In practicing saucha (cleanliness, purity), I decided it was finally time to update my yoga mat. I’ve been using my lululemon The Mat for over 2 years in a sweaty Baptiste practice. There are stains that will never come out – my yogi stains if you will. It also possessed a sour stench and years of built up bacteria that would cause me to get pimples on my back (eww, I know…gross!). After completing my YTT at Be Luminous Yoga, I treated myself to a Liforme (pronounced “Life Form”) mat. I initially saw the Liforme mat on the famous Insta-yogi feeds such of Kino MacGregor and Kerri Verna. Due to the irresistible powers of social media marketing, I was very strongly inclined to see what the Liforme mat was all about.
In my 3-year relationship with yoga, I’ve practiced on all sorts of mats: paper thin travel mats, natural rubber with a sponge surface, hippie jute, cheap and flaky gym mats, and PVC ones. You name the mat, and I’ve probably tried it! I eventually narrowed down my yoga mat preference to two qualities: 1) it has to have decent grip, 2) it has to have cushioning and 3) has to be easy to clean.
My Liforme mat arrived within a week. It came in a large rectangular box and was neatly enclosed in a Liforme branded yoga mat bag. It was basically practice ready! I donated my older yoga mats (Manduka and Jade) to friends in hopes that they would use them to begin a regular yoga practice.
Liforme Mat Features:
- Thickness: 4.2 mm. This mat has cushion for my weary joints. It’s comfortable but also very firm, making it great for both supine and grounding poses as well as arm balances and inversions.
- Stickiness and texture: This mat has amazing grip. Aside from the alignment markers that is etched on the surface, the mat is also smooth. The stickiness of the mat will prevent me from splaying across the ground in warrior or downward dog.
- Price: $140 USD + $25 shipping to USA. The company is based out of the UK.
- Material: Liforme mats are composed of natural rubber and eco-friendly polyurethane – making it PVC free! The top layer is absorbent (similar to Lululemon’s The Mat) which is great for mat gripping. The mat also provides a lot of cushion compared to other mats.
- Eco-friendliness: The rubber is sustainable and naturally sourced and they also do not use any toxic adhesives. Their cardboard packaging is fully recyclable as well.
- Size & style: At 26.8” x 72.8” this mat is wider and longer than most mats. It has proprietary AlignForMe markers etched on the mat to assist in alignment for beginner (and advanced) yogis. The mat comes in grey, pink, blue and green!
I love the Liforme mat. It’s cushioned and has ample grip when dry or wet. The grip is similar to Lululemon’s “The Mat” without the overpowering smell. This mat is very eco=friendly as it uses body safe products in its creation. The mat is firm yet cushioning. I noticed that the mat absorbs my sweat, which allows the mat to maintain it’s grip throughout practice. This is especially helpful for Bikram and power vinyasa (heated) style practices. Liforme creator, James Armitage suggested that the mat would start to lose its grip after between 300 and 500 uses. I anticipate having to replace the man on an annual basis as I practice daily in a heated room. The life expectancy shortens the sweatier your practice, such as Bikram. The salt in sweat erodes the sticky, top layer of the mat. It’s a catch-22. Use a mat towel to prolong the life of the mat.
You can play with the alignment cues on it and see if your body is off center. I found the cues distracting. However, I know plenty of yogis that love this feature. I found myself constantly checking if my feet and hands were placed in the correct position. This distracted me out of the moment thus interrupting the flow of my practice. I prefer to focus on where my mind is during practice, than where the body should be.
The mat is very heavy, so it’s not a mat that you will want to carry around with you. Luckily, I practice in a studio where there are mat storage rentals. The included mat bag also has a strap to transport the mat across your torso if you don’t mind toting your mat around.
It’s not cheap! At $140 (plus $25 shipping to the US), the Liforme mat is one of the most expensive yoga mats on the market. It’s 25 percent more than its closest competitor, the Manduka Pro ($100 USD). ‘[Liforme] charges £100 for the mat because it’s a fair price tag based on what it costs to make,’ said James Armitage, creator of the mat. ‘We’re quite aware that the (price) is an eyebrow raiser for some people, but we’re confident that as people come to understand the benefits of the mat, they will realize the real value of the price tag. Our mat is substance over style.’ According to Yoga Journal, people are willing to spend top dollars on yoga gear. In 2013, Americans spent $27 billion on yoga products, an 87 percent increase over the previous five years (Yoga Journal, 2013). At the end of the day, the Liforme mat is for the serious yogi who is willing to make the investment in their practice.
Should I Buy a Liforme Mat?
I spoke to teachers and practitioners, and tested the mat myself. The overall verdict was positive – it’s grippy, has sound eco-credentials, and has unique and helpful (especially to beginners) alignment markers that assist with practice. Not to mention, the design of the mat stands out. The most appealing design element are the four diagonal lines around the center, which act as foot guides for standing poses (i.e. tadasana aka mountain pose). Since you can place your foot anywhere along the diagonal, this design accommodates a wide variety of alignment possibilities within different yoga styles. This mat is also the best suited for an evolving practice – it offers as much to an advanced student as a beginner.
Where to Buy a Lifeform Yoga Mat
If you’re a serious yogi, I highly recommend this yoga mat. If you don’t have top dollars to dish out just yet, I highly recommend Lululemon’s The Mat as a cheaper alternative (only $68 including free shipping).
Some tips to prolong your Liforme:
Prior to using your mat, it’s always a great idea to wash it first to get rid the new smell and possibly make the grip better from the start. Each Liforme mat comes with an instruction booklet on how to clean and care for your mat.
Wash your mat after every use to prolong its life and keep it fresh (keep practicing saucha). I use Mrs. Meyers All Purpose cleaner to clean my mat. I fill a bathtub about 2″, add the cleaner then hand scrub the surface of my mat. I then rinse it while I am showering or just under the faucet. Hang it over your shower curtain and it should usually dry within a day depending on external and internal temperatures. Roll it up and store it somewhere cool, as natural rubber deteriorates and stiffens in direct sunlight.
Hope this review answers a lot of your questions about the Liforme yoga mat. Please let me know your thoughts in the comments!
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