Sunday, 16 May 2010

Manduka prolite ? UPDATE picked up a Prana Eco hmmmm

Has anyone practiced Ashtanga on the Manduka Prolite ? How is it?

I need a travel mat for the Vinyasa Krama TT and can't bare to risk my Black mat. I figure the prolite will be fine for the Vinyasa Krama but I'm bound to want to do a some ashtanga on the side.
I considered some of the other travel mats around but I'm too used to my Manduka, even a light version is going to be traumatic.

Oh, and anyone come across the orange one in the UK or perhaps Europe. The places that seem to sell Manduka online don't seem to have it in that colour. Always wanted an orange mat or towel.

Yes Yes, I know they call it apricot rather than orange but I have issues.

UPDATE: Disaster, I think the Orange (apricot) may have been discontinued. All I want is an Orange Manduka lite, is that too much to ask, yes yes, I know, ruddy non attachment.

I'm guessing though that there's some guy out there who bought the Orange mat, took it to the Shala the next morning and someone said " Oh you bought the Apricot Manduka" whereupon he shoved it in the garage somewhere and bought the manly black mat. If you want to sell the apricot let me know, I can handle it, as a home Ashtangi VK I don't have to worry about Shala shame and besides, nobody knows me in lala land

Manduka has some mat comparisons on their site but for some reason they don't lay the size and weight comparison out in a chart, so I made my own.

Manduka mat size and weight comparison (from Manduka's website)

Black mat pro 7 lb, 71 x 26 x 1/4"
Prolite 4 lb, 71 x 24 x 3/16"
Eko 7 lb, 71 x 26 x 3/16"
Ekolite 3.5 lb, 68 x 24 x 1/8"

Shock horror, I may even visit a Shala while I'm over there. Any suggestions, I'm going to be based around Venice Beach?

UPDATE: Bought a Prana Eco mat.

That's it on the left sitting on top of my Manduka, yes, it is a bit thinner. And yes, it's yellow, or rather Lemon. I'd hunted around and found the orange and brown one in the UK and found it at Detoxyourworld. After it hadn't arrived I chased them up and they told me they had been trying to get hold of me because Prana had stopped making the Orange one and they hadn't updated their website. Passed over that like a good Yogi and asked them if they could get any mat to me by Friday. They sent the Sage and Lemon one 24 hour delivery.

Well it is light, very light actually and it's relatively firm for such a light mat. It's no Manduka but it's comfortable enough on the knees and spine, did feel the floor on my headstand but that was the only posture. Actually it's very comfortable, had a nice Savasana.

The sage looks OK but lemon? Each side has a slightly different texture, the lemon side has the best grip so I'm stuck with lemon. IT felt like I was practicing at the beach, in fact it feels a bit like a beach mat. It's good but compared to the Manduka feels a bit like one of those toy ovens or vacuum cleaners you can get for your kids.

Grip is OK, lasted through to the end of the Marichi's before it became a bit too slippery to jump through, in that sense it's better than the Manduka, it drys as quick as I do too.

On reflection I should have held out for the Manduka Prolite. However, I couldn't justify the expense for a second mat that I would only use a couple of times a year (it's twice as much as the Prana in the UK).

It'll do, it folds up and fits in the suitcase and yet when you take it out rolls back flat. I hear they can start to flake after a couple of months, that's OK as long as it lasts me the course.


  1. bought one at the Asia Yoga Conference today - not used it for mysore yet but worked fine for the classes i took this afternoon

    p.s. they didn't have any orange ones here...

  2. Hi Grimmly,

    I'm Jon from the Philippines. Been following your blog for a while.

    I tried it once. Cushioning is ok, but I find it too narrow.

  3. hi Grimmly
    i have a Manduka travel mat, in addition to the traditional black one. it weighs 8 lbs instead of 10 lbs. i used to use it for daily practice in the shala in SF, but i used to put another mat underneath. so it's not sufficiently cushy but does the job. i think you said earlier that you would take both, one for the shala and one for the hotel room.

    are you going to be with or without a car? if memory serves me right, Santa Monica is not so far away from Venice Beach and Santa Monica is where Owl used to practice. although there is a new metro line in LA, cars are essential to getting around there, because the distances are so great in the city.


  4. Nice coincidence HKS, let me know how it holds up for Mysore.
    Hi Jon. thanks for commenting, is it narrower than the regular manduka, must check that out. I hear the Jade Revolution mat is extra wide.

    Only 2lb lighter Arturo? i assumed it would be more than that, it's annoying that more sites don't mention the weight, must check manduka's own site. I thought about taking two mats but I'm going to be on campus so not a big deal taking it back and forth.

