Finding the perfect yoga mat for yourself is like finding the perfect love partner in life: you go out there, give a go for a few mats / relationships – or a lot – which may not turn out as you expected in the first place. But fortunately, you can learn your lessons and get more experience which leads you closer to ‘the One’. So yeah, it might take some time and experiment to find your ‘soulmat’.
The Struggle of Finding the One
As I mentioned in my previous post, I’ve been practising ashtanga yoga for almost a year now and I love it! However, during this time, I had some hard times with yoga mats. My first mat was probably the cheapest Chinese PVC mat I found on AliExpress, which was totally fine for me in the first place, but as I got more involved in my practice, I wished for some upgrade under my feet.
After my cheap mat and lot of recommendations by yoga teachers, I bought a Manduka eKO SuperLite mat. Unfortunately, we weren’t a match as I’m a heavy sweater during practice and the mat was extremely slippery both under my hands and feet – even after a couple of weeks it felt unsafe to continue the asanas after Surya Namaskar B. Now, that mat has a happy, new owner. 🙂
Love at First Sight
After ‘breaking up’ with my previous mat, I started browsing on the web for a new one. Of course, I was searching for a yoga mat that fits my needs and I can hold all the Prasarita Padottanasana poses for 5 breaths without being afraid of falling or unexpected, hurtful splits. Besides, as I’m not only interested in the asanas but the whole yoga philosophy, I wanted a mat which was eco-friendly, purely natural but durable at the same time. And I got some interesting results in Google: cotton yoga mats. Even though, cotton mats are the traditional ones which are used in India, I had no idea why I haven’t found them earlier. For my surprise, I almost saw no one practising on a traditional cotton mat in yoga related videos. Probably, the big brands have crawled up on the tall ladder and made themselves popular in the yoga world. However, fame isn’t the thing that catches my eye.
Within my search results, there was Yogasana which made me curious enough to click on its webpage. And here’s what I found: “the world’s most eco-friendly yoga mat” made of 100% natural cotton, straight from the home of yoga, India, all handwoven by the master weavers from the ancient city of Benares (modern-day Varanasi), “it’s in this region that Shiva, the Lord of Yoga, is said to have lived”. What else do I need?? So, I made a move.
We finally meet
Within a short time, I received my own Yogasana mat in ‘Water’ colour out of the 7 beautiful variations. As I opened the package, a mesmerizing smell tickled my senses: along with the yoga mat there were two incense sticks as a gift – it was a very nice gesture, thank you! 🙂 First touch of the mat was a bit rough – probably because that’s not what I’m used to –, had comfortable size and a decent ocean blue colour. By the look it totally got me – like on the first date, you know. Afterwards, it was time to put my dear up for a challenge.
Sweat Test – More Like Dry Test
As it was August, my first experience was with sweaty hands and feet which made me have an awesome grip. It’s like nothing I had before! Indeed, Yogasana told the truth when said: “With a sticky mat – the more you sweat – the more you slip. With our cotton mat the more you sweat – the more you stick!”.
The following time, I tried it with dry hands and feet. I didn’t stick as much when I was sweaty, but it was okay. However, I prefer making my paws wet with water and even spray some on my mat for a better grip.
Even though Yogasana mats are more likely designed for outdoor practice, they stand their ground during indoor ones as well. I had a tiny problem when I came up from Chaturanga Dandasana to Upward Facing Dog as the back part of the mat curled up a bit, but it’s nothing that would really affect my practice. Besides, I can buy a Grip It! Pad anytime at Yogasana for only $10 to fix this ‘huge problem’ by putting it under my cotton mat. And not to mention it’s made of 100% natural rubber!
The Yogasana cotton mat can be easily rolled up like any other yoga mats, put into a mat bag and carried wherever I want to. For mine, I measured the followings:
- 1.7 kg for weight,
- 186 cm for length & 62.5 cm for width,
- and 0.7 cm for thickness,
so, for me personally, it’s very comfortable to travel with, too.
I haven’t washed my yoga mat yet, but it’s recommended to hand wash it once in a while in cold water and let it dry. I will probably clean mine in the washing machine on a decent program with baking soda, vinegar and maybe some essential oils of my taste and hang it out to dry. There’s no fear of shrinking by following this process. However, if this may be the case, Yogasana has designed their mats slightly bigger, so no valuable space of yoga practice will be lost.
*UPDATE*: As I’m writing this part, I already needed to wash my Yogasana mat due to a mug of tea which decided to lay over and soak it a bit. I got a bit nervous as I had a few hard times with tea stains on my clothes, so I immediately put it into the washing machine on a ‘Cotton Program’ which was about 2 hours long on 60°C. The mat let some of its blue colour, hence the ‘Yogasana’ label is not white anymore – my bad. However, that’s the only negative experience I had during cleaning, which was probably my fault with the temperature – next time, I’ll probably do it on 40°C.
Money for Value – And Charity!
A Yogasana mat costs $95. This may push some people back a bit from clicking the ‘Put into Basket’ button. But let’s be serious: for what I experienced above and my disappointment in the previous mats before, my Yogasana one gives me what I need and even more; “Our handmade mats are extremely strong. They are guaranteed for 15 years, but you can expect them to last a lifetime”.
Yogasana also believes in good karma! After every purchased yoga mat, the weaver and their family receive part of the money to provide them school supplies and help their education improve. Besides, via Yogasana Circle anyone can show their support where 100% of donations are for this cause. Here you can also learn more about the story of Yogasana.
Love for a Lifetime
Yogasana has created and given me what I needed for my yoga practice. I’ve improved a lot in the asanas as I can clearly focus on mastering them instead of being afraid of getting hurt. I feel this will be a very long-lasting relationship with my lovely mat. Thank you! 🙂
I hope, you’ll also give Yogasana or another traditional cotton yoga mat a try. Maybe, you will also find it perfect for yourself and love it! Or maybe it turns out, it’s just not for you. Either way, you will learn more about the needs for your practice, your personal necessities,
… and yourself. 🙂 Namaste!
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