Tag Archives: manduka

Product Reviews: Travel

We receive a lot of “yoga related” products to review here at Elephantbeans and just when we think we have seen everything, ten new things pop up.  While there is a lot of useless junk made by companies seeking to bank on the yoga trend (translucent white yoga shorts?), there is also an exciting momentum around engineering more sustainable, durable, and convenient mats, clothes, and more.

While the extra seven plus pounds of mat plus awkward rolled appendage is a small price to pay considering the incredibly unhygenic state of many studio mat rentals, it is nice to have an alternative.

Gaiam Reversible Travel Yoga Mat

At first glance, the Gaiam Reversible Travel Yoga Mat is unconvincing.  It is a super thin cloth similar to a yoga towel or rug but with a slight stickiness so you know it is meant to be used as a mat/towel alternative.  Very skeptical, our review team threw down a mean primary series and even with the bone cracking rolls of garbha pindasana and neck ouching sarvangasana, the mat provided enough padding for an Ashtangi that appreciates a firm surface.

-Great for travel, folds up and is very light
-Absorbs moisture and is easy to clean
-Ideal surface for someone interested in practicing on a firm surface (you can really feel the floor
-Not good for anything that requires extra padding such as the exit vinyasas at the end of intermediate series
-Not sure this would be the right surface if placed on a carpet

The Ashtangites on our team are mostly traditionalists (or maybe just orientalists?) that take an unhealthy pride in their “authentic” cotton Mysore rug usage.  That being said, even the main shala in Mysore is carrying their own rendition of the yoga towel.


Manduka’s eQua Plus Towel

Manduka’s eQua Plus Towel reminded us of a pack towel and when we checked their website, indeed this was listed as an alternative use.  Mat towels are placed on top of your mat or your mat rental.  This towel is lighter and packs up smaller than a cotton Mysore rug, but it is also thinner.  If you want the extra cushioning that a rug provides, look elsewhere.

-Great for travel, folds up and is very light
-Absorbs moisture and is easy to clean
-Possibly not good for anything that requires extra padding such as the exit vinyasas at the end of intermediate series unless you pair it with the classic Black Mat® PRO
-Comes in bright vibrant colors
-The suede-like surface claims to be slip-resistant when moist, however, our reviewer isn’t the super slippy whining type so we can’t varify this
-New coconut technology claims to “spread and evaporate moisture and provide superior odor management by eliminating bacteria”


Where to donate your yoga mat

I recently inherited a brand new manduka eko lite mat…Never tried one before.  Anyway, I don’t really need more than one mat, so the extra has got to go somewhere, but where?

  • Recycle your mat either upcycles your mat or donates it to a community organization to use as is.
  • With The Art of Yoga Project, your mat goes to a yoga + art initiative for at risk teenage girls.
  • The Mind Body Awareness Project is all about giving at risk and incarcerated youth mindfulness training as a tool to transform their everyday lives.  They need yoga mats!
  • Bent on Learning will transform your mat from a yoga mat, to a tent, to a blanket, to a magic carpet, to who knows what else in its many yoga and meditation classes for NYC public school children and youth centers.

Let’s get this list growing!  Where else can one donate one’s mat?

I wanna see your goods (manduka strikes again)

mandukaTotally into Manduka’s new campaign for good news.  Yes it is a way to sell more yoga mats but whatever . . .
Are we so starved for positive vibrations that we rejoice in advertising?  Eeek!

Recycle your mat!

posted by ebean

recycle your matThis is the kind of stuff that makes the elephantbeans jump…

Manduka has teamed up with Recycle Your Mat to offer a 20% discount for mindful peeps that send their old yoga mats to be recycled.  Yay for the discount.  Yay for supporting recycling.  Yay for the people who set up this long overdue project!


The ultimate yoga-enthusiast gift guide

posted by ebean

The ultimate yoga-enthusiast gift guide

1. Yoga mat bag
It’s classic. But make sure they don’t already own, like 10. Try to make it eco-friendly, or handmade, organic, etc. (Try visiting etsy for some really cool stuff that you won’t find at your local Target.)  You’ll get extra points if it the bag has pockets for their clothes, keys, and other belongings. Saka bags are really fab, but they are made in China:(.
2. An eco-friendly yoga mat
Again, make sure they don’t already have one!  Try harmony or manduka. You’ll get extra points if you offer to donate their old mat to charity for them. Contact organizations like bent on learning, homeless shelters, or your local animal shelter.
3. A gift certificate to a clothing store
Try Etsy, Amazon, lululemon, prana, gaiam, hyde, hard tail, or be present. You might think your taste is impeccable, but your gift recipient is practicing yoga. Although honesty is encouraged, they are likely to tell you that they love whatever you got them. Do them the favor and let them pick something they really like.
4. A private lesson
…with their favorite instructor. Do the research!
5. A class pack
…at their favorite yoga studio or a workshop. You get points if you are going to attend the class/es/workshop with them.  Here is a list of some events happening this February in NY…
6. A mat cover
Either a “mysore rug” or Yogitoes. If they live in the city and don’t want to haul their mat, they might be using studio rentals. I don’t want to begin about that…Just believe me when I say that you really want them to cover that mat! The rug/yogitoes are light and convenient to use. If you know they aren’t into that, maybe get them some mat wipes
7. An eco-friendly water bottle
I have seen these great metal bottles (Sigg, Klean Kanteen, Earthlust) at wholefoods… While you are at whole foods, you could also get a gift set of all organic, paraben free products from companies like Pangaea organics….
8. A subscription to a yoga-ish magazine
There is yoga journal, namarupa, joy and living, fit yoga, vegetarian times, Elephant Journal, etc…I know, its not very eco-friendly, but its better than buying off the newsstand!
9. Yoga/India movie
Check yoga journal’s website for ideas. Try Iyengar’s Estes Park Video if your person is into Iyengar and they already have a subscription to yoga journal. If they practice ashtanga, go to ashtanga.com and get them maybe “ashtanga, ny”, “guru”, or “sharath’s primary series” video. You could also get them something that is all about India. There’s that movie, “Water”. OR you could go for a documentary like yoga unveiled, naked in the ashes, or yoga inc.
10. Books
So either think BIG like a coffee table book for pictures, information, or philosophy. If you are buying for an ashtangi, try the Mysore book, or maybe ashtanga Yoga As it Is. There’s also Light on Life or anything by Pema Chodron. Shantaram is really great. I’d say Eat, Pray Love, but EVERYONE has read that… Think about what they are into and what makes sense for them. Oh! A cookbook from an ashram or retreat center would be great!
11. Massage
12. Ayurvedic consultation, nutrition consultation, going green advisor, palm reader, etc.
13. a haircut or other service from an organic salon.
14. eye pillow
not everyone will want this. but it is nice to have your own for savasana.
15. Donate
make a donation in their name to a charity.
16. Healthy Restaurant
A gift certificate or date to a healthy restaurant or an Indian restaurant. PS-you aren’t allowed to complain if you don’t like it.
17. Yoga vacation
Get them frequent flier miles, a ticket, or maybe the fees to take that dream yoga vacation. You get points if you go with them.
18. Yoga Date
Take them to a class, take the class with them (that is important), buy them something from the boutique if they want, take them out to tea/dessert/smoothies/a meal.
19. Food
Baked goods/home cooked meal. always nice!
20. A pedicure
Hope this helps! But really, what’s best is to just spend time with them and maybe pretend you are interested next time they want to tell you about downward dog.