Manduka Prolite Review 2023: Grippy Down-Dog Bliss!

I’ve had a bit of a Goldilocks situation when it comes to finding the perfect yoga mat. One’s too thin, another too slippery, one started disintegrating after a few weeks, and don’t even get me started on the one that smelt like a rubber factory for weeks!

You’d think something as simple as a mat wouldn’t be so complicated, right? But then again, yoga isn’t just any old activity. It’s a journey, a practice, and a lifestyle that deserves more than a subpar surface to flow on.

In the past, I have come across some great mats – Jade, B Mat and Gorilla Mat, to name a few. But I found the Jade mat is only good for a year or two before it starts coming apart. The B Mat has fantastic grip, but is heavy and has a noticeable rubber smell that I didn’t love. The Gorilla mat was one of my favorites but is so huge that the idea of rolling it up and toting it around from place to place is laughable.

And so, when it came time for me to buy a well-rounded mat, I decided to try a Manduka Prolite yoga mat.

I’ve heard about the greatness of Manduka yoga mats for over a decade now, but I’d never actually tried one before now. And so, if you’ve been struggling to find a great, all-purpose yoga mat, I thought you’d appreciate my first-hand Manduka Prolite review.

Disclaimer: There are affiliate links in this article. This means that if you decide to make a purchase through these links, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Full disclaimer here.

About the Brand

Manduka is a name that’s known and respected in the yoga world. Founded in 1997 by Peter Sterios, a former architect, the company has stayed true to its original ethos of crafting simple, enduring, and quality yoga products. It is widely hailed as the “Rolls Royce” of yoga mats by yoga teachers and practitioners worldwide.

Manduka doesn’t just care about yoga practitioners; they also care about the planet. Many of their products are made from natural or recycled materials. Their Pro mats are made from PVC, but are Standard 100 by OEKO-TEX certified, which means it’s been tested for harmful or toxic chemicals.

Manduka Prolite Yoga Mat Overview

Now, let’s talk about the star of the show: the Manduka Prolite yoga mat. Weighing in at 4 pounds and being 4.7 millimeters thick, this versatile mat offers a balance of comfort, cushioning, and portability. It comes in two lengths (71” is the standard, or you can get 79″ if you need more room) and a rainbow of colors, making it a versatile choice for yoga practitioners of all shapes and sizes.

Designed with a closed-cell surface to prevent sweat and moisture from seeping into the mat, the Prolite promises to ward off bacterial growth and the unpleasant odor that can come with it. Also, Manduka offers a lifetime guarantee on the mat – a testament to their confidence in their mat’s durability.

Manduka Prolite Yoga Mat Price

Yes, the Manduka Prolite yoga mat might be a bit pricier than some other options out there, but it’s essential to remember: this isn’t just any old mat. With the Manduka yoga mat, you’re investing in quality, durability, and a brand that’s dedicated to both its customers and the environment.

Prices can vary depending on where you shop, but you can typically find this mat on Amazon for around $100 – $140 USD depending on the size and color.

Mine was about $124 CAD.

First Impressions

The Unboxing

When my Manduka Prolite yoga mat arrived, my first impression was pure awe at its obvious high quality. With a pleasant heft to it, I knew right away this wasn’t a flimsy or cheaply made mat. I ordered the “indulge” color, a luxurious deep purple, and opted for the 71″ size, which was more than adequate for my 5’4″ frame.

There isn’t much to be said about the mat’s packaging. It comes with a wrapper instructing you how to break in and care for your mat, but that’s about it.

I thought it was kind of weird that they want you to put sea salt on the mat to help the break in process – at the cost of the mat, you would have hoped that they would pre-treat the mat.

Left: My cat checkin' out the new arrival - she seems unimpressed doesn't she? Right: Me testing my tootsies on the new merchandise.
Left: My cat checkin’ out the new arrival – she seems unimpressed doesn’t she? Right: Me testing my tootsies on the new merchandise.

The First Touch

Running my fingers across the mat, I was met with a surface that I would describe as pleasantly tacky and squishy. It’s unlike any other mat texture I’ve touched.

I suspected right away that it would be just the right amount of give to cushion my hands, knees, and feet without sacrificing the stability I would need during my yoga practice. From that first touch, I knew I was in for a treat, and I couldn’t wait for my next yoga session.

Left: Texture of the mat's underside. Right: Mat texture on the surface.
Left: Texture of the mat’s underside. Right: Mat texture on the surface.

My Manduka Prolite Review after Using the Mat

The Grip

The Prolite yoga mat claims to have a ‘breaking in’ period where the grip improves with use, and even recommends salting the mat prior to using. I didn’t do the salt, but even out of the box, the grip was already leagues ahead of most mats I’ve used. Yes, there was a tiny bit of slip in my downward dog initially, but after a couple of weeks, it provided greater traction.

This was a noticeable improvement over my cheaper mats, which tend to turn into slip ‘n slides halfway through even a light yoga session.

That said, I probably wouldn’t use this for hot yoga without also using a yoga towel on top of it.

Related: My top recommendations for yoga mats ideal for sweaty hands and feet.

