On my quest to find the perfect mat for my practice I felt a little bit like “Goldilocks and the Three Bears,” this one’s too thin, that one’s too slippery. I get lot of questions about which mat is best, so I thought I’d share with you what I’ve learned in the hope that maybe you’ll be able to find the one that’s juuussst right!
1. Align Ultra Mat by Lululemon $28 CAD-
This mat gets a lot of flack in the reviews online, some are downright shocking! As someone who does everything from hot yoga/Pilates, regular-temp yoga/Pilates, and simple stretching on my mat, I have to admit I find the surface a bit slippery. For Pilates in particular this mat can also be slightly thin, especially when doing side-lying exercises for example. This factor however, also makes this mat light-weight and easy to carry around using a simple strap. An added bonus, this mat comes in several fun colors! Overall I think this mat is a great bang for your buck and works great for most activities, but works best when paired with a towel for extra grip or cushioning if needed.
2. Dual-Sided Yoga Mat by Nike $30 CAD-
I personally used this mat for a long time. It’s thin, light-weight, and it even comes with it’s own strap for carrying. This mat has a textured surface, which makes downward dog a lot easier yoga class. For Pilates however, this mat is pretty much useless. This mat is far too thin for classic Pilates exercises such as abdominal curls, or rolling like a ball, and is about as good as lying on the cold hard studio floor. So although the price point is good, the Dual-Sided Mat by Nike is not exactly a multi-functional mat. I’m sad to say I’ve ditched this mat since I started doing more Pilates.
3. The Mat by Lululemon $68 CAD-
One of my frequent Pilates clients started using this mat about six months ago and was nice enough to share her thoughts. This mat is substantially thicker than most, but this also means it’s substantially heavier than most as well. It does help for extra cushioning, but the slick top coating makes it tough to grip in hot yoga. She recently let me test this mat out, and maybe I’m being too picky, but it had a very pungent rubber smell. Even after several uses and cleaning the scent was still strong like a tire yard on a hot day, I don’t know about you, but the last thing I want to do is get a whiff of that each time I lower into Chaturanga! Overall both my client and I agreed that this mat was not really worth the price between the scent and heaviness of the material.
4. Deluxe Pilates Mat by Stott Pilates $69.95 US-
Ok, so maybe this selection is a little bias because Pilates is my main steez, but hey. So this is the Deluxe Pilates Mat, and the name really speaks for itself. If you’re invested in a consistent Pilates practice this is a great mat to own. It’s got all the cushioning you could ask for to support even the boniest hips, but is made of light-weight foam so it’s not hard to lug around. Admittedly these are not the best mats for yoga because all that cushioning is not such a positive thing under wrists and ankles in most poses.
So there you have it! Whichever mat you choose make sure it really fits YOUR needs, and know that you may have to try a few before finding the one that works best. Once you’ve found the blissful support from the right mat it can be a sacred place where success and growth can occur.
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