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After I wrote my last post on my research concerning eco-friendly yoga mats, I decided to buy a rubber rather than plastic yoga mat.

While researching rubber mats, I found an enthusiastic review of the PrAna Revolution mat, a mat I hadn’t considered before. The only downside is that it weighs like a baby at 8.8 pounds and costs $90, which is a lot for something without a lifetime guarantee like a Manduka mat. There is a narrower and hence lighter version of it—the PrAna Neo Natural Yoga Mat, which weighs 7.6 pounds and costs only $40.77 if I buy it in hot pink from Amazon. For the other colors, it costs $67.95.

I decided not to get it, because a lightweight mat is important to me. I used to have back pain in college when I carried too many heavy books around town, so now I pack and travel light.

So back to the original contenders: Manduka Eko Lite, which weighs only 3.5 pounds, and the Barefoot Yoga original eco mat, which weighs around 4.5 pounds.

Unfortunately, the Manduka Eko Lite doesn’t seem to hold up well over time when one has a very active vinyasa or ashtanga practice. This comment confirmed my fears that the mat will biodegrade as I am using it:

“This mat isn’t everything I thought it would be after daily, intensive use. And now, about 6 months later, I’ve had to give it up altogether coz it’s started peeling even more and become just like the regular PVC mats with bits of flaky stuff. Then again, I’m a regular ashtangi, so unless you’re doing constant vinyasas and rolling over your toes and jumping through all the time, then I’d say don’t get this mat. Otherwise, if you’re doing a regular hatha or bikram practice, this eko-lite mat should be pretty cool. No break-in period either – it was great after the first wash and extremely grippy right out of the box.”

It seems to be a problem as well for the Barefoot Yoga mat. A reviewer complains about almost instant biodegradation unless one does only ‘gentle yoga’.

All this disintegration talk made me reconsider after all the Manduka Pro Lite yoga mat, especially after I read that all rubber mats are open-cell mats, meaning that they collect sweat and breed bacteria. I so do not want another open-cell yoga mat, since the only reason I am replacing my cheap yoga mat is not for cushioning, environmentally-friendly, or weight reasons. I am getting rid of it because it stinks!

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