A bit of a side note, over the past week or so my body was just tired and not really responding to any of the yoga classes I was taking. I modified a lot and backed off but my body just didn’t want to be there. So I did what I normally never do…I rested. I took two days off from any exercise and returned this morning to take one of my favorite instructor’s classes and I felt sooo good! I should definitely take my advice more often and take rest days!
Okay, back to the topic of this post. For most of my life, I’ve been frugal with most things (let’s not confuse this with being cheap). I’ve come to realize that with so many things out there, you can get it without paying retail. Sometimes the discount is minimal but it’s still a discount, right?
I bought a Gaiam yoga mat around three years ago at Target (probably at retail but at $20-ish, it didn’t matter) . And during those three years, I lovingly used my mat on a regular basis and then within the past year, I used it daily if not multiple times a day. My mat has become a bit too flat for me and there are stains on it that I can’t remove even after a thorough cleaning. I told myself that as a reward for going through teacher training, I would get myself a nice new mat. And I definitely did not pay retail for my mat. I knew I was going to purchase my mat through CPY since after teacher training, they gave us a 20% coupon for taking a feedback survey. Also, CPY has a referral program (I believe I’ve been to other studios that do something similar) where you get $5 for anything at CPY. So throughout the teacher training and extensions program, I invited my friends to come take my classes and started building my referral dollars. With the discount and the referral dollars, I was able to purchase my new mat – a Manduka PROlite Mat – for around $40. The retail price is $78. That is a pretty damn good deal, right?
This does require a certain amount of patience but if you don’t have to have a new mat right away, you can walk away with a quality mat for not a lot of money. Check out your local yoga studio and see if there are any financial incentives to refer friends. I’m also on the email list for yoga studios in the area so I’m notified whenever they have sales for their retail products. Sites such as Amazon and Retail Me Not also offer deals or coupon codes at retailers that sell yoga mats. Also, you can try going directly to sites that manufacture yoga mats and see if they are offering any deals.
If you do have an old yoga mat that you are looking to swap out, consider recycling it instead of adding to the landfill. AND while you are helping to save the planet, you can get savings towards a new yoga mat! Uhhh, why wouldn’t you do this? Perhaps plan on this when you are taking a break from yoga and not needing your mat. There is a company out there called Recycle Your Mat and you can recycle your mat in a couple of ways. You can either clean it and send it to the company yourself, or you can use their location finder to find a studio that collects mats to recycle. I used the location finder and there was a studio not far from me participating in the program. The studio may charge a small fee to offset shipping costs. Once they receive your mat, they will email you a coupon for 20% off a Manduka mat or any Manduka gear. I thought about keeping my old Gaiam mat around for park yoga or just to have an extra mat lying around but since I’ll be moving to San Francisco, every inch is crucial so I’ll definitely go this route if I get rid of my old mat.
The purpose of this post is not to tell you that expensive yoga mats are better. Depending on how often you will be using your mat, $20 yoga mat may suit you just fine. Places like Marshalls and TJ Maxx have mats that are as cheap as $10. My mat probably would have held up for another five years if I was only practicing a few days a week, especially with the added protection of a towel when I practice. I was looking for something that was durable and would provide more support for a daily practice and did A LOT of research. I chose Manduka because of the lifetime guarantee, essentially negating the need to purchase another mat in the future.
Whatever mat you own, make sure you take care of it to extend its life. Here are some great tips on how to care for your mat.