I got the privilege of trying out a Kharma Khare yoga mat this last week while studying with Noah Mazé in LA. Twenty-two 300-hour-teacher-training focus pose classes later, I have a pretty good idea of how I feel about this mat. Made from recycled tires in a clean, environmentally friendly process, nobody can argue against this as a good environmental program just in itself. Check out their web site for more details on the how and why. I want to talk about my experience as an asana practitioner.
To preface this, I want to acknowledge that I sweat a lot–profusely when I’m practicing. One time, I had a sweet yoga teacher offer me a hanger and help to drip-dry my mat after a hard practice. I was using a regular mat and a Manduka eQua towel (also an awesome product) to cover it. Yeah, that type of sweat.
I slip on regular mats after only a little bit of practice. I have used my Lululemon The Mat with pretty good success, but after a bit too much sweat, it gets a little slippery too. I got the eQua towel to solve this problem by covering my mat up with a non-slip, microfiber towel, but as wonderful as the eQua is, it’s a towel that’s on top of my mat, it can get in the way sometimes, and once I soak it through, I’m working on a wet surface (sticking to it, but it’s still wet). My heart was drawn to the Kharma Khare company as soon as I learned about it. They’re just doing the right thing.
Now that I’ve tried the Kharma Khare mat, I’m pretty sure it’s my go-to mat most all of the time. It’s heavier than my Lululemon mat, but not significantly so. At first it felt hard, but that was deceptive. Really, it’s stable and firm, but if a small enough bone (elbow, knee, etc) pushes into the mat with enough weight, the mat gives nicely to cushion and protect. It’s rock-solid and non-slip. Dry, I didn’t slip. 4-5 hours of asana classes later, I didn’t slip. Sweat didn’t pool on the surface but instead was drawn away from the surface. My Lululemon mat does this too, but not as well. The feel is soft, almost velvety smooth. It allows me to slide over it easily, such as when sliding my front heel forward in Hanumanasana, without the feeling of tackiness that some mats have. The smell from a brand new mat was minimal–far less than the Lululemon mat which took months to finish it’s off-gassing of seemingly noxious fumes. The only negative I’ve found is that it takes longer to hang dry than my Lululemon mat.
If you ever need a replacement or a different mat from Kharma Khare, you can send back your old mat for 50% credit on a new mat. Right now, they even have a 30-day trial program. For $30, you get 30 days to try it out. If you keep it, you pay two more installments to bring you up to the regular price.
To wrap up, Kharma Khare’s mat is a little heavy, it feels great, it does not slip no matter how you sweat but is also not tacky, and you’re doing one more positive thing for the future of our planet. Now that’s Khare for your Kharma.