    No I won't have a car. As I said, i'll be on campus and the course is 8:30-6pm Mon-Fri, probably not going to see much of LA. There are a couple of days off around 4th july though.

    Three days free in LA, what to do, what to do?

  5. The first "high end" mat I bought was their purplelite and now use it for weekend travel as I store my eKo at the shala. Of the two, definitely prefer the eKo find it a little denser. imho.

  6. i bought the manduka ekolite for a trip to india. 3.5 lbs as opposed to the 7 of the heavy black. i chose it because is was at the time, the lightest of the manduka mats. i LOVE it. it folded up nice and tiny to shove it into my luggage, but it was also substantial enough to feel comfy on the stone floors of shala or at the flat. on a wood floor it is plenty comfortable.
    it is more narrow than the heavy mat. but because it is not as thick,it doesn't feel wierd to have fingers off the sides a little in down dog.
    i have not travelled anywhere with the heavy mat since getting the ekolite. lent it to a friend for a trip to hong kong and she loved it too.

  7. grimmly, I have the purple travel lite and I love it. I've had it for at least two years (I'd have to check old, angst-filled blog posts to pinpoint the exact date). It doesn't show any signs of wear, except that it's dirty--ugh. Get one!

  8. oh, and the travel mat is only about 4 pounds--not 8, and I find it sufficiently cushy but also nice and firm. Don't usually disagree with Arturo, but I'm going to on this one.

  9. Stone and wood floors are good endorsements Anon. It would need to be a lite Portside and i think the Ekolite might be a little too .... lite.
    Thanks Dana and of course when i bring it back I'll have two then I could get a dog and we could practice dogoga together ; )

  10. same anon, i weigh 155lbs. the ekolite was definitely not to lite for me :)

  11. I've had the ProLite mat (formerly known as the Manduka PurpleLite Travel Mat) since it came out, and it's still holding up well nearly a decade later. It's heavier than a regular sticky mat, but not as heavy as the one formerly known as the Manduka Black Mat. It's GREAT for ashtanga; dense with just the right amount of cushion. If I could only have one mat, this would be it.

  12. i'm with CK--that's what i've got and I love it. And yes, you could do yoga with your dog and help make that heart connection. I think opening a can of food would also have the same effect.

  13. my dog tends to get a bit freaked out when I practise at home. He seems to think that all the jumping around indicates play time and more often than not pounces on me mid pose or something...

    Back to the original post, having been using a super thin Prana mat for the past few years the new manduka feels like cushioned luxury to me

  14. Have you taken a look at 'Jade' mats? They're not heavy (but not super-light) but, heck, it's like practicing on fly paper; fantastic for working your up-dogs. I used a heavy black Manduka at home, travelled with an Eco mat and now I'm counting the days until my mate brings over a new Jade mat for me (can't get them here in Thailand). Apparently they're all the rage at my old shala in London. Expensive though, but then quality costs.

  15. HKS, the dog reference to Dana;s post, she came across something on yoga for dogs.

    Only seen the Jade mats online, the extra wide Revolution sounds interesting, wonder if Manduka are considering a wider mat. Not sure how it would go down in a shala turning up with such a wide mat and besides, I'm trying to bring my hands in closer for the straight leg jump through.

  16. Two very close friends of mine run a yoga studio in Santa Monica that is probably do-able by bus from Venice. PM me at sonyalee9 at gmail dot com and I can give you the scoop. The studio where Owl used to practice is pretty traditional ashtanga (some really great vinyasa teachers there if you're interested though) but my friends are a lot less traditional if that's what you'd prefer. Let me know.

  17. Jade mats fall apart. Took me only about three months to destroy one.

  18. me, once again. can you FOLD the purple/prolite into a weeeeee little package that crams into your luggage??? if so, than go for it, but if not...ekolite ekolite ekolite!

  19. Hey Grimmly
    I'm looking for a travel mat too, and looked up the Jade website. They have orange mats!!

    Thought you might like to know ... :)

  20. C.K., was it the Jade 'Fusion' (the thicker, 5/16" one) that fell apart on you? I've only heard great things about this, so I hope not.

  21. i once owned a store and sold the jade. would never do it again. not meant for a practice with vinyasa. any weight of that mat fell apart. and the company was not easy to deal with.

  22. ProLite is what I use for travel. It works.

    LA with no car is like London with no feet. But if you find a kind soul with wheels you could try Ashtanga Yoga LA ( On second thought the yoga "scene" in Santa Monica might be more entertaining .... Bryan Kest? Shiva Rea? Seane Corn, perhaps?

  23. Steve - It was back when there was one single plain Jade.

    You'll find out in time....

  24. Thanks LI, mail on it's way be good to have some options. kind of wanted to pop up to Spirit rock or see SF, haven't been there since I was four but seems silly to go somewhere else and not see any of LA. Perhaps I should throw a post up on what to do in LA if you have three days.

