While I was waiting for Bear Shark to make his grand entrance, I was gifted a Barefoot Yoga Performance Grip mat to try out. It sat in the packaging for weeks until I escaped from the initial fog of newborn-land, but the last couple weeks, I’ve been taking it to classes and using it at home as I get back into my yoga practice.
I’ve had my Lululemon The Mat for quite a few years now, so that’s become my point of comparison for other mats. The ones we have at home are mostly Gaiam and economical brands found at Target. I wouldn’t call any of those really good for doing more than gentle stretches. But when I got the Barefoot Yoga mat, I could tell by just visual inspection that this isn’t a thin piece of rubber that will end up as another playmat for the kids.
The Performance Grip mat is a nice hefty yoga mat, weighing in at 5 pounds. It’s considerably lighter than my Lulu mat and not nearly as cumbersome either. It lies really nicely (and flat – no curled up edges) on the ground and creates a solid foundation. It’s also 4 mm thick. I like a good thick mat that gives me some cushion without being squishy. I immediately felt supported standing on it.
The smooth side of the mat goes on the floor, and the side with the dot texture is what you practice on. I was pleasantly surprised by the texture. It’s pretty subtle, but it gave my toes a little something extra to hold on to.
One important note is that you need to “prep” the mat before using it as there’s a slick factory layer that needs to come off. I did a gentle wipe with a wet cloth the first time and found my feet were slipping in trikonasana or any wide legged stance. I wrote back to the brand representative about it, and she provided additional information.
Most yoga mats incur a thin residue during their production that can feel slippery when first using the mat. This “factory layer” can be wiped off with a wet rag, or will disappear over a breaking in period. This residue will clean off (it has nowhere to go but off!) when cleaning the mat. Please do not use a cleaning solution that is too soapy or the soap may create another slippery residue.
I went back with a different towel that’s much rougher, wetted it and gave it a good rough scrub. That seemed to do the trick.
Barefoot Yoga touts “no toxic emissions” during the manufacturing process, and that makes my little green heart smile. It’s definitely not a smelly mat, which I appreciated. I remember it took a looooong time for the rubber smell on my Lulu one to wear off; it was almost nauseating.
One thing I haven’t been able to test yet is how the Performance Grip Mat does with sweat. The company claims the mat gets grippier with use and is made for hot and vinyasa classes. Until I can work back up to a full ashtanga or vinyasa practice, I can’t say for sure how it’ll fare.
Overall, I was pretty impressed with this mat. It’s sturdy, and once I scrubbed it a little, my hands and feet had plenty of traction. It retails at $59, which is a great value if you want a thick, heavy duty mat without an overly crazy price tag or the arm workout to lug one around.
So here’s the sweet part of the deal. They gave me a mat to try and review, and they’re giving a lucky winner a mat for free!
To enter, leave a blog post comment with WHAT STYLE OF YOGA YOU PREFER. This one’s mandatory. For extra entries, tweet about the giveaway, Like Finding Drishti on Facebook and follow Finding Drishti & Barefoot Yoga on Twitter. The raffle will go on for a week, and then I’ll pick a winner who will receive a Barefoot Yoga Performance Grip Mat directly from the company.
** Be sure to get credit for your blog comment and social media actions in Rafflecopter below with your email address so I have a way of contacting you if you win! **