Gear Review: Manduka Stuff!
OK I should preface this by saying that I don't work for Manduka, they didn't pay me to say nice things about their stuff,I bought it all myself because I am a huge yogadork.
As we all know, I love my Manduka pro mat, affectionately known as "The Duke." The Duke and I have had many good times together. I love him a lot, and I pretty much tell everyone that they should buy one. I can't believe people continue to use the nasty sweat-soaked mats we provide in the studio. Maybe people are just not as easily grossed out as me, or maybe they are blind to the fact that practicing yoga on a good mat can be a luxurious experience that elevates your practice about a billion times. But sometimes it's just not feasible to schlep a gigantic seven-pound mat with you.
I never check bags when I fly, but I still am attached to having my own mat with me for going to classes, workshops, or on hotel room floors. So, I ordered a Manduka Eko Super Lite mat for the times when I want to travel lightly! The Eko Super Lite is great. It is super grippy both to a hard floor and to hands or feet (and my hands and feet are always sweaty and prone to slipping). It rolls or folds super small, like a yoga towel, and in spite of the fact that it is natural rubber, it doesn't have the stink of the aforementioned nasty rental mats. It's thin and solid, but you'll likely still need cushion under your knees if you're on a hard floor. Also, practicing on my plush carpet at-home, it got kind of stretchy and wiggly in my lunges. I doubt that would be a problem on industrial-type hotel carpet, and might be avoided if you threw a towel on top.
I also ordered a few small eQua towels. LOVE THEM. I think I actually made my students feel kind of awkward by professing my love for the eQua hot yoga towel before teaching my Hot Vinyasa class. It is like velvet and seems like it is able to mop up infinite amounts of sweat. The regular eQua towels are just as wonderful: super soft, compact, and absorbent. It grips well to The Duke and provides a stickier surface when I get sweaty and slippery. I'll definitely be getting more of these. I toss one in my dance bag, and I think they would be great for travel or any kind of sweaty-time activities. I'll also be getting a full-size eQua for the top of of my mat, too. I feel a little ridiculous getting so excited about towels, but like I said, I'm a huge yogadork.
So, in short, if you want yourself some quality yoga gear that will last you a long time, Manduka has got it going on!