    Spent quite a bit of time in the States in my youth Rene, hitched around a lot of it, even sold a cleaner door to door in the midwest, do remember how important a car was in the cities. Tempted to head down to Encinitas but just looked it up on googlemap, following the coastline down, damn but California is big, how much coast does a State need.

    Some Trad Ashtanga would be OK too, I suspect I'm perhaps more traditional than some might think but we'll keep that quiet. but then of course i'd be hunting for the best tiger skin to bounce up and down on, tiger's are kind of orange,no?

    Hope your new Jade turns out to be OK Steve, sure the new ones are fine. I saw that Susiegb and was tempted but I love my Manduka. if i can't get hold of an orange one I might go for the Red one (pinot).

    Oh the orange manduka is featured in Kino's photos of the Tim miller workshop on FB

    Shiva Rea, all that swaying, I don't think so and associating bootcamp with yoga put me off Brian Kest (though I'm sure i'd secretly love it). Just looked at Seane Corn's website, all the talking the glamour, don't think I couldn't handle a led class. One of the things I do love about Ashtanga is the lack of talking, most you get in led ashtanga is counting to ten, that feels like more than enough for me.

  25. Thanks Grimmly, I'm sure the Jade will do me just fine. If I see any signs of excessive wear, I'll just use it when I'm focussing on a posture that benefits from it's super stickiness.

    Good luck with your quest for the Orange Manduka. That sounds just great for a stint in Orange County. I guess you've tried yogamatters and the mail order place up in Edinburgh right?

  26. Krishnamacharya didnt need one, you should toss the manduka and get back to basics grim. Creating a dependancy on every new product that comes out can only take away from your practise.

  27. I checked Yoga mad and yoga shop but they don't have them. The couple of places over here who do sell Manduka add on an extra 20-30 quid and they don't have orange.

    Hi Shaf. In his Yoga Makaranda, Krishnamacharya says you should lay down some fresh grass (cushioning?) then a deer or tiger skin (tiger clearly being the equivalent of the manduka) and then a white cotton cloth over that (he even uses a yoga towel : ) I have a picture of him sitting in a chair with a very attractive deer skin thrown over the back.
    Does it distract from my practice, well for the first couple of weeks after I bought the black Manduka i caught myself thinking 'this is a damned fine mat' but it passed. I'm sure i'll think something similar when the little orange beauty comes my way.

    You get I'm only half serious in this post right? However I do think the Manduka has been good for my knees (I've had operations and am particularly protective of them. I noticed a big difference when I got it and that's the main reason i want to stay with Manduka, I just trust it. I need something lighter to travel with but i still want to be kind to my knees.

    And I like Orange!

  28. hi Grim
    Dana maybe right. they have renamed the line slightly. i was relying on memory as to the weight. maybe it's the eko that is about 8lbs, not sure. i have an eKo also, but i did not fall in love with it. it's in storage in SF. i don't think it's the eKo mat i didn't like, but the new thin towel for practice that they "engineered" that i bought at the same time. i find that a traditional mysore rug is better cushion that the techno thin towel. but you're not asking about that. i would take the biggest you can carry comfortably.

    what to do in LA? a must is the Getty Museum. you'll think you're in Hadrian's Villa because it's inspired by it. The Getty Villa is also fun, totally different although funding for both came from the same place. But the villa is in Malibu. The Museum is more accessible to you. You should visit Holleewood, of course, and you can get there easily with the new metro. Oh, and you should go downtown and see the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, catty corner from Disney Hall, which is curving like the Bilbao Museum. You can take a self guided architectural tour of the Disney any time. You could walk around Melrose avenue and see a lot of fun shopping areas and hang out around the Kodak Center in Hollywood.


  29. So make your own 'tiger manduka' or whatever you like instead of contributing to the industry that yoga is becoming.

    As yogis we have a duty to be mindful of big business and its effect on something as personal as yoga.

    What next shalas being sponsored by manduka or jade or whoever

  30. Ahhhh, I see what you mean Shaf you've got a point of course though I disagree. None of that is yoga, I don't think any of it matters. Yoga championships, superstar yogi's, branding, fancy yoga clothes and books galore. You say it yourself, 'something as personal as yoga'.

    it is personal, just comes down to a sincerity of practice, you and your mat or old bath towel, which is what I started on. The other stuff might help with motivation occasionally and perhaps inspiration, might keep you going back to the mat long enough to start seeing there are other aspects to the practice.

    But so what if you don't. Who are you hurting if you do just practice in fancy yoga branded duds on posh mats in designer studios with the aim of gaining a hot body.

