If you're involved In yoga to any degree, you have most definitely heard about Manduka yoga mats. You may have even owned one or two before. Today, we're taking a look at the Manduka Eko Lite yoga mat to see how it Stacks up for both beginning and professional Yogi's.
There's no doubt in anyone's mind that Manduka is a top producer of yoga mats, clothing, and accessories.
They believe in sustainable materials, use natural rubber in their mats, make all of their products eco and body friendly, and offer exceptional warranties on their products.
They also have an extensive lineup of high-quality mats which can make it hard to choose which is best for both your budget and body. I can tell you that the eKOlite is a great mat, but may not be for everyone. In this post, we'll discuss the pros, cons, and whether or not this is an excellent choice for your yoga practice and style.
Let's jump into the review...
Review of The Manduka eKOlite
Let's start with the specs.
The eKOlite is a dense, natural rubber yoga mat that comes in on the slightly heavy side when compared to PVC and other foam yoga mats. It weighs about 4.5 lbs, which may or may not be a big deal and depends on how far you need to transport your mat. A benefit of the heavier eKOlite mat is that it doesn't curl at the ends when unfolded. It's density and weight help it stay down on the floor, ready for action at all times.
The length is 68," and the width is 24". I wish it were wider because I prefer the extra space on the sides but its not necessary for most people. I'm around 6' tall and my knees will sometimes go off the sides in pigeon and other ground poses. However, the length is perfectly fine for every pose, and I've never had an issue with mats of this length. If you're taller than 6' though, I would recommend the Manduka Pro as its much longer and wider.
Because it's a natural rubber mat, the eKOlite will have a slightly rubbery smell for the first few days, so its recommended to leave it outside for off-gassing.
It's also recommended that you clean the mat when you take it out of the box by wiping it down with a vinegar and water solution to remove the smell even faster.
Keep in mind that this mat is sustainably made and designed to break down in the landfill. So if you leave it outside, keep it out of direct sunlight as this will fade your mat and may cause it to begin breaking down prematurely.
If rubber bothers you or you're sensitive to latex, this may not be the ideal mat in which case I would again recommend the Manduka Pro because its a body-friendly PVC material.
Moving on to performance…
The performance and comfort of this mat are top notch. It's offered in a 3 and 4 mm thickness to accommodate more sensitive joints. This may not sound like a very thick mat, but when you consider that the material is a high-density natural rubber, it cushions as well as a PVC or EVA foam mat that's about 1.5-2x this thickness.
The top has a grippy, rippled surface that works very well in all styles of yoga (except hot yoga but you knew that). If you're doing hot yoga, you'll need a yoga towel to go over your mat. For all other yoga styles, including the more active flow styles, the eKOlite works very well.
While this mat doesn't have all the bells and whistles of a Pro yoga mat, many experienced yogis prefer this version because its thinner and more lightweight. It's also significantly more affordable and an ideal way to breach into the high-end mat category without breaking your bank account.
Overall, if you're considering a yoga mat in this price range, you'll be hard pressed to find a better choice.
Pros of the Manduka eKOlite
- The perfect balance of cushion and floor feeling below.
- The ideal thickness and density which doesn't sink in and interfere with balance.
- Excellent grip with a rippled surface that keeps you firmly in all poses.
- Excellent joint support.
- Offered in 3 mm and 4 mm thickness for those who need more/less cushioning.
- The closed cell surface is easy to clean and doesn't harbor bacteria.
- No PVC or harmful dies.
- Has a slight rubbery smell out of the box, so it's recommended you air it out for a few days before use. Doesn't bother most people but if you're sensitive to rubber smell, you'll want to do this.
- Only offered in the 24" width instead of the wider 26" like the Manduka Pro.
- Slightly heavy weighing around 4.5 pounds.
About Manduka as a Company
Manduka is an excellent company not only because of the quality products that they produce but also because they live the yogi lifestyle through and through.
All of their yoga mats are made from sustainably harvested materials except for the Manduka Pro, which is made from an eco-certified PVC material.
It's still a body friendly material and they do, however, offer a lifetime warranty on this mat, so when yours is finished, you send it in and they reuse your mat for other purposes and send you a new one in its place.
The rest of their yoga mats are made from non-amazon harvested natural rubber. This rubber is designed to break down in the landfill while simultaneously built to last as a yoga mat for a long time. They also use non-AZO dyes, which are both body and environmentally friendly.
It's worth noting that these dyes do fade a little faster than the more harmful dyes, so you don't want to leave your mat in the sun for drying. But as long as you dry it inside or in the shade, you won't have any issues.
Another thing that makes this company great is that they have zero-waste manufacturing.
This is incredibly hard to achieve, but they do it by using all post-industrial scrap in the production of other materials. Overall, this is a great company and one worth supporting for more reasons than one.
What makes an exceptional yoga mat
An outstanding yoga mat is dependent on the individual and their needs. For example, some people require a higher thickness in their mat because they have sensitive joints. Others like more floor feel.
Additionally, the type of yoga you practice can influence the yoga mat you purchase. If you're primarily in hot yoga, then you'll need either a combination yoga mat or a yoga towel to go over your mat.
Once you know those things, it becomes pretty easy to choose a yoga mat. However, choosing one based solely on price is never the best choice. Instead, consider how much cushioning you need, the grip, and the build quality.
With the Manduka eKOlite, this is a great mat that is friendly to your budget BUT its also a very high build quality, medium thickness, dense material and has excellent grip. It's an excellent choice for anyone just starting in yoga and professionals who want a lighter natural rubber yoga mat.
If you have sensitive joints, you're a larger person, and you don't mind a heavier mat, then the Manduka Pro is an ideal choice.
The Manduka eKOlite is a great yoga mat for both beginners and pro yogis. It's an affordable yoga mat, its made from natural rubber, and it performs exceptionally in almost all styles of yoga. Bottom line, if you're shopping for a versatile yoga mat that's easy to carry around and friendly to your budget, this is an excellent choice.