This is a story about cheap yoga mats.
While I am not a yoga fashion snob, I will be the first to say that quality comes at a price and, as with most things, you get what you pay for.
I was at Target the other day, perusing the fitness gear and thinking that my yoga mat was starting to look pretty chewed up. I’ve had it a couple years and PiYo is a little more, um, vigorous, than your average yoga workout.
Target is not a yoga supply shop but they do have a small selection of mats that fall into three categories: cheap, nice, and extra squishy. The “nice” mats are Gaiam 3mm, super grip, non slip, 6P Free, and come in a variety of fruity colors. They are $20. The extra squishy mats are from Gaiam and The Firm, 5mm, same pretty colors and features. The extra squishy mats are $30.
Now, let’s talk about the cheap mats. For one thing, there didn’t used to be a “cheap” mat option at Target. There was only “nice” and “extra squishy”. Then one day, along came the cheap mat. To be polite, I’ll call it Brand X. Brand X mat is similar to the Gaiam 3mm mats. It is the same thickness, comes in a few less colors, and is made of something that appears to be the same material. Brand X mat is $10.
I should’ve known better, not only should have but did know better. I could tell that the texture was not quite the same as the Gaiam mats and I was a little bugged at the lack of color and design options but, for some reason, I let the crazy cheap price tag affect my better judgement and I got one anyway. I thought “well, if it’s terrible, it was only $10″. To be clear, there was really nothing about this mat that made me think it wouldn’t be terrible so I don’t know why I was surprised when it turned out to be unusable. I don’t know what this discount piece of crap is made of but it is so slippery that I cannot hold any pose without my hands and feet sliding out from under me. I would consider it borderline unsafe. Being unstable can lead to injuries.
Not wanting to admit that I made a bad decision, I still used this mat for a couple of weeks. I even conducted a Google search for how to make a yoga mat less slippery. I scrubbed it down with salt water but it didn’t help much. I had bought a $10 slip-n-slide. Last night I noticed that there are already chunks falling out of it caused by jumping from forward fold to plank. I’m really good at that transition. There’s no thumping, no toe injuries, and no reason this mat should be falling apart after only two weeks. So now, only $10 doesn’t seem like such a good deal. Wasted $10 sounds more like it.
Today I decided that I couldn’t deal with the Brand X mat any longer so I went back and bought a Gaiam mat for $20 except I really paid $30 for it because I tried to take the cheap route instead of just getting the right tool for the job in the first place.