A yoga mat that lasts seven years (and counting) is worth writing about. Back in 2012 I was looking for a new yoga mat, specifically a thick yoga mat that would be gentle on my knees and joints. In this Manduka Black Mat PRO review I’ll share why a $100 yoga mat is completely worth the investment.
Prior to owning the Manduka Black Mat PRO, I had heard of the mat through other bloggers and from seeing other yogis practice using this mat at the studio. I knew that if I were going to upgrade soon it would be this mat. I had heard rave reviews about this mat, and even heard the Manduka Black Mat PRO described as the best yoga mat out there, even with a lifetime guarantee to back it up.
Manduka Black Mat PRO
About the Manduka Black Mat PRO
This particular mat is a best-seller, although Manduka also produces thinner mats, travel mats and various yoga accessories. Many yoga studios sell Manduka products, and they can be purchased online.
Additionally, the Black Mat PRO has “unmatched” cushion and quality – again that was a huge selling point for me I was hard-pressed to find any other yoga mat this thick and supportive! The Manduka PRO is 6mm thick. The Black Mat PRO celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2017 so that means this mat has held true over the test of time for many yogas and remains incredibly popular since its introduction in 1997.
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Thick Yoga Mat
More About Manduka PRO Mat
Over the years it does appear that Manduka has slightly changed the name of this mat, they now call it the Manduka PRO Yoga Mat. In addition you can now purchase this mat in multiple colors! Back in 2012 it was only available in black. You can select from:
- Original Black (this is what I have)
- Teal Stripes (I could see myself buying this color!)
When I purchased this yoga mat, another big selling point was it’s size. It is larger than average yoga mats. Now I’m a petite person but the idea of having a little more space sounded great. Today you can buy the Manduka Black Mat PRO in the standard 71-inch length or the tall length of 85-inches.
The Manduka Black Mat PRO features performance grip texture, a non-slip texture basically to help you grip the mat and hold each pose. In addition it features closed-cell construction which means it’s difficult for bacterial to enter or build up in the mat and it makes cleaning the mat really easy.
Yoga Mat Function
The biggest shock for me was this mat weighs a whopping seven pounds! I have to be careful not to knock anyone over when I throw my mat sling over my shoulder. I wouldn’t recommend this size and weight of mat for anyone who is a commuter or wants a travel mat.
However, for those attending regular practice at their local studio — it’s worth lugging along. The mat I selected is 1/4 inch thick, providing extra cushioning for joints. Thinking about my practice long-term the extra thickness is well worth it.
The Black Mat PRO comes in standard and long lengths. I selected standard, which at 71 inches long is still about two inches longer than my previous yoga mat, and a bit wider. Even though I am petite, with the extra space I haven’t found myself wandering from my mat as much as usual.
Yoga Mat Quality
Only time will truly tell on how long this yoga mat will last, but with the lifetime guarantee, it’s hard to go wrong. The material feels more than durable to me. It’s comforting to find a mat that is promised to last the lifetime of my practice.
Breaking in Your Manduka Black Mat
Personally, I just started practicing with my mat. I didn’t notice any significant break in period but it’s been seven years now so all I can really say for sure is the mat is in great shape and not showing significant wear. Manduka says you can try a simple salt scrub on your Manduka mat to break it in faster if you desire. In order to do this you will need:
Sprinkle the salt on the mat and let it sit or scrub in a circular motion. Let the salt sit for 24-hours. Wipe the salt off using a damp cloth. Then repeat this process two to three times as needed.
Cleaning the Manduka PRO Mat
Cleaning the Manduka Black Mat PRO is easy. I have used Clorox wipes, yoga wipes or even yoga cleaning spray. Manduka makes their own spray (the Manduka’s All-Purpose Mat Wash) if you are interested in that. All have worked well for me. I clean the side I practice on, the bottom and then let the mat air out a bit before rolling it back up.
Manduka does advise against submerging this mat in water as it can break down the mat and ruin the lifetime guarantee. I wrote a full post about how to clean your yoga mat and the importance of cleaning your mat.
Here are Some Cons
I mentioned the size of this mat being larger than normal, well along with that this mat is heavy at 7.5 pounds for the standard size. This is not a good mat if you are biking to yoga class or walking a long distance. I live in a suburban area where I drive to class and only have to walk a short distance into the studio.
Literally this mat is big and heavy like you could possibly use it as a self defense weapon! That being said, I’ve always felt like it’s not so heavy to be a complete burden and I figure I’m getting a little extra workout by carrying the mat – and the tradeoff for comfort during practice is worth it – for me.
Not ready to commit to carry around 7.5 pounds of yoga mat? Manduka offers several high-quality thinner models for your consideration including:
Initially I had to adjust to how I store my yoga mat. For this mat you need to roll it up one way and then secure it with a strap. In the past I had thin yoga mats and would fold them in half, then roll them up so that I always had a top side to practice on and a bottom side facing the ground. You cannot do this with the Black Mat PRO. Lastly, the only other negative I have experienced with this yoga mat is the Manduka logo is coming off.
Mine is older so the logos were a cloth “sticker” placed on the upper corner of the mat. Mine is still affixed but I have to be really careful when I practice and clean my mat not to peel the sticker. I have seen other yogi’s with this mat and their stickers have come off. Manduka thankfully has fixed this issue so if you buy this mat today the logo is printed directly on the mat.
What if You Sweat a Lot?
As with any yoga mat, a popular question is how well does the mat hold up if you sweat a lot? I primarily practice heated vinyasa yoga. For me the mat does fine for these classes. I like using a small hand towel for extra grip and to wipe the mat.
When I took Bikram yoga I needed something a little stronger so I used a towel to cover the entire mat. This could also be helpful if you sweat more during regular classes. If you buy a towel to cover the mat just be sure it fits your Manduka Black Mat PRO because of the larger size of this mat. Some yoga mat towel options include:
How Much Does the Yoga Mat Cost?
The retail price of the Manduka Black Mat PRO yoga mat has gone up it is currently for retail at $120 (and up to $140 if you select a specialty model or pattern). The yoga mat remains under a 5-star Review on the Manduka Website based on nearly 900 reviews. Back in 2012 the mat cost $94. I know the price can be a bit of sticker shock.
I’m a frugal person and talk about tactics to save money on my blog. However, I also believe in buying high-quality items that will last, especially when it comes to items I know I will use frequently and for a long time. If you decide to purchase the mat and want to ease the burden fo the price, consider budgeting for the mat over a few months time.
Manduka Black Mat PRO
As I’ve shared, I’ve now been using the Manduka Black Mat PRO yoga mat for seven years. I have practiced as frequently as three to five times a week using this mat or as infrequently as once a week. I have used the mat at multiple studios and at home. I’ve hauled it in my car as far as downtown. Really the mat has stood the test of time for me.
It remains comfortable and supportive. The initial investment, I admit, seems high but if you think about how often you practice, over time the cost is easily broken down. Additionally, I do not think a price can be put on the additional support this mat provides your joints and body.
Do you have a pricey yoga mat? A toss in your car mat? Or both?
*This post was originally published in 2012 and has been updated and republished for accuracy and comprehensiveness.