Some of my favourite Yoga mats.
I took my first class in 1993 after I received a yoga class as a birthday gift and I just never stopped. Even though I didn’t consider becoming a teacher until 20 years later, yoga became incredibly important to me pretty immediately. At the time of my first experiences with yoga I was working in a gym as an aerobics instructor while I attended Tafe preparing for Uni. Yoga was left field to the area (small town New Zealand) we had one yoga studio in the entire region and it really was just a room, nothing special at all. We would all rock up with only a towel to practice on as there was nothing else available, I'm not even sure there were yoga mats that could be purchased! The gym eventually imported a handful of yoga mats from the UK and that’s where it all began. They were inches thick and smelly but considered very fancy! Many people bought their own and modified them, attaching material or non-slip options to one side or both!
Once the concept had been initiated, people tailored what they could find. There were no top notch high grip manufactured yoga mats, only serious practitioner thigh grip and meticulous anti-slip consciousness for us. However, if you happened to be handy on the sewing machine, home creations became very sought after and people paid top dollar.
I’ve moved through a few styles and come in and out of a couple of studios along the way as I moved towns to go to Uni and then country in search of a new life.
When I first arrived in Australia in 1998 there was no possibility of going to a studio but I found Australia had the most incredible early morning Yoga TV that was amazing! Well ahead of it's time I thought. NZ had nothing like this! It my staple for almost 6 months until I was able to settle into a new home and suburb and find a local Bikram studio in Brisbane which I fully embraced.
From honest experience I can tell you a mat is not essential to practice, especially if you're attuned to a home practice which I had to learn to be ok with. However, it is vital in a studio environment and now even more important as we ensure all of our sweat, smells and otherwise goes right back home with us rolled up in mats and towels. No more mats hanging on ballet bars in studios, where other students put their hands during class. Sanitary options are now essential for even our mat choices! Easy clean and sanitised are also of high regard.
I get asked my favourite yoga mats often, I’m no expert, in fact I have made many mistakes
along the way and given many mats away when they haven’t worked for me. MANY! But here goes.
I don’t have a list in order of preference but this mat will likely always be my number one if I had to put them in order. I’ve never been disappointed, It’s simple, it’s clean, it’s the best grip I have felt, it has alignment marking for your feet and hands and the thickness is perfect. There are many positives to this mat that I personally attest to and have recommended to anyone who asks me since my very first purchase perhaps 7 years ago now.
There are also a few negatives that come with the territory of rubber surface mats, (not specific to Liforme). They can’t be left in the hot room to dry (this is important) - not that we would do that anyway and share our germs with others now-a-days! But the rubber can’t dry that way or it slowly breaks down. To clean, I hose down once every couple of weeks and hang over our pool fence, UPSIDE DOWN so that the rubber sealed surface is not touched by the sunlight either otherwise the surface cracks and becomes porous.
Liforme can also be pretty hard to get your hands on, being produced in the UK we need to either find local supply or import - reach out to me if you want to know more as I have some contacts :) They are also expensive, but as long as you look after it, it will last and is totally worth the cost.
I’ve owned a few Maduka over the years, each one worthy of purchasing another. I think over the last 15 years I’ve probably owned this mat for the longest and gone back to it when I can’t decide what to buy because I know it’s good and I can find them easily.
A staple and one I know many use religiously so it’s worth pointing out.
I personally have not owned this mat but my husband swears by it so I wanted to add it in, they have a large size which is great for longer or wider bodies. It also has the rubber surface like the Liforme but is much more affordable and easy to get your hands on.
A super light weight, durable and eco friendly mat that I use when I’m not practicing in the heat, it’s a really nice earthy texture and equally earthy smell that is easy to keep clean and also great for travel as it can be folded! It fits beautifully in the bottom of my large suitcase folded in 3rds unlike others that need rolled so it takes up less room! I travel quite a bit for work and I still keep this mat just for travel as it’s also light weight.
A great addition and affordable too.
Fritz and Lola
A local product which is always a huge selling point these are mats we stock in the Shala. A beautiful soft finish surface or fibre weave. They are super stylish with colourful imaginative patterns, great for all styles and also, similar to Lululemon have a larger size option available too!
A Thousand Temples
Another locally created mat with images of local landscapes and Bali influenced patterns these are a newer addition to the Shala stock but also a great option for all styles in the room. Check out the stock we keep on site to see if they’re for you.
And as always reach out if you need more info :) x