I’ve sweated through my fair share of hot yoga classes, and no matter the number of Warrior 2s on my asana resumé, flowing on top of a sweaty towel (which is basically required gear in high temps) has never felt 100-percent natural to me. Call me old school, but I just really love that nothin’-but-mat feel.
So when I heard that, after three years of testing and development, Manduka was finally ready to bring its new grip-ride-performance (GRP) technology to market—the mat promises a towel-free hot yoga experience—I crossed my fingers that it would actually deliver. A non-slip mat that will have your back from cat-cows to savasana? That’s basically a hot yogi’s (*ahem*) sweat dream. And I was curious to see if the company, who supplies mats to some of the coolest yoga studios in New York City and Los Angeles, including hip-hop hotspot Y7, could make it a reality.
“Hot yoga has been a rapidly growing section of the practice,” says Joanne Sessler, VP of product at Manduka, in regards to why the brand is focusing its attention here. “There’s over 10 million consumers in the US alone. We wanted to create a mat that has superior grip performance, even under the sweatiest conditions, with zero need for a towel.”
“We wanted to create a mat that has superior grip performance, even under the sweatiest conditions, with zero need for a towel.”
Talk about #goals. To accomplish this, the mat has an adaptive grip made of polyurethane that “gets more traction with higher temperature and as sweat is absorbed into [it],” explains Sessler. “As the sweat passes through the mat, the middle layer of charcoal infused rubber absorbs it. This eliminates odor and keeps the mat smelling fresh.”
But my question: Would the GRP stand the test of Y7—also known as one of NYC’s hottest studios?
Keep reading to see what happened when I gave this slip-free mat a test flow.
How the GRP mat performed in the hot, hot heat
I’m already sweaty as I climb the steep flight of stairs leading up to Y7’s Flatiron location, and growing more skeptical by the minute. “No yoga mat will be able to stand up to these wet palms,” I think to myself.
The woman at the front desk asks me if I need a towel. She has no idea how high-stakes her question is. Do I want to rent one… just in case? After a pause that’s probably far too long, I mumble a quick “No.”
Y7 is notorious for beat-bumping music, and as I gave the mat a quick once-over, Chance the Rapper cheered me on. Good sign, I thought. Texture-wise, the mat felt similar to Manduka’s OG Pro Mat, but there’s something slightly different. It’s also super thick, a feature that immediately felt like heaven under my runner’s knees.
Class begins and the teacher cues the first downward dog. I wait for my palms to start sliding forward…But I’m actually sticking to the mat.
Class begins and the teacher cues the first downward dog. I wait for my palms to start sliding forward on the mat, but much to my surprise, I’m actually sticking to it. I feel so steady that I engage my upper arms, lean into my shoulders, and feel a gooey stretch across my upper back.
As we move through the sequences, the GRP mat maintains its, well, grip. Even 30 minutes in, when it’s polka-dotted with moisture, I’m still not slipping. Score.
Crow? Why not? Frog hops? I’ve got this. Tripod headstand? Sure!
By the time the class moves into standing poses, I’m drenched from head to toe and absolutely smitten with the GRP (my new yoga BFF).
When my post-class bliss subsided, however, I was able to see one caveat for city-slicking yoginis: This mat is not a lightweight travel companion. The same density that makes frog pose feel extra luxe will also give you a killer arm workout from lugging it around all day. By the time you say, “namaste” though, the heavy lifting will probably feel like a worthy sacrifice.
Plus, at a competitive $98 price point, the GRP provides a thrifty alternative to the mat-and-sweat-towel combo that’s usually a non-negotiable in a steamy flow.
What’s not to love about a mat that lets you practice your asanas without, well, busting your ass-ana?
These are the ideal mats for *every* type of yoga, according to the pros. And if you’re looking for one that will shine on your IG feed, try one of these aesthetically-pleasing choices.
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