Friday, October 3, 2008

Manduka Eko Lite Review: Part 2 (after 1 month)

OK, so after a month of intense ashtanga teacher training, with the mat suffering about 4 - 5 hours abuse everyday... I'm sad to say that there are little holes appearing where the feet and hands go on the mat.

The up side is that there are no flakey bits that come off, like the regular PVC mats that start sticking to your sweaty arms and legs. It just seems like the holes are appearing out of thin air. I reckon my problem is rolling over toenails from Chaturanga into Up-Dog, which causes the abrasions where the feet are, and dragging my feet on the floor in jump-throughs, which causes abrasions where the hands are. (Yes, I need to engage more core as I jump through. I'm trying!)

Not such a perfect mat after all. It's still fine to use for now coz it's not getting in my way, but at some point down the road I'll probably have to bite the bullet and get THE Black Mat. Except that it's 3kg. Sheesh.

(And for the record, my toenails are nice and short and kept pedicured, so I don't understand why they've got such ripping power.)


  1. The 3mm eKO Lite is a great mat for travel I dont think it is designed to be used in every day 4-5 hour practices. Although it does withstand more practice than any other natural mat on the market. I have the eKO Mat 5mm to use when I go to a quick class or at home. I love it. It is 6lbs but it does last. I use the PRO Lite (purplelite) when I travel and it is great. It also comes with a lifetime guarantee; so if i rip through it Manduka will replace it for free. :)

    Thanks for the blog!

  2. Thanks for your comment! And great to hear from someone who's tried out practically all the Manduka mats too!

    I'm currently using the black mat - it's not Manduka's pro black mat, but the original German transformer black mat that Manduka's is based on I think. They're very similar and it's been about slightly over a month that I've been using it almost daily now and it's a killer mat. Grippy even through a sweaty practice, no bunching or flipping, and just THERE throughout the practice and I'm no longer noticing it or distracted by it. Which is what a mat should do. Except that it's heavy!

    I might just do what you do and get a pro-lite for travelling and transporting to/ from studio and keep this black mat for home practice.

    Cheers! :)

  3. I'm in the same boat, looking for a good eco-friendly but travel-friendly mat. It seems that the natural rubber material will break down faster. Prior to Manduka Eco-Lite, I was a big supporter of Jade rubber mats. Both products start 'disintegrating' after 1 month of intense Ashtanga daily practice. I just bit the bullet on the Purple Lite mat. Although heavier than Eco-Lite (but yet lighter than the Black Mat), it's still holding up strong after 4 months!

    Good luck with your quest!

  4. How is the Black Mat holding on after all this time? I've heard that they are "The" mat for ashtangi and I am at the point where I hate my Jade for disintergrating on me..Please let me know how you have got on with it.

    Thank you


  5. After about 1 year now of using THE Black mat, I've got to say: it's the bees knees. This is of course, the Pro version. Worth every penny you'll pay. I've also learned that pulling a yoga towel over the mat when you come to the seated postures also helps to preserve the life of the mat (see my review of the eQua). It's those jumpbacks and jumpthroughs... my feet just keep scraping the mat. It still looks as good as new, and I can't imagine how I ever practiced without it.

    It's so great that I've even bought the Pro-lite version for travelling! (postage to Australia cost me as much as the mat itself, but WORTH IT!) It's a lot thinner but still supportive. OK for less frequent use. I still like the comfort and firm cushioning of the Black mat even though it's super heavy. I leave mine at the shala and only bring it back when it needs a wash.

    I say: DO IT!

  6. I wish I had read your blog first before buying the Eko Lite. I bought the 3mm standard size. It was nice after I first used it. I do a lot of Hot Flow Vinyasa classes so I really sweat like a puddle. After my first use, I just had to wash it. I used warm water and mild soap. It was never quite the same after that. It became slippery now and it wrinkled easily especially when I do my warriors. So I decided to buy the Manduka Prolite and was lucky enough to have spoken to the owner of the shop who took the time to explain to me the differences of the two mats. I am pleasantly satisfied with the ProLite. It was just thick enough to protect my knees and still do balance poses correctly. Plus it didn't have that annoying rubbery smell that I had to endure on the Eko Lite. And the sweetest deal of all is the lifetime warranty (if only that bit of info was mentioned the first time.)

  7. Congrats on your purchase, Pepper! (My Pro-lite is still being shipped over from Cape Town to Amsterdam as of this week so I haven't used it as much, but the Black Mat is still holding strong). :)

  8. I just got the 79" eKo and I love it. I put it on top of the YMCA mat and it feels so good.. it smelled like rubber but I hung it over my door for a week and then it was fine. I took it to yoga class within 24 hours of opening it out of the plastic and nobody noticed any rubber smell. The mat might be a little heavy if you riding a bike, taking the bus, or walking but just carrying it from your car to your yoga session it's not heavy. The 79 inch mat is perfect for me and I'm six foot. I would actually like the 85 incher but that was only on the Pro Series not eKo. Anyways I'm really happy with my eKo yoga mat but then again in person I've only compared it to cheap ones.


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