Choosing a yoga mat is as personal as choosing a watch or a new pair of shoes (in my opinion).
A number of factors determine which one you buy, whether that be budget, eco-friendly manufacturing procedures or grip.
I look for two main things when purchasing a yoga mat. I need really good grip (I do get my sweat on), and I need it to wear well, although this isn’t as important as grip.
My first ‘proper’ yoga mat was a Lululemon mat and I still recommend those mats to clients. During my teacher training back in 2015 one of my friends had a Liforme Mat. I marvelled at the AlignForMe™ system and must admit I had mat envy, but I almost choked on my tea when I learnt the price. It was more than twice what I paid for mine and I dismissed getting one immediately.
Roll on two years later and a generous visit from Santa Claus and hey presto I had one and I was over the moon.
I wanted to review this mat for you, as I get many students ask me about what mat I use and the Liforme mat is my go-to for my daily home practice. It was good timing too, as I had just bought a new one so we could compare and contrast the wear and tear as well.
THE GRIP IS AMAZING
The grip on my Liforme mat is just brilliant and I’ve put this bad boy through its paces. It’s been to countless hot yoga classes and even a 3 hour workshop in a hot room my trusty mat never failed. I absolutely love this mat for arm balancing and inversions as I feel a bit more supported. Even if I am sweating, I still feel safe balancing on my hands.
The grip is so good, it can take some time to get used to for Vinyasa, especially Chaturanga to Urdhva Mukha Shvanasana. This doesn’t bother me especially, but could niggle hard core Ashtangis in the beginning.
THE ALIGNFORME™ SYSTEM
This is perfect for a beginner or someone who does the majority of their yoga practice at home. It has been meticulously designed for all sorts of body shapes and heights, but make sure you don’t fall victim to the ‘all the gear no idea’ syndrome. Even with the markers, you need to use them according to your body.
I use the hand markers slightly differently to the recommendations as I like using the lower hand marker to align my wrists. This works really nicely for me.
Perhaps the most useful feature is the central line. Admittedly there is nothing stopping you taking a sharpie to your standard mat, but people tend to be less than keen to deface their stuff.
I personally love this system. When used correctly it can help with a really safe and steady practice when you don’t have access to adjustment. The Coronavirus outbreak means I am only verbal cuing in my classes and avoiding physical adjustment, so if there was ever a time to buy this mat, it’s now.
BIODEGRADABLE & PVC FREE
Liforme have spent a lot of time, money and effort to produce a high-quality, eco-friendly mat. It’s PVC-free and apparently biodegrades in landfill within 1-5 years, which is actually brilliant. It’s non-toxic and doesn’t have that horrid ‘new mat’ smell when you first open it up.
I love this and it’s nice to know my yoga practice and slight mat purchasing addiction isn’t ruining the planet.
LARGER THAN A STANDARD MAT
I actually didn’t realise that the Liforme mats were slightly longer and wider than standard yoga mats. This is great if you are taller than average. A quick Google search tells me the standard mat measures about 172 cm long and 60cm wide. Liforme mats measure 185cm long and 68cm wide so that’s some significant inch gain right there.
If you are super tall like my fella, you may want to look at a mat that has been designed accordingly. Manduka offer a mat for sale that measures up to 215cm long which is ideal for tall folks.
Who doesn’t love a company that gives back? By purchasing from their Purple Earth, White Magic or Zodiac range, a percentage of profits goes to Friends of the Earth and RSPCA.
The cheapest standard yoga mat available is currently £80 as Liforme are offering a discount until tomorrow. This is definitely on the pricier end of the mat-buying spectrum, and those that have a strict budget might not be able to justify the higher price tag. Perhaps you only attend one or two classes a week and just won’t get the ‘value-for-use’.
Personally, I think you get what you pay for. I use my mat everyday so I need the best mat I can afford. The Liforme mats are worth every penny in my opinion, but if too pricey look for offers throughout the year.
These mats are basically chocolate pudding for ants! They are biodegradable which is awesome, but when using outside they attract the bugs.
Last October I took my Liforme mat with me to a stunning Shala where it was all open plan – think at one with nature. However, it didn’t take long for my mat to attract any creepy crawly within walking distance.
It did affect me a bit as I was forever swatting and pushing them off my mat which was a little annoying. At first, I couldn’t work out why I was an ant-magnet. Then I noticed my originally-pristine mat was now pretty damaged as the result of a Mad Anter’s Tea Party.
At the end of the day, I’d rather have a planet-friendly mat than be too bothered about the damage but it is a bit of a bugger when you think how much the mats are in the first place.
My damaged one will now be my dedicated outdoor mat for the summer, as I now have a spare. If you only have one mat, consider using something else outside or use super strong insect repellant.
WEARS AND ATTRACTS MARKS
Compared to the Manduka mats I have purchased, the Liforme mats wear a little more. Personally, I still think the wearing out is pretty excellent and as I buy the grey mats I don’t notice the dirt as much.
Liforme have just launched a White Magic mat, which is simply a stunning work of art. I do however worry about how this mat might look in a few months time. Although, having said that, the team at Liforme have taken measures to reduce this issue so I guess only time will tell.
Personally I love black and I clean my mat religiously so it’s not a huge issue for me, but the Mrs Hinch wannabes might struggle.
BAG STRAP IS UNCOMFORTABLE
Although the bag is complimentary, I’m not really a fan. Where they have placed the clip fastening for me is extremely uncomfortable.
How I carry the bag, this clip sits right on my shoulder and it just digs in. Maybe I have super sensitive shoulders, but I’d rather the clip be the other end as the padding is fixed so I can’t move it.
To be honest, this is my home practice mat and I only really take it out the house for workshops or trainings, so again not a huge issue for me, but could annoy those with sensitive shoulders – like me.
The bag is also complimentary with the mat purchase but I wanted to mention it as it is annoying.
ONLY ONE THICKNESS (4.2mm)
If you are super sensitive on the knees or joints, the 4.2mm thickness on these mats might not be enough for you.
Personally, if you suffer from knee sensitivity, I would suggest buying separate knee pads anyway. A small towel or blanket can also do the job here.
However, if you don’t want to be buying extra kit, you may want to look at thicker mats available. The cushioning on the Liforme mats is great, but I don’t suffer from pain in my knees so it’s difficult to advise here. If you need more padding though, Manduka do offer 6mm thick mats as well as a whopping 8mm thick yoga mat.
I’ve only deducted points for the ant issue, price and the fact that it doesn’t wear as well as other mats I’ve bought.
However, this is THE mat I will always recommend especially if you love alignment, inversions and arm balancing.
The grip is insanely good and if you mainly have a home practice, it is a must-buy. Plus, it’s also nice to know that my practice isn’t damaging the planet – a few ants here and there is a small sacrifice I guess ;)
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