    We take it all so seriously such that it takes over our lives, what we eat, what time we go to bed how we behave in our day to day lives, our relationships and then ruin it all by looking down on those who are just having some fun on a mat a couple of times a week or judge those who cater for them.

    Of course there is an industry, there are millions of us doing some form of yoga now and most practice a couple of times a week for fun and a little exercise.

    I'll say it again the yoga industry has got nothing to do with yoga, that happens on your mat.

    And as for the studio's same thing. I was looking at pictures of Pure in NYC, amazing place but again, ultimately you end up in a hot, sweaty, smelly room doing your thing and all that matters is what happens in that 6x2 foot stretch of rubber.

    Ashtangi's practice six days a week jumping up and down for two hours, I think a decent mat is essential to protect our joints, just as Krishnamacharya thought it important to put fresh grass under your deer skin

    Don't you think most of those big yoga companies just want to make good stuff, mats you don't have to throw away every year, or clothes that don't cut you in half and to survive they have to promote and protect their brand. I'd rather they did that than make big macs or marlboroughs.

    And as for the money men who don't give a damn about the product, so what, they're just feeding their kids, making a living. Got enough to be mindful about keeping my breath steady in Karanda

  31. Clarity of thought is key when writing long comments otherwise confusion arises. I could rabbit on about everything under the sun but i cant be bothered.

    Dude, the point is its not an issue if manduka or jade choose to use your blog as an advertising tool.

    It becomes interesting when manduka or jade use your blog as an advertising tool whilst you are going off to get your 'heavy duty' TT by Ramaswami with x no of hours of yoga sutra 'worship'

    Just seems a bit confused to me.

  32. Just looked again at my post and I guess it does look like an advertisement, I've got pictures and even a size comparison chart (which I made myself btw because they don't have one on their site). And it's true they did send me a free towel when I (half jokingly) complained here that the one I bought wasn't a manly enough color which was, I suppose, good PR on their part but hardly counts as them using my blog as an advertising tool. It's not like I'm Kino or Swenson (who now has his own mat I believe) or some super famous yogi superstar, it's just a blog Shaf. Possibly a handful of people have read my Manduka review and been swayed from a yogitoes to an equa (although I recommended to Ryan last week that he go for the yogitoes rather than the equa because grip was more important to him in standing than jumping through) but that hardly makes me Don Draper.

    What I find amusing is that I've probably had more comments here than almost any other post, clearly we love our mats and the chance to talk about them. I remember Elsie writing a post about her 'old blue' on Mysore musing, loved that post.

  33. I'll most likely get one myself when im ready for one

  34. thanks Arturo, will google them all and check them out.

  35. My shala mat is an eko and I love it but I have tried the ekolite and it's not cushiony enough for me. Just got a purple lite for a weeklong trip and I loved it as much as the heavier mat. Less than 4 lbs but really feels like a manduka. Much better. Manduka gives weights and dimensions of all the mats on their website.

  36. Looks like there might be an orange-y eko lite ("ember")

  37. Anon are you sure you dont work for manduka???

  38. Works real late if he/she does.

    Looked at the ember Anon, thanks for that. Bit worried about the Eko, I think Skipperty bought one a while back but found it flaked after a few weeks. Probably why I want to stay with the Pro doesn't look any different from the day I got it after two years practice. plus I may want to practice outside, I know my black mat is fine with that, not going to get soggy from the early morning dew. Do they get dew in California?

  39. I don't know, if this is still relevant for you, but you can get the prolite in abricot from

    I have bought a prolite from this site and I really love it. I have the black mat at home. I don't feel any difference in terms of thickness other than I make less noise on the black mat, which is nice at home. The prolite is more narrow, but when you are on the go, it's nice to have a mat that roles up easily.



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from Kalama sutra, translation from the Pali by Bhikkhu Bodhi This blog included. "So, as I said, Kalamas: 'Don't go by reports, by legends, by traditions, by scripture, by logical conjecture, by inference, by analogies, by agreement through pondering views, by probability, or by the thought, "This contemplative is our teacher." When you know for yourselves that, "These qualities are unskillful; these qualities are blameworthy; these qualities are criticized by the wise; these qualities, when adopted & carried out, lead to harm & to suffering" — then you should abandon them.' Thus was it said. And in reference to this was it said.

"Now, Kalamas, don't go by reports, by legends, by traditions, by scripture, by logical conjecture, by inference, by analogies, by agreement through pondering views, by probability, or by the thought, 'This contemplative is our teacher.' When you know for yourselves that, 'These qualities are skillful; these qualities are blameless; these qualities are praised by the wise; these qualities, when adopted & carried out, lead to welfare & to happiness' — then you should enter & remain in them. Buddha - Kalama Sutta