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Adventures in Finding the Best Yoga Mat

Highbrow

REVIEWS
BY NICOLE SIACCA
MAY 25, 2016

I’ve been practicing yoga for about 14 years, so I’ve spent quite a few hours on different yoga mats. Although much of my practice is Vinyasa based, I’ve also studied Ashtanga, in addition to taking many hot yoga classes, as well, and my personal practice veers towards slow, sweaty and athletic. Below, an overview of my knowledge on yoga mats, including my personal opinions and findings; browse at your leisure and enjoy!

Are different types of mats better for certain practices?

Yes, indeed. If you have a sweaty practice, I would suggest Lululemon the Mat. It’s always a reliably sticky surface and can contend with buckets of sweat. If your practice is not neccessarily SUPER sweaty, I’d recommend a Manduka ProLite or Jade Harmony, (bonus: JadeYoga plants a tree for every mat purchased!).

What is the difference between the mat thickness options that are available?

Generally speaking, the thickness level of a mat varies from 1/16 to 1/4 of an inch. The thickness can play a role in stabilization. For example, trying to balance on a thick mat with a lot of cushion may strain the wrists and/or knees, which can lead to injury. A mat that is too thin may not provide enough cushion to hold postures that bear weight on a joint.

When someone is choosing a mat, which thickness level is the most ‘universal’?

Universally speaking, I’d go with 1/8th or 1/4th inch mat. It is very much about your body, your overall preference, and of course, comfort.

For people who travel often, is it worth investing in a lightweight mat in addition to their normal mat?

If you are a jet setter and want to take your mat with you on the road, it helps tremendously to find a light weight mat. I owned a Stella McCartney mat for Adidas that I used for years before I purchased a Lululemon travel mat. I find the Lululemon travel mat to be VERY lightweight with little to NO cushion at all. Again, preference is key.

And finally, my favorite mats in the following categories:

Green Mat: The Affirmat. I love this brand and the culture/message they’ve created. Every mat is 100% earth friendly. The affirmations are beautifully woven on the top of the mat. All mats are non toxic, eco PVC jute blend. They are pthalates free, latex free and metal free. My favorite affirmations are “I am Love, I am Enough and You are Wonderfully Made”.

Luxury Mat: The Manduka Black Mat Pro. This mat is heavy duty, extremely well made and durable. The Manduka products have been featured time and time again as the premier yoga mat on the market.

Budget Mat: Gaiam Print Premium Mat. You can find this mat for about $30 at many different retailers. It comes with a lifetime warranty and in various colors and prints.

Best Overall Mat: Lululemon “the Mat”. As much as I sweat, I find this mat to be the best overall. The more sweaty/wet the mat becomes, the better it works. Another wonderful quality about this mat is that it is heavy and gives just the right amount of cushion while allowing for a sense of grounding. I recommend this mat to all my personal clients because I have found it to fit and surpass my needs.

Off The Wall Mat: Alexander Wang for H&M [pictured above]. This is my wildcard mat. I was working with a lovely Thai actress, and she walked in with a brand new mat I’d never seen before. It was black with the AW emblem all over it and remarkably sticky, super lightweight and provided the perfect amount of cushion. I was obsessed with it. Before she left to fly back to Thailand, she gave me her mat- greatest surprise gift ever!- and I use it almost daily. I have yet to find another and I’m working on letting go of my “attachment” to this fabulous yoga “gift”.

Playlist Yoga Brings Sick Beats to the LA Savasana Scene

To Live & Diet in LA

Listening to Lil’ Wayne spit rhymes over the melody to Hotel California while balancing in tree pose — only in, well, California. In what’s sure to start the biggest yoga craze since 100° temps, Playlist Yoga is bringing seriously sick beats to your vinyasa sesh. If you’re a dedicated yogi, I’m sure you’ve taken a flow class set to music before — but I guarantee you’ve never taken one this hip.

Read Whitney’s article in full at To Live & Diet in LA.

Racked Readers Grooved to The Weeknd and More at Playlist Yoga

Natalie Alcala for Racked LA

Last night, we kicked off the first of four—yes, four!—Racked Fit Club classes this month. We couldn’t think of a better studio to start with than Playlist Yoga, a kickass, music-fueled Vinyasa flow class that just opened on La Cienega.

Thanks to fast-paced moves led by our inspiring instructor Nicole Sciacca, high-energy music from the likes of The Weeknd and Lil’ Wayne, an awesome retail section (yours truly may be a little too obsessed with this muscle tee), and a seriously Instagram-worthy studio, it’s safe to say that this was one of the coolest yoga experiences we’ve had in a while.

Readers looked like pros on the mat (seriously, you guys are good) and left reenergized, thanks to snacks from Clover and Barnana. Check out the gallery for a peek at the scene, and stay tuned for the next RFC announcement soon.

HUSTLE AND FLOW: YOGA MATTERS WITH NICOLE SCIACCA

Chalkboard Magazine

Katie Horwitch

YOGA PRO NICOLE SCIACCA IS NO STRANGER TO BALANCE, ON AND OFF THE MAT: learning the ins and outs of motherhood and business simultaneously, as well as juggling a full teaching schedule, might made some people go into a tizzy. Yet Nicole does it while still keeping a positive, proactive attitude and her focus empathetically on what’s best for those around her. When a spine injury sidelined her dancing career, Nicole turned to yoga for both a physical and emotional outlet. Little did she know it would change the trajectory of her life!

Fast forward to the present moment, and her boutique yoga and spin studio Hustle and Flow Fitness on Venice Beach’s trendy Abbott Kinney Blvd has created a unique family of like minded individuals and a warm, welcoming environment for all. And Nicole’s classes are no different – challenging yet empowering, focused yet filled with laughter, dynamic one moment and restorative the next, Nicole always seems to know exactly what each individual yogi needs to find their best self no matter what the experience level. Attending her class is like hanging around with your best girlfriend – literally (more on handstands later!) Read on to find out how Nicole stays grounded, passionate, and purpose-filled – you might just pick up a few life lessons yourself!

Read the article in full at Chalkboard Magazine

Nicole Sciacca

Nicole Sciacca is a yoga teacher, FRCms, professional dancer, actress, host and personal trainer

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