Manduka PRO 6mm mat

Here is a side-by-side picture of my old GAIAM 6mm mat and my new Manduka PRO 6mm mat. You can see that the thickness is the same. 

manduka mat vs gaiam 6mm

However, they feel completely different. While the GAIAM mat is soft, the Manduka mat is heavy. Like really heavy. 

In fact, according to its Amazon listing, the mat weighs 7.5 pounds. By comparison, the 6 mm GAIAM mat weighs just one pound. You can really feel the difference when the mat is on the ground and so are your knees–that 6 mm feels so much thicker with the Manduka mat.

Using my Manduka Pro yoga mat for the first time

I unrolled my yoga mat the day after I got it. My plan was to take a live Peloton yoga class for my 300th practice milestone. It was Denis Morton slow flow.

As soon as the class started, I could tell the difference with the thickness of the mat. Even though I was practicing on hardwood floors, the mat made it feel like I was on thick carpeting. It was amazing.

However, soon my hands began to slip. I mean, I know I have sweaty hands when I workout but this was different. This time, I was slipping all over the place.

I thought flipping my Manduka mat over would help

I stopped my practice–I couldn’t pause the class because it was live–and flipped the mat over. I thought maybe I’d put the wrong side up. Now the Manduka was facing the floor. Then, I restarted practicing but I was still slipping all over the place.

Before class had started, I’d posted an Instagram story. It was a picture of me with the mat and how excited I was to use it that day.

After class I noticed an Instagram notification and clicked on it. It was a friend asking if I’d “seasoned” my Manduka mat before using it.

Huh?

leah with manduka mat in front of peloton bike

How to season or break in your Manduka yoga mat

Turns out that you’re supposed to season or break in your Manduka yoga mat before using it the first time. This involves sea salt and letting it sit for 24 hours. Since I’d just received the mat as a gift the night before, clearly I hadn’t done this. No wonder I was slipping all over the place.

If I’d taken the time to read the label that came wrapped around my Manduka mat, I would have seen the instructions for prepping the Manduka mat. They call it “The break-in process.” Here are the steps.

Steps to break in a Manduka mat

  1. Unroll the mat on a flat surface
  2. Sprinkle mat surface generously with sea salt
  3. Let sit for 24 hours.
  4. Remove salt with damp cloth or eQua towel (My note: eQua is a Manduka brand towel.)
  5. Practice for a lifetime
  6. Repeat as needed

I made a video of the break-in seasoning process, which you can see on my Instagram. I’ve also added it, below.

Watching videos about the breaking-in process

Before I made the video and did the seasoning of my mat, I watched other bloggers who did the same with their Manduka mats. Some suggested rubbing in the salt. Others said you had to let it sit in the sun for 24 hours with the salt on top and showed them leaving it outside for the duration. 

I could see how you might think that as the icon for step 3–let sit for 24 hours–show the sun and the moon. I think it was there to show the progression of time, not to instruct you to leave the mat in the sunshine. Either way, I did season my mat in a sunny room. But, considering it was January and below freezing outside, the sun coming in through the windows was the best I could do.

Using my mat after the break-in process

I’ll admit that the first time I unrolled the mat after the seasoning process, I wasn’t impressed. My hands were still sliding. But, with each subsequent practice, I noticed that they were sliding a little less.

Of course, my hands were also coming out of each practice salty, which my dogs loved. I mean, they love licking me after I salty with sweat anyway so this was like an added bonus for them. But, seriously, I think I need to wash down the mat a little better to get rid of the remaining salt residue.

My Manduka pro yoga mat did come with a Manduka mat cleaner. It’s called yoga mat wash & refresh spray from Manduka. It’s a lavender scent.

So I plan on using that to help get rid of residual salt or any other dirt that might be on the mat. Because I’ve learned that it’s a dirty mat that can make for a slippery mat.

Also, as I mentioned, I tend to have sweaty hands and feet. Maybe it’s my anxiety. Or maybe I’m just a sweaty person. Anyway, very soon I want to write a blog post on how to practice yoga with sweaty hands and feet. I’m sure I’m not the only person with this issue of sweaty hands.

How to clean your Manduka mat

So, what are the steps to clean your Manduka mat? They are pretty simple, actually. 

For starters you’re supposed to wipe the mat down after each practice or use. I like my Wipex All Natural wipes for cleaning my yoga mat as well as all of my exercise equipment.

Use code LEAH15 at checkout to save 15% on your order of Wipex products.

Manduka recommends using its Manduka All-Purpose Mat Wash to do this. I’m not sure if that’s the same thing as the yoga mat wash & refresh product I just mentioned.

However, when I searched the Manduka website for an all-purpose mat wash, the refresh product was the only thing that came up. So maybe Manduka needs to update the messaging to reflect current products available.

On the one hand, Amazon has plenty of other yoga mat wash products available as well. On the other hand, I don’t know if you’ll void the Manduka lifetime warranty if you clean it using non-Manduka products. 

How not to clean your Manduka Mat

The Manduka instructions–the label that came wrapped around my mat–offer three clear ways not to clean your mat. You are not supposed to:

  1. Soak your mat
  2. Submerge your mat in water
  3. Shower your mat

OK, message received loud and clear! I guess this isn’t the mat to take with you if you ever decide to do a yoga class on a stand-up paddleboard. 

Where to buy Manduka mats

As I mentioned in the intro, the PRO line of Manduka mats comes with a lifetime guarantee. And if you want that warranty to count, you need to buy your Manduka mat from an authorized retailer.

We’ve already established that Amazon is one such retailer. In fact, here is a link to the Manduka store on Amazon.

Speaking of the Manduka store, the brand has its own online store, which you can visit here. There you’ll find not only Manduka yoga mats but other yoga accessories, too. I’ve highlighted a few of those accessories, below.

Manduka yoga accessories

Manduka Yoga Accessories

Finally, upscale, outdoor gear stores like REI.com and Backcountry also carry the PRO series of Manduka mats. These retailers also mention the Manduka lifetime guarantee so I feel confident recommending them as a place to buy the mats as well. However, if I learn differently–or you do–please let me know.

Overall thoughts on my Manduka Pro Yoga Mat

So far, so good with my Manduka Pro Yoga Mat. It is definitely a mat that provides the most cushioning I’ve ever had. This, even though it is 6 mm thick like my GAIAM mat. 

The Manduka mat is thicker and solidly constructed. No wonder it weighs 7 pounds vs just 1 pound for the GAIAM mat.

That’s not to say that the GAIAM mat isn’t well made. It’s just that the Manduka mat is so much more dense. That’s probably why even though it is also 6 mm thick, it just feels thicker and more cushioned.

I don’t love that you have to go through the process of seasoning and breaking in the Manduka mat before using it. That’s 24 hours I’ll never get back.

Preferably, I want a yoga mat that I can unroll the day I get it and start practicing it. But, now that the process is in the rear view mirror, I’m willing to move beyond it.

If you are older or simply need more cushioning in a yoga mat, I would definitely recommend investing in the Manduka Pro Yoga mat. Plus, as I mentioned at the start, this PRO line comes with a lifetime guarantee. If you know my work, then you know that I love brands that stand behind the products they make and sell. So Manduka, thank you for being one of those brands.

For more about other products with lifetime guarantees, here are a few of my other blog posts that discuss this topic:

Products with Lifetime Warranties

32 Brands with Lifetime Guarantees Sold on Amazon

Gifts to Give with a Lifetime Warranty

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