I mentioned in a previous post (THIS ONE if you'd like to go back and read) that I'd be doing a product review and then hosting a giveaway for a Yoga Direct Charter Oak Deluxe Scented Yoga Mat in Purple Haze.
As someone who firmly believes in the healing power behind almost all aspects of yoga, I was really excited and felt very privileged to review a yoga product. Tooting your own horn is nice, do it every once in a while. :)
I realize that I am reviewing the product and NOT the company, but I feel it necessary to mention the absolutely superb way in which CSN treated me. Upon receiving the email offering to send me something to review and/or giveaway, I told the rep that I felt dishonest giving away something and talking all sorts of awesome about a product that I had never tried. I asked if it were possible to do a review *and* a giveaway and the rep worked with me so we could accomplish this. Once it was shipped I was promptly emailed tracking information and they upgraded the shipping just so I'd get it quicker, with no prompting from me. Score one for customer service.
The first thing I noticed when I removed the mat from its packaging was that it looked BAD ASS. This is a *very* attractive yoga mat. That may not seem like such an important aspect, but would you want to sit on an ugly chair all day at work? No. Why would you want to improve your body and mind on an ugly mat? Common sense. :)
Here is a picture of the mat. I always like to see customer pictures because they are lacking the thousands of dollars in lighting equipment :P:
See? A photo taken by a complete amateur and the yoga mat still looks cool.
The *only* thing I think could be improved is the grip. Whenever I buy a new mat I like to do about an hours worth of Ashtanga Yoga on it, just to break it in. Usually, when you unroll the mat it takes a day or two for the ends to flatten, and I think the Ashtanga speeds up that process. I noticed, somewhere between a Downward-Facing Dog and Warrior-1 that I was slipping a bit. My hands had gotten *a little* sweaty and I felt a bit unstable because they would slide on the mat and it felt sort of sticky. This could easily be attributed to what I like to refer to as NMS: "new mat syndrome" :P.
A lot of mats need to be "broken in" and they are a little slimy feeling when you first use them. Because of this, I would recommend using workout gloves or putting baby powder on your palms before doing any yoga sequences on the mat, but this should only be a problem the first few uses.
My absolute favorite part about this mat was the smell. Whoever had the idea to make a Lavender scented yoga mat was a freaking genius. One of my least favorite things about any of the floor poses where you rest your head on the mat is the SMELL of the rubber. I find it really difficult to do the correct deep breathing when all I can smell is an intense, overwhelming stench of rubber.
Although I thought it was a brilliant concept, I was slightly apprehensive about the scented aspect of this mat because I don't know what's worse: the stench of intense, overwhelming rubber or the stench of intense, overwhelming perfume... both make my eyes water, both make it hard to breathe. And breathing is an integral part of the yoga practice.
I was pleasantly surprised to find that the scent was very subtle. It's just an underhint of lavender but it really does the trick. Lavender is one of the top calming/stress reducing scents when working with aromatherapy, and I think that it was the perfect choice to scent a yoga mat. I *loved* doing my floor poses and I was able to breathe deeply without coughing, choking, and smelling rubber grossness. I actually left it out in the living room for a few hours because the scent was so nice and it sort of spread to the surrounding areas without being overwhelming or too powerful. Haha, look at that, you can use it as a yoga mat AND a room freshener!
All in all, I'd say that for $18.99 this mat is a really good deal.
I will be hosting the giveaway starting tomorrow, so come back and see me!