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Now that you’ve decided to get serious about yoga, it’s time to invest in a quality mat. How do you choose which one? The Gaiam Premium 6mm print yoga mat is a reversible version of the same mat I’ve used for 5 years and a great companion for at-home yoga. But is it right for you?
I’ve researched this top selling mat extensively. Read my review as I share what yogis like and dislike about this popular mat.
- Length = 68 inches (5ft 8″ or 173cm)
- Width = 24 inches (61cm)
The Gaiam premium 6mm is a standard length and width for a yoga mat.
I think this size works well for anyone up to 5ft 4 inches tall. I’ve read that you should aim to have an extra 6 inches or more to accommodate yoga moves comfortably and while that would be great, in my opinion a minimum 4 inches longer than your height is sufficient. (If you’re not completely sure how tall you are then get out the measuring tape.)
I’m above average height at 5 feet 6 inches tall (167cm) and find the standard length ok for most yoga moves. Sometimes however, if I’m not completely centered on the mat, my feet or head can spill over the edge in Shavasana pose. This can be distracting and not ideal when I’m trying to relax in a zen state! When it’s time to replace my mat I’ll definitely look for a longer length.
I don’t have any problems with the width of my mat but there are extra wide options if you prefer.
- 6mm or 1/4 inch (Twice as thick as a regular mat which is typically 1/8 inch)
I haven’t come across many complaints regarding the thickness of this mat and most agree it provides just the right amount of support for yoga workouts. The foam has plenty of “give” and is less jarring on joints than a regular mat yet still firm enough for balance poses.
One downside is that when rolled up, the mat is twice as bulky as a standard 1/8″ and heavier. Something to think about if you intend taking it often to a public class.
The extra thickness is excellent for me because I have ageing knee-bones that are knobby and cause me a lot of grief if I put too much pressure on them. Our local church has those unforgiving wooden kneelers and I struggle to last longer than a few seconds on them due to knee pain. I find with this mat I don’t need additional padding even when exercising on a hard floor.
I’ve looked everywhere for this information but can’t find a specific weight mentioned. I suspect it may vary slightly between mats because of the different patterned prints used. My yoga mat is printed on one side and weighs 3lbs so allow a fraction more for the reversible designs.
Gaiam has listed this as a lightweight yoga mat and I definitely agree. I can easily carry it from room to room tucked under one arm and it’s simple to roll up and store away. I have no problem packing up this mat at the end of practice.
Material used is tear resistant and extremely durable PVC. Not only is it lightweight, a mat made from this can last as long as 10 years before needing to be replaced.
PVC mats have a dense closed cell structure that repels moisture so won’t absorb body sweat. That means they don’t get heavier over time and they stay cleaner for longer.
My Gaiam mat has served me well through 5 years of daily asanas and still looks as good as new. It doesn’t have any flat spots anywhere, the print hasn’t faded and there are no obvious signs of flaking or deterioration of the surface. I expect to get another few years out of it yet.
There is a soft bubble-like texture to this mat which feels really comfortable under bare feet. It has a smooth finish (not rough at all) and a non-slip sheen. The mat itself is very malleable and flattens out quickly when unrolled.
Grip & Stickiness
Excellent grip on all types of flooring. I use mine on both carpet and tiles and always experience good traction.
Straight out of the packet I found the mat’s surface to be adequately tacky but it did take a bit of a break-in period to build up a nice amount of stickiness. If you find yours slippery at first use, Gaiam recommends a gentle clean with soapy water to remove any loose particles.
The only time I might slip during practice is occasionally during summer if the room is really hot and my hands are sweaty. On those days I will either put a towel on top of the mat or I’ll wear some grippy gloves. But 95% of the time I don’t need to do this.
If you perspire a lot and don’t like using a towel then this mat isn’t for you. Likewise for hot yoga. Being a closed cell mat means any moisture will stay on the surface and most likely have you slipping and sliding all over it. There are other options that are better suited and will give you more stability.
Design Features of Gaiam Premium 6mm Yoga Mats
Each mat is reversible and there are more than 15 gorgeous print combinations to choose from. Many are designed to assist with alignment of hands and feet. Let your mood decide which pattern to use each day. By alternating sides there is the potential to extend the life of the mat especially if you also roll up a different way each time.
