Manduka PRO Yoga Mat Review

A high-quality PVC mat that demands a long-term commitment

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3.2

Manduka PRO Yoga Mat

Manduka PRO Yoga Mat

Verywell Fit / Joy Merrifield 

What We Like
  • Dense and cushiony

  • Stabilizing for balance poses

  • Closed-cell construction keeps mat clean

  • Lifetime warranty

What We Don't Like
  • Heavy

  • Very slippery 

  • Long break-in process

Bottom Line

Getting Manduka’s PRO Yoga Mat from slippery hazard to perfectly broken in may be too much work for a casual yogi, but the luxurious density and a lifetime of use are at the end of the rainbow.

3.2

Manduka PRO Yoga Mat

Manduka PRO Yoga Mat

Verywell Fit / Joy Merrifield 

For yogis who are ready to level up their practice to the majors, the Manduka PRO Yoga Mat may be the last mat they’ll ever have to buy. I’d heard that this was the “Taj Mahal” of yoga mats from my instructor friends—Manduka seems to have coined this term itself—and I was curious to see what that could possibly mean. Could this be the mat that got me into a handstand? Read on to find out.

Manduka PRO Yoga Mat
Verywell Fit / Joy Merrifield 

Grip: What grip?

When you buy a new Manduka PRO Mat, the mat you come home with is not exactly the mat you’ve just paid serious money for. That legendary mat, the “Taj Mahal of mats,” comes at a later point, once you’ve had a chance to break it in. It’s going to take a lot of crow poses to get her there, though. When new, the hefty, closed-cell PVC has almost no grip whatsoever.  

While the ideal “breaking in” is done with heavy use, Manduka includes instructions for how to fast-track the process with a salt rub. I covered the mat in coarse salt and let it sit for 24 hours before removing it with a damp cloth, as directed. Manduka says that you can repeat as needed, but how much labor should a consumer be expected to put into a new, expensive yoga mat to get it into usable shape? Could Manduka maybe have done some of this work?

It takes time to break in the PRO—casual yogis proceed with caution.

I proceeded to my first power yoga class after only one salt rub, but I regretted it immediately. The mat was so slippery, it was unusable without a towel at both the head and foot of the mat. Once my hands and feet started to sweat, it felt dangerous, even with the towels. I couldn’t wait for class to be over. Could just a few more salt rubs really make this tenable? 

For my review, I begrudgingly practiced on the mat five more times, and the slipping never improved. Maybe my expectations were too high from the outset, but I was really surprised by the total lack of traction. I’ve heard that it takes time to break in the PRO—a lot more time than six sessions—but that once it’s been broken in, it’s sticky, grippy bliss. To a more casual yogi, that feels like a lot of diligence to ask for with a slippery mat, but I guess “pro” is in the name. Casual yogis proceed with caution.

Manduka PRO Yoga Mat
Verywell Fit / Joy Merrifield

Comfort: Thick, stable, and super dense

What the Manduka PRO lacks in traction right out of the gate, it makes up for in high-density, comfortable support. Of all the mats I reviewed, the PRO had the highest stability-to-comfort ratio, overall. The 6 millimeters of padding cushioned without compressing, so it was great for poses that typically put a lot of pressure on the elbows and knees. I also felt very secure in standing poses that didn’t use oppositional force, like dancer and eagle pose.

What the Manduka PRO lacks in traction right out of the gate, it makes up for in high-density, comfortable support.

Portability: It’s no lightweight

Lugging around the 71-inch mat all day made me glad I hadn’t gone for the 85-inch version. Really. At 7.5 pounds of firm, 6-millimeters-thick PVC, the 71-inch mat begs to be stored at a studio, used at home, or at the very least chauffeured around in a car. And the 85-inch mat is 2 pounds heavier!

Lugging around the 71-inch mat all day made me glad I hadn’t gone for the 85-inch version.

Durability: Good for a lifetime 

Designed and guaranteed to last a lifetime, I give the PRO highest marks for durability. It’s guaranteed not to flake, fade, or peel with time, normal use, normal abuse, and regular salt rubs. When you’re instructed to beat something up before use, it’s a pretty sure sign that it’s not going to fall apart quickly. My friend who’s taught yoga on this mat for years says hers still looks and performs like new. 

A word about using PVC in yoga mats: PVC doesn’t biodegrade in landfills, and it can be notoriously difficult, and even ecologically harmful, to recycle. Though PVC isn’t an ideal earth-friendly material, by building a mat to last a lifetime, Manduka aims to reduce overall consumption and waste. There are certainly more earth-friendly materials you can make yoga mats from, such as sustainably sourced rubber or cork, but they aren’t usually as durable. 

It’s also worth noting that this mat is latex-free and OEKO-TEX-certified, meaning it contains no harmful chemicals.

Manduka PRO Yoga Mat
Verywell Fit / Joy Merrifield

Ease of Cleaning: Wipe, but don’t get wet

The closed-cell construction keeps the mat from taking on moisture and bacteria, but you’ll still need to clean the mat often—ideally after every use. Manduka recommends that you spray the mat with a yoga wash after practice, wipe it with a damp cloth, and allow it to air dry before rolling it back up. Soaking, submerging, or even showering the PRO may damage it and void the lifetime warranty, so remember to bring your mat in from the porch if the clouds roll in. 

Price: A serious investment for a serious mat

The Taj Mahal of yoga mats isn’t going to come cheap. At around $120, this mat is a pretty serious investment in your yoga practice. It’s dense, very well-made, and guaranteed to last a lifetime. 

But if you aren’t prepared to put the time into working with it and breaking it in, you aren’t going to get a great return on your investment. The casual yogi, or even a semi-pro with sweatier hands, is just going to get frustrated with all the sliding around. 

Competition: Manduka PRO vs. Manduka GRP

Manduka GRP Yoga Mat: Addressing my primary gripe with the PRO mat, the GRP mat from Manduka is designed with a good, immediate grip in mind. It has an upper layer that provides anti-slip control, particularly in sweaty conditions, and a lower charcoal-infused rubber layer that breathes, absorbs, and eliminates odors. The tradeoff for grip is durability, though—the GRP isn’t included in Manduka’s lifetime warranty. 

Final Verdict

Buy it if you’re ready to work.

The Manduka PRO Yoga Mat, like yoga itself, is an exercise in patience and a labor of love. It’s definitely not for everyone, but if you’re willing to put in the time and effort to break it in, the PRO may be the last yoga mat you ever buy—and that’s definitely worth a $120 price tag.

Specs

  • Product Name PRO Yoga Mat
  • Product Brand Manduka
  • Price $120.00
  • Color Black, Bondi Blue, Sea Star, Verve (Red), Waterfall, Black Magic (Purple), Odyssey (Blue), Black Sage (Green)
  • Material PVC (polyvinyl chloride)
  • Thickness 6 mm.
  • Warranty Lifetime guarantee against manufacturer defects or product failure
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