A while ago I wrote about my search for the perfect sticky mat for in-home yoga practice. I’m still looking, but have a more informed opinion based on further trials. It’s a toss-up between prAna’s Revolution mat and my long-time favorite, the black mat pro from Manduka. Both are top-of-the-line mats designed for serious yoginis who want years of service from their sticky mat.
prAna Revolution Yoga Mat
There’s a lot to like about the Revolution sticky mat, particularly its generous proportions and rock-solid stability (shown here). It’s great for people with broad shoulders and long arms, like me.
I appreciate the fact that prAna worked with John Friend, the founder of the Anusara branch of yoga, to get deep insights into the right balance of features and performance. Its aesthetics are nice too, although the logo placement is a bit odd. In my experience the prAna Revolution mat excels at balance poses that require stability, such as Tree Pose, Crow or the warrior poses.
Now that autumn has arrived in Seattle, I’m less satisfied when it comes to practicing asanas on the Revolution mat: the natural rubber surface often feels cold and clammy under my bare feet. For barefoot practice in a chilly room, I definitely prefer the Manduka Black Mat Pro.
Unfortunately, my hands and feet tend to get sweaty after 30 minutes of practice or so (or even sooner with vigorous vinyasa series), and I don’t find the anti-slip qualities of the Revolution to be effective enough. To manage the problem of slippery hands and feet, I’m forced to use a yoga towel.
I’m also disappointed with the Revolution mat’s cushioning and resilience. It’s less “giving” than I had been led to believe from the online reviews and product descriptions. When doing poses that put weight on finger tips or bony knees, I strongly prefer my Manduka mat. For an hour of asanas, the Manduka offers a better balance of cushioning and stability trade-offs. I also find the Manduka to be less susceptible to slipping when my hands and feet get sweaty – or maybe this is just the consequence of two years’ of usage… The Revolution has had fewer hours of “break-in” time.
For Yoga Classes Away from Home
Both the Revolution and Manduka mats are really heavy to carry to and from class (somewhere in the 7–8 lb. range). I’ve tried both several times. Although they are way better for asanas than the typical mats stocked by yoga studios, they’ll make you work during the transport phase.
If you own the longer mats (the ones sized for tall people), normal mat sacks are too small. As a result you either have to roll and then secure them with straps, or buy an extra-large carrier. (Or look into sewing your own carrying bag, as I plan to do – once I find a suitable fabric.)
I use the 85-inch Manduka sticky mat at home, but find it way too big and heavy to carry back and forth. So I’ve recently purchased the standard 71-inch Manduka mat for use in class and keep it rolled up in my carrier bag. It seems a shame to own more than one yoga mat, but this approach is a workable compromise given the lack of a perfect mat that suits all my requirements.
Net net: the Manduka Black Mat Pro still gets my vote as the best mat for a tall yogini.