Gear Blogger by Michelle Fama
Soul Mats without Slip or SlideJul 16, 2008
Manduka’s New Low-Impact eKO Mat
I thought I met my soul-mat when I plunked down a hundred dollars for Manduka’s original Black Mat many years ago. It is sturdy and like any good relationship has stood by me through various stages of yogic exploration (Bikram, Yogilates, Budokon… oh my!). But it’s made of PVC – a practice profanity these days. After more than 3 years of development, they introduced the greener, eco-friendly eKO Mat.
Claiming to be 100% biodegradable and produced from non-Amazon harvested rubber, the eKO Mat seems to be the leader in “leave no mark” yoga products. Weighing a mere 3. 5 pounds (most mats weight 6 to 7 pounds) it costs less than half the original, is the lil’ gem the eKO Lite (manduka.com; $39.99) which proved to be perfect for my yoga-to go summer travel needs. One note: you’ll lesson the check-in baggage weight and avoid overcharges but when you hit the studio put a rental mat beneath for the lite is not as cushioning for the knees as the standard 5mm thickness of the famously plush Manduka mat. That said, the stickiness is amazing – almost better than the original Black Mat.
Beware and be patient new buyers. The natural rubber eKo reeks at first but disappears for good after a few days of airing it out unfolded. You want to do that outside of the suitcase, though; I packed mine right after buying it and everything from panties to ponchos smelled! After that, the mat will fits nicely in the suitcase, saving space and…the environment.