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My favorite yoga mat of all time is a 4mm Eko Lite mat from Manduka. I’ve had it for nearly a decade, and for me, it provides the Goldilocks “just right” amount of cushion and grip. It retails for $80—pricier than plenty of mats—but in my opinion, it was well worth the investment. (And if wears out, I feel better knowing that the brand, through their LiveON program, will downcycle the mat.)
While the Manduka mat is expensive, it doesn’t even come close to the new yoga mat from Prada, which sells for a jaw-dropping $1,990. Now that’s just ridiculous.
Prada’s website describes the orange mat with terms that make clear that it’s for bougie yogis who prize fashion over function. Rather than talk about the materials, its thickness, or if it’s made from sustainably sourced materials, the fashion label touts the mat’s “nylon carry case with side-release buckles and an adjustable shoulder strap.” In fact, there’s nothing that tells you what to expect from the mat itself, except for the fact that it’s “decorated with a macro Prada logo in a contrasting color.”
For those who are purchasing a Prada yoga mat, I suppose the logo is the only thing that matters.
While yoga mats help you from slipping and sliding during your practice, you don’t actually need one to do yoga. (Fun fact: Sticky yoga mats weren’t even invented until the early ’70s, after yoga teacher Angela Farmer—searching for something that would give her more traction—started practicing on carpet padding she found in a German market.) And you certainly don’t need a mat costs more than many people’s monthly mortgage payment.
Dropping nearly $2,000 on a yoga mat is pretty much the least yogic thing that you can do. Aparigraha, or non-greed, reminds us that we definitely don’t need a new mat just because our old one is getting a bit worn out—or because we think having a mat with a flashy designer logo will impress everyone else in class.
Another yama, brahmacharya, from Patanjali‘s Yoga Sutra, is usually taken to mean moderation and self-control in sex. But financial Brent Kessel, a yogi, certified financial planner, and president of Abacus Wealth Management, Inc., in Pacific Palisades, California, believes that Patanjali would expand this teaching today to include our insatiable relationship with money.
Like most of us, I don’t have a spare $1,990 laying around. But if I did, a better use of it would be to buy 25 of my beloved Manduka mat—or nearly 100 $20 mats—and donate them to a local studio.