Manduka gets excellent reviews for its top-rated Black Mat Pro (*Est. $100 and up), but some yoga practitioners prefer to avoid yoga mats made with polyvinyl chloride (PVC). The Manduka Eko Yoga Mat is a good alternative -- it's made with eco-friendly natural rubber and is free of PVC and other plastics. The 71-inch-long yoga mat has a thickness of 3/16 inch, and reviewers say it provides ample cushioning for kneeling poses. Like the Black Mat Pro, the Manduka Eko Yoga Mat also gets high marks for durability. A number of users complain that the Manduka Eko mat is too slippery, with the exception of one expert reviewer who says the yoga mat is sticky enough for difficult balance poses. It uses a closed-cell construction, so sweat and water are not absorbed into the mat -- thus making it easier to clean, but increasing its slipperiness. The Manduka Eko mat weighs in at 7 pounds, so some users say it's too heavy to tote around on a daily basis. Among eco-friendly yoga mats, reviewers prefer the Jade Harmony Professional Yoga Mat (*Est. $65), which weighs 4.5 pounds.
The Manduka Eko Yoga Mat is included in a number of comparative reviews, including at PlanetGreen.com, the Om Shanti yoga blog and Granville Online, a Canadian news website. These sources test a variety of yoga mats, although the accompanying analysis is brief. There are also a good number of user reviews at Amazon.com.
PlanetGreen.com includes the Manduka Eko Yoga Mat in this review of green yoga mats. Reviewer Jennifer Hattam loves the mat's durability and cushioning, but she thinks it's a bit heavy and can give off an odor.
Review: Buy Green: Yoga Mats, Jennifer Hattam, Jan. 5, 2009
2. Granville Online
Granville Online, a Canadian news website, names the Manduka Eko one of the best eco-friendly yoga mats. Insiya Rasiwala-Finn says the mat provides a good grip so she feels sturdy and supported during demanding poses. However, the mat has a distinct smell.
Review: What's in a Yoga Mat?, Insiya Rasiwala-Finn, Oct. 29, 2009
3. Om Shanti: A Yoga Blog
The Om Shanti yoga blog names the Manduka Eko mat one of the best eco-friendly yoga mats available. The author says the mat lasts for a long time and provides great grip. He notes that the mat can smell at first, but the odor eventually fades away.
Review: The Best (and Worst) Eco-Friendly Yoga Mats, "Eugene", March 29, 2009
The Manduka Eko Yoga Mat earns a 4-star rating after more than 80 reviewers leave their comments at Amazon.com. Many users say the mat is easy to use and feels comfortable, but others complain about the strong rubber smell and overly slippery surface.
Review: Manduka Eko 71-Inch 5mm Eco-Friendly Yoga Mat, Contributors to Amazon.com