The double-sided print does however have a downside and it is a recurring criticism for this yoga mat. It stinks! Lots of buyers have mentioned the strong overpowering odor that emanates from the mat when first opened. Some say it disappears after a couple of days, others say a week, for a small few it doesn’t go away and they end up returning for a refund.
Gaiam has acknowledged the smell on their website and claim it is a harmless by-product of the printing process. They suggest airing the mat for 2-3 days before use and if still present, clean with a damp cloth dipped in cold water and mild detergent. Some yogis have solved the problem quickly by using a scented mat spray.
For the majority of buyers, the unpleasant smell is a temporary issue which disappears in a few days.
Some PVC mats contain chemical additives which can be toxic to humans. However Gaiam PVC mats are non-toxic and free of 6 harmful phthalates (6P) found in other brands. They are also latex free. PVC mats are not bio-degradable but this can be offset to some degree by being one of the most durable types on the market. Gaiam premium yoga mats can last as many as 10 years before needing to be replaced.
The Gaiam Premium 6mm Reversible Print Yoga Mat doesn’t come with a carry strap or bag which to be honest is disappointing. Even home yogis want to travel with their mat every now and then. For a few dollars you can purchase one separately.
Being relatively thick, this mat is a tad bulky when rolled up but still lightweight. I have no trouble carrying it or packing in the car for holidays. If I’m travelling by plane however, I prefer to take a foldable travel mat.
Cleaning and Care
As PVC mats don’t absorb moisture, maintenance of this Gaiam mat is super easy.
For regular cleaning use a spray bottle filled with soapy water and spray both sides of the mat. Wipe down with a slightly damp cloth to clean. Hang to air dry.
Once or twice a month, disinfect with a 50/50 mix of water and vinegar plus add a few drops of tea tree oil. If you don’t want to make your own, buy a pre-made yoga mat disinfectant spray.
When not in use, store rolled up. Keep out of direct sunlight and never leave in a hot vehicle.
Gaiam advertise that with every purchase comes a free yoga workout to download and get things started. You can access this directly from their website even without purchasing.
For a monthly fee they also offer a subscription app which has over 100 yoga class videos and a 7 day free trial.
Gaiam really stand by their product by offering a lifetime guarantee.
If at any time you believe your yoga mat is defective they invite you to complete a claim for replacement. This offer is valid for US residents only and covers defects in materials and workmanship for the life of the mat.
The guarantee does not include normal wear and tear.
- 6mm thick cushioning
- Flattens quickly when unrolled
- Long lasting / durable
- Tear resistant
- Good grip on all floors
- Non-slip surface
- Repels moisture
- Reversible print – multiple unique designs to choose from
- Easy to clean
- Non toxic / Latex & 6P free
- Free downloadable yoga workout
- Lifetime guarantee for US residents
- Bulky when rolled
- Strong smell at first
- No carry strap or bag
- Not suitable for sweaty or hot yoga without a towel
There are thousands of ratings and reviews for this product online and feedback is overwhelmingly positive.
Gaiam has established itself as a leader in the yoga niche and customers clearly feel confident when buying. Combine that with a lifetime guarantee and any risk is minimal.
I have read hundreds of reviews on multiple websites and the few concerns that get mentioned repeatedly have all been documented here.
Gaiam Premium 6mm Reversible Yoga Mat Price
Price is very affordable and surprisingly on the lower end for a yoga mat of this quality. Considering it comes 2-sided and will last you for many years, I think it is very good value for money.
The Gaiam premium 6mm reversible yoga mat is an excellent choice for home yogis looking for a durable, standard sized mat with extra cushioning and visual appeal. It has good grip and stickiness for gentle to moderately paced exercise. If you’re a sweaty yogi who enjoys high intensity workouts such as Vinyasa, Bikram or hot yoga, you may also need a towel to avoid slipping.
Reports of a strong smell when first unpacked are common. This normally disappears after airing. The budget priced Gaiam 6mm reversible mat does not come with a carry strap however one can be purchased separately.