do i need an expensive yoga mat

Someone searched for this topic and since I responded to Emma’s email at the time I was on hiatus, I thought of posting now my reply to her. Emma’s is not the first query I received on yoga mats. Seems like buying a yoga mat is such a big deal to yoga practitioners. And why not? Yoga mats are expensive! And oh yes, they are crucial to one’s practice. I’m copying here my reply (with revised prices this time), in case someone out there intends to buy a new yoga mat.


The choice of yoga mat indeed depends on your physical traits, as well as on the demand of your practice / yoga style. I sweat like a pig that’s why I needed a really sticky mat so I wouldn’t slip…until I changed yoga style from vinyasa to ashtanga. Unlike before, I am now allowed to roll out my yoga towel at the start of the practice so there’s no more need for sticky mat. Yoga towel gives me the traction/grip that I need. And because of yoga towels, it doesn’t matter to me anymore whether the mat is absorbent or not. By the way, the use of towels has extended the useful life of my mat! 😉 And since we do a lot of jumping in ashtanga, cushion is now my primary criterion in choosing a mat that’s why I use the 1/4″ type…and of course, durability counts because mats are expensive! 

Here’s my matealogy (mat genealogy) in chronological order of use:

1. Toby’s generic yoga mat (good as a beginner’s mat, for those who are not yet sure whether they’ll make yoga a fad or a lifestyle)   – Php300, my very first mat, lasted for 6 months, torn and thrown away.

2. Gaiam Bamboo 1/8″ – $20 or Php1,000 lasted for a little over a year before I converted it into a bath mat, served another year as such. Now torn and thrown away.

3. Gaiam 1/4″ Bright Stripes – $30 or Php1,500 partially worn out but still okay, I still use this for home practice.

4. Wai Lana Hibiscus 1/8″ – $17 or Php850, wore out easily, our new bath mat.

5. Manduka Eko Mat (moss) – $75 or Php3,750, felt like an asphalt road when I did downdog so I gave it away…however, the recipient loves it so much that he has used it since in place of his Manduka Pro. Different preferences. One thing I can say is that Manduka is super durable. Not a single tear after using it for months.

6. Brandless 1/4″ yoga mat from eBay – $12 or Php600 got this from my sister who stopped doing yoga when she got pregnant…I use this during our private class, now parked in my yogini-friend’s home studio.

7. Brandless 1/4″ yoga mat from Watson’s – free for every Php300 worth of purchase (I think; I got this two years ago but am using it only now) – I use this mat at the studio.

So now, I am using three mats–one at home, one for our private, and another at the studio–only one is branded, all of them are 1/4″. More critical to my practice now is the yoga towel.

Aquazorb or Yogitoes? Buy Filipino! 😉


13 thoughts on “do i need an expensive yoga mat

  1. hi po!

    I’m also using the wai-lana mat ung plain lang.. medyo bago palang kala im not sure how long sya tatagal.. hoping to use it this month! 🙂

    • Using yoga towel or rug really helps extend the life of a mat. And so does cutting your toenails. Seriously. Thus my commitment to yoga marked the end of my kikay days. Even my fingernails I couldn’t grow long anymore as I used to cut my fingers with my long, polished nails when I bound. “Cut your nails or cut your fingers,” yoga teacher said. Sigh. 😉

      Enjoy your practice! Namaste.

      • thanks po! i’m excited but a bit nervous but knowing people like you inspire me! it’s nice that there are people you haven’t even met and has the same desire like you do. =)

        hope to meet you soon sweet soul! 🙂

  2. So excited! Just got my Manduka eKO today! unfortunately, it’ll be a few days before I can give it a thorough test run with a full practice. Did a few downward dogs to get a feel of it though and am loving it so far! It’s so soft, protective and luxurious kaya, Chona. Haha now I’m wondering how soft your 1/4″ mats must be to make you compare the eKO to EDSA.

  3. …and the cutting of the finger and toe nails seriously makes a big difference, especially when jumping through and binding in Supta Kurmasana.

    I’ll be back at the shala starting this week, hope to see you soon!

    • Yes, hope to see you soon, Avril! Joel and I were just talking about you last Saturday, we both haven’t seen you since you came back. About the yoga mat, consider this: mas mabigat ako sa ‘yo kaya I need more cushion , ha ha! 😀

  4. i signed up po sa Yoga Manila.. just started last saturday. 😀 I hope i can attend the class on wed kaya lang I have cramps on my thighs 😦

    • were you in front row, right side of the studio facing the windows? 😉

      how bad is you cramp? got that from yoga? hope to see you on wednesday 😀

  5. yes.. im the one with the eyeglasses.. nahiya me kasi i thought i was late and i’m so nervous to look at the back kasi everyone is focus with their poses. so are you’re there? hehehe. for the cramps.. yes. from Surya A & B.. medyo less ng ung cramps pero pag nag bend ako eh medyo masakit. i guess I have to endure it. Hope to see you tomorrow. kakatuwa naman! 🙂

    • Ok lang yan…thighs palang e, he he 😉 Kidding! Numb pain, discomfort, they’re normal. And the way to overcome them is to get moving. There’s a scientific explanation for that which has to do with acid build-up but I’m no authority in that area.

      Sorry, change of plan. I won’t be there tomorrow. Will do self-practice. Have fun!

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