If you’re looking for a hot yoga mat that combines beautiful design with eco-friendly innovations, take a closer look at Yoga Design Lab mats. We share our thoughts on their yoga mats, for home and travel, in our review below.
What’s in our review of Yoga Design Lab mats?
2. Who Should Consider Buying a Yoga Design Lab Yoga Mat?
3. Who Should Not Get One of These Mats?
4. Mat Design for Form & Function
5. Environmental Impact
6. Portability and Durability
7. Mat Stickiness and Comfort
8. How Yoga Design Lab Gives Back
9. How to Clean These Yoga Mats
10. Our overall rating – 9/10
11. Other Yoga Gear from Yoga Design Lab
The Yoga Design Lab story is one that immediately appeals to us.
The idea for the company came to founder Chad as he was sitting in the back of a yoga class at The Yoga Barn in Ubud, Bali. He saw a sea of uninspiring mono-coloured mats and wondered why it had to be that way.
This inspiring moment led to his permanent move to Bali, where he started Yoga Design Lab, with a mission to create beautiful, functional, and eco-friendly yoga mats. The mats are now sold all over the world.
Yoga Design Lab sent us their Combo Mat, a two-in-one mat and towel combo, and their Travel Mat, a lightweight folding yoga mat for travel so we could try them out.
Since we got them last year, we’ve spent a lot of practice time on both mats.
Read on to see what we think of our mats so far…
Yoga Design Lab Hot Yoga Mat
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Price: $68 / £64
Weight: 1.9 kg (4.1 lb)
Thickness: 3.5 mm thick
Material: Recyclable natural tree rubber & microfibre
Price: $56 / £42
Weight: 0.8 kg (1.8 lb)
Thickness: 1 mm thick
Material: Recyclable natural tree rubber & microfibre
Who should consider buying a Yoga Design Lab yoga mat?
- Yogis who are looking for the best yoga mat for hot yoga. These mats are designed in Bali, where the air is thick, moist, and hot — if that describes your practice space, then this mat is for you.
- People who want their yoga mat to be inspiring and beautiful.
- Eco-warriors who want their yoga mat to be Earth-friendly.
Who should not get one of these mats?
- These mats were design for hot and sweaty yoga practices. If your hands and feet are eternally dry, you might find yourself slipping on the smooth microfibre surface of this mat.
- If you’re not into hot yoga and not particularly sweaty when you practice, try the Yogo mat or one of these eco-friendly yoga mats instead.
Mat Design for Form & Function
Let’s start with the obvious. Yoga Design Lab mats are unquestionably beautiful. The come in a range of deeply coloured geometric and photographic designs that are a breath of fresh air among “normal” yoga mats.
I loved the look of my mat when it first arrived but I didn’t expect it to have a noticeable impact on my practice.
However, I was surprised to notice that, during down dog and other poses where my face was turned to the mat, I found myself getting lost in the mat’s blue and purple hues — the design helped calm me and become more deeply absorbed in my practice.
When you’re choosing your mat, pay attention to the colours, which could have an impact on your mood as you practice.
Blues and purples may have a calming effect, whereas, if you want to fire up your practice, choose something the gold and orange ranges. Studies on colour psychology show that colour preference is very personal, so the best way to choose is to hone in on a mat design that speaks to you.
The mats don’t just look pretty, though. They have great functional design as well.
The best hot yoga mats perform well under hot and sweaty yogis!
The Combo Mat features an upper layer of microfibre, that acts as a replacement for a yoga towel. It absorbs moisture and sweat and provides good grip while wet.
The microfibre layer is soft and smooth; it doesn’t feel anything like most yoga mats. You do have to engage your muscles to stay solid in standing poses and down dog, which will help you build those muscles!
The unique surface also allows for smooth flow — your toes won’t lose a layer of skin on the transition between up dog and down dog, and you can slide from hanumanasana to lunge without bringing the mat with you.
Yoga Design Lab mats have a pretty good pedigree as far as eco yoga mats go.
- The designs are created with eco-friendly water-based inks.
- The thin microfibre layer comes from recycled water bottles. We love that Yoga Design Lab has found a way to remove waste plastic from the environment and put it to good use.
- The bottom, cushiony layer is made from natural tree rubber, which is a renewable and recyclable resource.
