The Manduka 71″ Black Mat is in a league of its own. If you do any kind of serious, physical yoga, this is the mat for you.
Initially, I was worried about getting a Manduka because I thought the thickness would be problematic. Personally, I like to feel connected to the floor when I’m practicing, and I feared that such a thick mat would make me feel like I was doing yoga on a carpet. If you’ve ever tried doing yoga on a carpet, you’ll know (a) how difficult it is to find your balance, and (b) how hard it can be on your joints. To my great surprise, though, practicing on the Manduka is not anything like practicing on carpet. The thickness of the mat is no problem given its density, and you feel even more connected to the floor on this 3/16″ thick mat that you do on many thinner mats.
Cons: The mat is not environmentally friendly. But it will last for a very long time, so you won’t be buying a new mat every 6-8 months, as I had previously been doing with certain “eco-friendly” mats. Some people also have a problem with the Black Mat’s weight (roughly 7 lbs.), but personally I don’t see what the issue is.
Pros: Sticky, but not too much so. Very well-constructed; will stand up to rigorous Ashtanga and Ashtanga-based flow yoga for several years. Doesn’t absorb sweat really well, so it’s easy to clean. Feels solid under your feet. Won’t get bunched up or slide around on the floor while you’re doing yoga.
I’ve tried probably 10 or 15 different yoga mats in my lifetime, and the Manduka Black Mat is easily the best. It’s also perhaps the most expensive, but totally worth it.