The Manduka Pro lite yoga mat passes the down-dog test - minimal slipping even after I started sweating.
The Manduka Pro lite yoga mat passes the down-dog test – minimal slipping even after I started sweating.

Comfort, Cushioning, and Cleanliness

The Manduka Prolite mat boasts a thickness of 4.7 mm. While it might not be the thickest mat on the market, I found it surprisingly comfortable on my knees and joints. Poses like pigeon, table, and low lunge were a dream on this mat.

Cleaning was also a breeze. Thanks to its closed-cell surface material that prevents the growth of bacteria, a quick wipe-down with a damp cloth after each session was all it took to keep my mat fresh and clean.

Portability and Practicality

Rolling up the mat and taking it on the go was straightforward, and at roughly 4 pounds, it’s easy to roll up and tote around. My only gripe was the lack of a strap or carrying case. Considering the price, it would have been a nice touch for them to include one.


After using the Manduka Prolite yoga mat for a couple of weeks, I can confidently say it was worth every penny. This mat helped me feel more grounded and stable in my yoga practice, especially in my standing poses and downward dog. The cushioning was excellent, the grip superior, and the easy cleaning was the cherry on top. I also love that it had no noticeable odor, even when brand new.

However, the absence of a carrying case or strap was a bit disappointing. Additionally, while the breaking-in period wasn’t too much of an issue for me, it could be a potential downside for someone wanting maximum grip right from the start.

But overall, the Manduka Prolite stands out as one of the best yoga mats I’ve ever used, and I would highly recommend it to any fellow yogi. It is indeed an investment, but considering the quality and lifetime guarantee, it’s one worth making.

Best Manduka Prolite Alternatives

If you’re not quite sold on the Manduka Pro lite, there are other Manduka products you could consider. The Manduka Pro Mat is a thicker cousin of the Prolite and could be a good option for anyone seeking extra cushioning.

If you’re looking for a more lightweight yoga mat that’s a bit cheaper, the Manduka Eko Lite could be a great fit. It’s lighter, thinner, and made from sustainable natural rubber. For hot yoga, I’ve heard great things about the GRP Manduka yoga mat.

If you want to explore some non-Manduka mat options, my top picks are:

B Mat

The B Mat is one of the best mats I’ve ever used. However, it’s a bit hefty and smells of rubber, which I don’t love, but the grip on this baby is unlike any other mat I’ve used, even the Manduka.

Jade Harmony

I owned a Jade mat about 10 years ago, and it was a fantastic mat for about 2 years – then it started disintegrating. Still, it was by far one of the better mats I’ve used over the years, with a great grip and no-smell surface.

Gorilla Mat

Best for exercise or workouts where you need extra room or shoes, the Gorilla mat is my go-to for just about every type of exercise, save when I’m doing yoga in my office or going to a yoga class. It’s not a traditional yoga mat but has a pretty good grip regardless, and it’s the most durable mat you will ever buy.

The only problem with Gorilla mats is they’re well… a gorilla in size, making them very heavy to roll up and tote around. (You can also read my in-depth review on this mat.)

Need More Options?

I have extensive reviews on several yoga mats, depending on what you’re looking for in a new yoga mat. For example, mats that are best for:

Wrapping Up My Manduka Yoga Mat Review

Finding the perfect new mat can feel as tricky as attempting crow pose atop a windy mountain peak, but now that you’ve read this in-depth review, you’re now well-equipped to make an informed decision about your next mat.

Remember that while the Manduka Prolite comes with a higher price tag, it’s an investment in your yoga practice and your comfort. This durable, non-slip, and odorless mat has been perfect both for my home practice and my trips to the yoga studio; I’m a big fan and am confident that it’ll serve your asanas well for years to come.

Pros and Cons Chart
Pros Cons
High-quality material and construction Higher price point
Superior grip that improves the more you use it ‘Breaking in’ period may not suit everyone
No noticeable odor, even when new Does not come with a carrying case or strap
Comfortable cushioning for joints Not a reversible mat
Easy to clean and maintain
Beautiful color options
Lifetime guarantee


Can the Manduka Prolite yoga mat be used outdoors?

While I haven’t used my mat outdoors, its durable material should be able to handle outdoor use. However, extreme weather or rough surfaces may potentially cause damage.

Can the Manduka Prolite be used for exercises other than yoga?

Absolutely! I’ve used mine for Pilates, and it’s been great. However, I wouldn’t recommend using it with shoes on to avoid damaging the surface.

Does the Manduka Prolite mat contain PVC or any harmful substances?

Manduka is committed to producing environmentally friendly products. The Prolite yoga mat is latex-free, and although is a PVC material, it is Stnadard 00 by OEKO-Tex certified.

What’s the best way to break in the Manduka Prolite?

The best way to break in your new Manduka Prolite is simply to use it. The more you practice, the grippier your mat will become. Some people also suggest using a coarse sea salt scrub to expedite the process, but I didn’t find this was necessary.

Corrie Alexander is a former ISSA-certified personal trainer, home fitness advocate, and founder of The Fit Careerist. A proponent of personal growth and a self-proclaimed fitness app-junkie, Corrie shares tips and product reviews with the goal of helping others on their own fitness journey.

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