This is a regular question we get from yogis. Truth be told, the PRO and the eKO are both fantastic yoga mats but there will be one that is more suitable to you depending on what you are looking for. These are our two best selling mats and are yogi favourites since years. So which one is right for you?
For starters both the eKO® Series and the PRO® Series have been designed and engineered by yoga teachers to provide the ultimate surface to practice yoga. However, due to the different properties of the materials, they offer a different experience when practicing! Both mats exist in 3 versions. The Original, the Lite and the Travel.
THE PRO® SERIES FOR UNMATCHED CUSHION AND STABILITY
The PRO® is the original and longest loved by all its fans. A mat that’s been continuously perfected since the brand’s inception. The #1 recommended yoga mat by teachers worldwide. Ideal for advanced practitioners who are looking for the highest possible support and Lifetime Guaranteed durability. The closed-cell construction provides dense support while the performance surface creates optimal movement, flowing between poses. Due to the closed cell structure the PRO keeps moisture on the top surface making it very easy to clean. The PRO Series offers ultimate durability, comfort and performance, with strong and dense support, ideal for those with sensitive knees and joints. Also for those taller people out there look out the longer versions available in this series.
The love for your PRO is not something that comes immediately, the PRO Series is formulated so that grip gets better with time as the mat is broken-in and practiced on. This process is unique and varies for each yogi but just like your favourite pair of shoes your PRO will be unique to you!
Probably one of the most environmentally friendly choices in our collection. Although made from PVC which is not considered environmentally friendly, as during manufacturing process toxins are often released then these same chemicals usually seep into landfills. However, we are happy to report that our PRO mats are free of toxins (specifically phthalate free) and that the PRO manufacturing process is certified emissions free. Additionally, OEKO-TEX, a European association for textile industries, certifies the Manduka PRO Series mats are safe and free of harmful substances made in Germany. It is also so durable that we give it a Lifetime Guarantee. If you do get yourself a PRO this could well be the last mat you ever buy so choose your colour wisely!
The PRO is called the PRO for a reason. We do not recommend this for all our yogis. We get complaints from customers who buy a PRO and don’t realise that you need a base before you can jump on one of these mats. People underestimate how in control of your body you need to be during yoga, and blame the mat when they start to slip in what they feel is a basic pose. Truth be told these people are better off with either a grippier mat, or need to add a yoga towel to aid them with their stability. Many yogis like the density and functionality of the less fixed in place grip that the PRO provides, while some, especially yogis who perspire more from the hands/feet, prefer a stickier/gripper mat holding them in place.
If you are looking for more practice space, the PRO mat is available in larger sizes.
- PRO Extra Long - (Dimensions 215cm (or 200cm) x 66cm)
- PRO Long & Wide - Don't have a dedicated workout room or yoga space? The PRO Long & Wide can transform your living room into a home studio with minimal effort (Dimensions 200cm x 132cm).
- PRO Squared - Big enough for two. Plenty of room to roam on your own - or to practice with a partner (Dimensions 198cm x 198cm).
THE EKO® SERIES FOR A GROUNDING EXPERIENCE
Now on to the eKo®. Each one is hand made with natural non-Amazon harvested tree rubber which gives a unique pattern to every may. This is the next generation of eco-friendly yoga mats. The closed-cell surface provides a stable practice with dry-grip. We are proud to say that Manduka’s eKO mat is manufactured without any toxic glues or foaming agents and is more durable than other natural rubber mats found in the marketplace.
The eKO® Series has a nice firm grip, does not need to be “broken in”, and is a bit softer for the joints making its beginner friendly. However, the trade-off is that since it is natural, it will not have as long of a lifespan as the PRO mats. The natural rubber will oxidise and break down with time, so you’ll also need to be more careful with the way you treat and store these mats. Use rubber friendly cleaning agents and never store your mat in the sun.
The eKO mat provides a perfect balance of grip and drag with a springy responsive ride. Perfect for anyone looking for a connections to earth during their practice. Our eKO mats are made of natural tree rubber and are more sensitive compared to mats that are made of synthetic materials, we therefore do not recommend this mat series for Ashtanga or intense Vinyasa practices as the mat will wear out faster. We recommend that Ashtanga practitioners look towards a PRO or PROlite mat, as it is designed to withstand vigorous flows lasting a lifetime.
For both mats Series PRO or eKO, we recommend pairing any of our mats with a yoga towel to which increases longevity, keeps your mat and hands dry and your practice in place. To learn how a yoga towel can be a game changer to your practice, please visit our Guide to Yoga Towels
In summary both these mats are brilliant but if you are looking for ultimate durability, comfort, performance and already have a good base in yoga then head over to TEAM PRO. Whereas if you are wanting a natural experience, grippier ride with a spongier support then TEAM eKO is waiting for you!
To help you decide, we went around our European office and asked the Manduka team which mats they prefer to practice on and why, to give you some insider knowledge.
Linda Lindgren - Customer Care
Favourite Mat: Manduka PROlite 4.7MM
"The PROlite is my most beloved yoga partner! I didn’t realise how bad my old yoga mats were until I got to try it. What I appreciate with the PROlite is the density and support of the mat, but also the easy maintenance. I can use it outdoors without worrying that it will get damaged and it is easily cleaned. I also like the smooth surface of the PROlite when laying down on the mat, in comparison to the eKO-mats which has a more textured feeling for the sake of the grip. Yoga has been a part of my life for over 10 years and I know how to work with my core as well as with putting pressure in my hands and fingers so slippage is rarely an issue for me. If I take a tougher class were I know I will start to sweat more, I usually have a Manduka hand towel on the side to quickly wipe my hands on and continue practicing."
Rebecca Levy - Sales
Favourite Mat: eKO Lite 4MM
"My go-to mat for years has been the eKO Lite 4mm mat. I like the 4mm thickness because it gives me more cushion than a thin travel mat, but is also lighter than 5mm or 6mm mats. I like that the eKO Lite is made of rubber, so I know that the product I’m using is a natural material that will eventually biodegrade when I’m done with it. I normally practice a strong vinyasa flow, but since I don’t sweat a ton and I generally have dry hands, the eKO grip is perfect for me. The rubber gives it a stickier feel than the PRO and PROlite, and I also like that it is a little softer and squishier on my joints. If I take a class that I know will get me particularly sweaty, I keep an eQua Hand Towel nearby so that I can use it under my hands on top of the mat, or just use it to wipe off a bit once my practice gets more heated. I also love that the eKO Lite mats come in beautiful marble colours"
Fanny Bausse - Marketing
Favourite Mat: PRO Travel 2.5MM
"My PRO Travel is my most used piece of equipment. I love the stability and the consistency the mat provides and how easy it is to carry to my local studio. I always take it with me to places as an extra hygiene barrier on Studio mats. The closed cell surface of the PRO makes caring for it really easy. Even after weekly outdoor sessions each spring/summer my PRO is still in top condition. Dirt, grass, sand stains disappear easily by rubbing a damp cloth with warm water after each use. I also prefer the PRO Travel as it not always easy to walk around with a mat rolled up for longer journey, the fact I can fold it up, throw it in my bag and head out is perfect!"