- The mats are not made with toxic glue or phthalates and are also vegan-friendly.
Portability and Durability
Yoga Design Lab offers three thicknesses of mats for home, studio, and travel practice.
For the most portable Yoga Design Lab mat, try the Travel Yoga Mat, which folds up into a compact size for travel. It’s not the most portable travel yoga mat out there but it is our favourite for hot yoga.
The Travel Yoga Mat is slightly thicker than most travel yoga mats.
This has a couple of benefits:
- First, it feels more comfortable on cold hotel room floors than thinner travel mats I’ve used.
- Second, folding it doesn’t cause any creases or wrinkles.
Though I haven’t used it for long enough to truly test its durability, I expect that the microfibre layer adds durability to the layer of natural tree rubber, which can be quite stretchy and easy to pierce on its own.
The thickest mat is the Combo Mat, which, at 3mm, is slightly thinner than many of the at-home yoga mats we’ve tried. It weighs just over 4 pounds, which is about average.
The Commuter Mat falls halfway between the Travel Mat and the Combo, perfect for the yogi who wants one mat to cover all uses: at home, in the studio, and on your travels.
Mat Stickiness and Comfort
The slightly fuzzy surface of these mats makes us want to lie in savasana all day long! It feels cosy and gentle to the touch, unlike most mats, which have a hard or rough feel to them.
According to Yoga Design Lab, the mats get stickier when wet, which makes them ideal for hot yoga.
I really liked the stickiness level of my travel mat when using it in Bali’s moist climate — it wasn’t completely non slip but it gave enough grip to keep me in place while still encouraging me to engage my muscles.
However, when I brought it back to Canada during winter and tried to use it as an everyday mat, I slipped too much for my liking. In that climate, I have super dry hands and feet and don’t sweat at all — not what this mat was designed for. I did spritz the mat with water a few times which instantly gave me a stickier surface to work with.
The Yoga Design Lab Inifinity Mat is designed to be sticky in dry situations, so check that out if you want a sticker surface to work with.
How Yoga Design Lab Gives Back
For every purchase you make from Yoga Design Lab, they contribute $1 towards urban youth yoga programs around the world. Currently, they support:
- The Earthchild Project, which offers free yoga classes to kids in selected communities in South Africa
- Success Academies, an American charter school operator, who incorporate yoga into classroom time
- Vinyasa Yoga for Youth, who offer free yoga to kids in Saskatoon, Canada
Find out more about the programs or reach out about your own program.
How to Clean These Yoga Mats
For everyday cleaning, Yoga Design Lab recommend hand-washing with a wet washcloth and detergent. Then hang the mat to dry completely before rolling.
If you want a deep clean once in a while, you can throw your mat in the washing machine on a gentle cycle in cold water (similar to the way you’d wash a wool sweater). I was a little wary of machine-washing my mat but I recently tried it and it came out looking and smelling like new.
Our Overall Rating – 9/10
I love the unique design of Yoga Design Labs mats and couldn’t get enough of staring into the misty blue swirls on my mat. I also really like the soft surface, which is comfy even on the coldest, hardest floors.
Also, they are reasonably priced so offer good value for money!
For my practice, the lack of stickiness was a problem, since I rarely do hot yoga and am not particularly sweaty.
If you’re looking for an eco friendly yoga mat for hot yoga that is absorbent, grippy when wet, and beautiful, then we can highly recommend a Yoga Design Lab mat.
Other Yoga Gear from Yoga Design Lab
If you’re looking for other eco-friendly yoga gear, Yoga Design Lab could be your one-stop shop.
These super-absorbent towels are made from the same microfibre as the mats, using recycled plastic bottles and water-based inks.
Yoga Design Lab’s recyclable yoga blocks have a textured pattern for better grip and less slip on those challenging poses.
Not only are these gorgeous yoga straps the prettiest ones we’ve ever seen, they’re eco-friendly and recyclable too. They’re also super soft, helping you stretch further and hold longer.
I hope this review of the Yoga Design Lab Combo and Travel Mats helps you decide which mat to buy for your next yoga adventure. As always, we only review products we use and love! If you have any questions, please give us a shout.
♥ Happy transformational travels, Jane & Stephen
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