This is not a sponsored post.
If you’re looking for a sustainable and synthetic-free mat, this is it. Innovation when it comes to yoga gear can be grouped into two camps. You have the high tech innovation, such as mats made of mushrooms. On the other hand, we also have innovations rooted in traditions. Bennd yoga mats represent the latter.
Sustainability and Indian healing practices complete Bennd Yoga’s DNA. You’ll experience it from the packaging, unboxing, and of course, the product itself.
When you purchase a Bennd yoga mat, it comes in a travel bag. The package includes a powdered soap nut to wash your mat.
About My Other Mats
I keep 2 Manduka mats, one I use for the studio, and the other for travel. I wanted to get a designated mat for home. I’ve had my mats for more than 10 years and satisfied with them, but I wanted to try a more natural option, from a brand that breathes sustainability.
Arrival and Unboxing
My mat arrived neatly in a brown bag and no trace of plastic or synthetic material, from the packaging, tags, and the product itself. This was really a nice surprise. And it smells soothing and earthy.
I get disappointed when I choose to buy a sustainable option for a product and find it wrapped in plastics, emitting a strong industrial smell, which most mats have.
I got the Single Harda Ayurvedic Mat. Although Ayurvedic principles guide each mat option, I chose it for the colors.
Material, Size, and Stability
Made from ethically sourced raw cotton and handmade, from spinning, looming, and dying, Bennd mats offer artisanship, a rarity when it comes to yoga mats. These mats are simply beautiful and quite special.
In the 2 months that I’ve been using it, I haven’t experience the mat slipping practicing on wood floors. Natural rubber latex covers the bottom of the mat, and it seems to keep the mat in place.
It’s easy to confuse this with a yoga rug, one that you put on top of your mat to absorb sweat. But this is not meant to be on top of a mat. If you use a yoga rug this eliminates the need for it.
Rubber or PVC mats come in different levels of thickness. I use a 5mm thick one. The Bennd yoga mat does feel thinner than my current one, but not too thin that I feel the hardwood floor.
In terms of size, the website indicates that “due to their handmade nature, sizes may slightly very”, but I got the indicated size, which is 72in wide x 24in length.
Having practiced with synthetic yoga mats since I started yoga, the grip felt different. It took me a few yoga sessions to get used to it, but I like the change. It makes me think of the poses differently. The mat reminds me of a thick version of the cotton Mysore mats, which you can buy in ashtanga studios.
About me, I don’t sweat very much. Even in a hot yoga class, I have small towels to wipe myself with, but I don’t put a dedicated yoga towel on my mat. I tend to slip, probably from the lack of sweat.
In using my Bennd mat at home, I had to spray water to start. I do have to occasionally add water through out the practice. This happens speficially when I opt for a slower practice or when it’s relatively colder and I don’t sweat at all.
Poses such as downward dog and crow felt comfortable quickly, but handstands took a bit more time to get used to. The texture on the top helps for grip. The one pose, however, that I seem to have trouble with is forearm stand. I don’t get the same grip and I feel a bit of burn, which I address by spraying more water. I will have to wait and see how this progresses and how it feels as I get stronger.
Home and Studio Practice
I love using it for home. I do still use my old mats for certain occasions. Specifically, when it’s cold and I know I’m not going to sweat very much.
I haven’t been to a yoga studio since the pandemic, but when I get back to the studio, I plan on taking my Bennd yoga mat in a non-heated yoga studio. However I don’t see myself taking it to a heated one or even to a gym. I feel that I’m going to have to wash it after every use if I take it to a heated studio. I’ve seen puddles of sweat on yoga floors after a class and I just don’t feel comfortable laying it down. But that’s just me.
Also, I once had an accident in a yoga studio during THAT time of the month, and I don’t want to stain my Bennd mat that way. I probably won’t use it during those times.
Cleaning and Care
Unlike synthetic mats, that you can wipe down with a disinfectant, this is hand or delicate machine wash only (high efficiency without an agitator).
Additionally, because I spray water on it when I use it and it gets damp, I do have to air-dry it after each use, which the company recommends. This doesn’t bother me. But it might not be ideal for others.
In terms of price, on the higher end of the spectrum when it comes to mats, but reasonable given the workmanship, ethics, and sustainability standards.