We have tried dozens of different mats, in many different materials—natural rubber, TPE, jute, reed, PVC, fabric and even ones that have sand in the material to improve grip. Without question, the Manduka Pro Mat wins every time for overall quality.
In the 12 years of owning our yoga studio, we went through at least four different studio mats. We cut our own from a long roll (that was a fun project), we tried a “classic” mat that’d been on the market for years (didn’t take long before it stunk to high heaven) and replaced that with something else, I don’t remember what…
And then Manduka came along. It was a game changer for many reasons. We used both the Manduka Pro Lite and the Manduka Pro Mat (formerly known as The Black Mat) and students loved them. Although we encouraged students to bring their own mat, they knew that if they forgot theirs at home, we’d provide them with a top-quality studio mat.
And because these mats are made to last we didn’t need to replace them, which saved on our overhead.
It does what a mat should: it’s slip resistant (even when you’re a bit sweaty), provides an excellent, firm surface and has no noticeable odor.
Guaranteed for life: Manduka Pro Mat
This is one of the few yoga mats we’ve found that has a lifetime guarantee…and that’s because they don’t wear out! Seriously.
I bought my first black mat in early 2000 and still use it daily. I’ve had no issues with it moving or slipping on any surface, including beach sand, lava rock, grass, carpet, wood flooring, concrete, marble and linoleum. My black mat has been through it all and it still looks great and functions as it did when I first bought it.
Manduka engineered this mat to survive. It won’t peel, flake, fade or disintegrate. That’s why it backs the Pro Mat with a lifetime guarantee. One reviewer said she was confident her Manduka Pro Mat would outlive her!
But is it made from recycled bottles?
No, the Manduka Pro Mat is PVC, but its manufacturing process is certified emissions-free, so no toxins are released during its creation. The manufacturing process has been certified by Oeko-Tex, an environmental certification agency in Europe. This agency also deemed the mat safe for humans to use. Yay.
If you have a latex allergy you’ll be happy to know that it’s also 100% latex free.
Long enough for super models
One of my favorite features of the Manduka Pro Mat is that it’s wider and longer than a standard yoga mat.
How much bigger?
It’s 26” x 71,” which is about 2” wider and 3” longer than most other mats. That doesn’t sound like much, but it sure feels different when I practice. And I’m not a tall person. Being 5’4” it seems like it wouldn’t be a big plus, but the larger practice space is noticeable and great to have.
And for those of you who are a bit taller they offer a longer version of this mat. Some of the reviews on Amazon were written by yogis my height who had purchased the longer version and loved it. Their feet, head, arms, hands were always on their mat and not extending onto the floor.
If you’re close to six feet tall or taller I’d suggest getting the longer version. Some of my students have and they are so happy that their mat actually fits them.
But how heavy IS this bad boy?
The standard mat (26” x 71”) weighs 7 lbs and the long version (26” x 85”) weighs 9 lbs.
I can hear your chitta vrittis going! You’re thinking, “there’s no way I’m going to haul around a 7 lb mat, much less a 9 lb mat! Are you crazy?” So I’ll share a quick story.
I have a student that is now 83 and has been practicing yoga with me for 11 years. She tried our studio mat (which was the Manduka Pro Mat) and loved it, so she bought one. She’s very petite (but spunky) at 5’1” and she rolls up her Black Mat, zips it in a mat bag, throws it over her shoulder and meets me in the park or at the studio for class. She’s never once mentioned that the mat is heavy. We practice on lots of different surfaces and the mat shines through it all. So stop your whining. �?�
Root down to rise up
This mat is ¼” or 6mm thick, which feels great while you’re on it. And it’s much firmer and denser than the less-expensive, foamy-type mats and provides a great foundation for standing and balancing poses (especially arm balances).
Hit the road, Jack
If you’re going on a short trip and yoga is not your main focus, then this might not be the mat to take with you. Check our other great reviews for a travel mat to use on those shorter trips where your yoga practice is squeezed inside your hotel room.
Regardless of the weight issue, some amazon reviewers said they travel with their Manduka Pro Mat exclusively. It’s worth it and the weight doesn’t bother them. Others said it functions as their home mat or the one they take to the studio, but they travel with a thinner, lighter mat.
Other reviewers had this to say
There are tons of reviews on both Amazon and on Manduka’s website so I thought I’d mention some of their key points to save you a bit of time culling through hundreds of reviews.
This mat stays put! One reviewer loved that the Manduka Pro Mat stayed put and didn’t bunch up when they did a jumpthrough to seated. I’ve had mats do that and it’s pretty distracting, not to mention a bit dangerous (read: face plant!).
Hopping through your arms might not describe your practice, but I’ve seen mats slide on people even in basic standing poses.
It’s unnerving when your mat slides…your lose trust and a sense of security that a mat needs to provide. Sounds like I’m describing a relationship and in a way I am…your relationship with yourself that’s deepened during your yoga practice. Having a solid surface lets your mind and body relax and focus on the play at hand—yoga.
Break it in
Reviewers also said took anywhere from immediately to a few months to get the feel of the Manduka Pro Mat and to achieve that wonderful feeling of being solid and steady on a new mat.
I never noticed a break-in period. My first Black Mat (yes, I have several because I use them with my private clients) felt awesome from the first practice. It was firm, solid, supportive and a great cushion for my knees and head.
TIP: When you roll it up after practicing, roll it with the top facing out so it lays flat once unrolled for your next practice. The weight, size and density of this mat keep it from curling up on you like other mats can do.
And the surface does improve over time. All yoga mats come out of the package with a slight film on the surface that makes the new mat slippery and the Manduka Pro Mat is no exception. If you’re aware of that then you won’t be surprised. Here are a couple very simple ways to get the film off before your first use: How to Make Your New Mat Stickier.
Let’s talk price
The Manduka Pro’s price is a factor for some people. You might not think ANY mat is worth $100. But one reviewer put it in perspective by comparing the Pro’s price to just one of the golf clubs in his bag. Good point. I’m not a golfer, but we all have hobbies that may include gear that is pricey. My indulgent hobbies are cycling (I love my bikes 🚴) and sea kayaking. They both include gear that can really add up, so a $100 yoga mat seems pretty inexpensive, comparatively speaking.
I’m a firm believer that if you love doing something, buy the best gear you can afford. It will improve your “fun factor” and give you years of service.
Another reviewer said he had already trashed three cheap ($30) mats he bought at a local big-box retailer. If he had just bought the Manduka Pro Mat first he wouldn’t be shopping for another replacement mat.
One last hot tip
The Manduka Pro Mat comes in a bunch of pretty colors. These range a little in price, with the Black Mat being the least expensive. One reviewer suggested getting a darker color because the edges of her lighter-colored mat got a bit discolored with use. Since I use the black one I wouldn’t have known that. Good tip.
This might not be your mat if…
It is a pricey mat and that’s something to consider when shopping for a mat. If you’re new to yoga you might want to try one of the other less-expensive mats so you can see if yoga’s gonna be your thing.
If yoga does grab you, then you’d be smart to treat yourself to this mat. In the long run, it ends up being a cost savings. Why buy three cheap mats over a few years’ time when you can just get the best from the beginning?
If the WEIGHT of this mat turns you off, but you like the other wonderful features, then try its lighter cousin—the Manduka PROlite Yoga Mat. With a weight of 4 lbs for the 71″ mat and 5 lbs for the 79″ mat, it’s a great alternative to the Pro.