Amy Robson gets her hands on the Myga Chakra Luxurious Vegan Suede Yoga Mat to see if the right mat can make all the difference to your own yoga practice as a runner.
Now we’re all runners here, right? We love our running. Run, run, run, run-run. Running is kind of our thing. But, running a lot and running for the long term are two very different things and, hopefully, you want to run for the long term. If that’s the case, then yoga might be a valuable tool in your running toolbox.
Now, this isn’t an article intended to sell you the idea of adding yoga in to your training – we’ll cover that in a separate article – but it is worth breaking things down briefly.
Benefits of yoga for runners
The most obvious benefit is that yoga is typically about allowing the body to stretch, lengthening the muscles that we will typically tighten during running and helping to identify areas that need addressing (through massage or foam rolling) or resting. Yoga also helps identify any imbalances in the body and try to help create a sense of awareness when it comes to these imbalances, which means you can address them before they create long-term injuries.
Yoga is also incredibly relaxing and although many of us might contest that running is a ‘stress relief’ method, it does still cause a considerable release of stress hormones in the body. The right yoga session can help counteract the release of these hormones and help the body flush them out ready for another quality run.
But quality is the name of the game when it comes to yoga mats too. I have tried entry-level yoga mats and I have tried luxury mats with lifelong guarantees – and the difference really is night and day. If you want a mat that supports your body, practice and mind, then it does pay to invest in something that is more aligned with your goals and individual needs.
The Myga touch
The Myga Chakra Luxurious Vegan Suede Yoga Mat comes with a few key ‘bonus points’ right from the get go.
For starters, it’s vegan, which is a lovely addition for vegan runners, but also for anyone who is environmentally conscious or just likes the sensation of suede but isn’t able (or willing) to use and maintain normal suede products.
The top section of it is made from a microfibre vegan suede, which feels sheer, grippy under foot/hands, and does that awesome thing suede does where you can scribble little fabric smiley faces in to it if you want (because I am a complete professional, naturally).
This material is designed to wear in the more you work and move on it, which means that over time your mat will literally become individually suited to meet your personal needs and movement style.
It also has a built-in anti-slip component, which makes it great for hot yoga sessions, for people who are prone to sweating (or those doing Ashtanga), and for pregnant individuals who might need additional support and stability during their practice.
Now, if you’re not a sweater but still require grip, you might find yourself asking, “Um, where is this grip exactly?” when you first start to use it. If this is you then don’t worry – all you need to do is give it a little spray with a water bottle or splash a little water on it and you’ll activate that additional grip. The bottom of this mat is made from a natural rubber, which equally grips surfaces very effectively.
Measurement-wise this yoga mat comes in at 183cm in length, 61cm in width, and has a thickness of 3mm. In terms of thickness this comes in at the thinner end of the spectrum, which means that if you’re nursing an injury or find that you need extra knee support (because, haha, we’re runners), then this might feel a little bit more unforgiving on hard surfaces. But honestly, given the quality of this mat, I would recommend buying a cheap thin mat to place underneath this one for extra thickness rather than buying a single cheap-but-chunky mat, because the two aren’t even comparable.The mat weights 2.65kg, which is a reasonable weight to carry to a session. It doesn’t come with any yoga straps, but most yoga mats won’t.
This mat handles incredibly well, allowing for a lot of grip and ample amount of support. Despite how grippy it is, this mat still feels wonderfully soft and supportive. Doing gentle, lying practices on this mat feels just as satisfying as throwing yourself through a rigorous sun salutation might.
For me a test of a mat’s integrity is always aided with a downward dog. After all, this is one of the motions that most of us will first struggle with in terms of posture and support as a beginner and yet it’s integral to a lot of practices.
A downward dog on this mat was an absolute delight and I felt fully able to explore the pose, linger in the position, and even ‘walk’ my dog without any stretch, slip or compromising from this mat. It essentially acts as a firm foundation for you to grow your own practice.
After a good session this mat is easy to clean by just spraying and wiping it dry with a soft cloth. If you need to clean it more, then use a cold wash on a gentle cycle with no bleach. This yoga mat might be using no-fade, water-based inks, but you still don’t want to test it to the limits.
Some people will tell you that mat design doesn’t matter. I can accept that to some degree. I personally know that I feel more relaxed with blue or cool-colour mats – I get more fired up when I use a bright mat – and I feel reassured when a mat has certain visual guides on it.
This mat comes with a beautiful lilac colouration with a marbled look akin to the semi-precious stone. Chakra markings adorn the central line of this yoga mat and the combination of these features provides a mat that looks relaxing to step on.
Whenever I’m doing warrior poses on this mat and I’m just not sure of myself I can easily glance down at the central chakra line and find what I need to do to realign myself. It’s not overbearing with its guidance; it simply invites you to use the midline if you want and leaves it at that.
Now, no product is perfect and this mat has its flaws. The biggest is the way that it picks up any debris in the area. You can be mid-practice and still find yourself sweeping off little bits of fluff or grit.
Really dynamic users might also find that the grip on this mat tethers them down and hinders foot movement or flows more than they would personally like, but this really does depend on the practice you’re doing. Even though this mat comes in an eco-friendly tube, there’s also no getting around the fact that the rubber used for this mat will leave an environmental foot print but, much as with the lack of strap, this could be said of pretty much any mat.
The Myga Chakra Luxurious Vegan Suede Yoga Mat is a gorgeous offering that is well presented and very well made for supporting and expanding long-term yoga practice.
If you’re the type of person who worries about slipping or know that you value grip, then this is a very good offering that will help you gain and maintain confidence on the mat. Because of its design you can use for all different types of yoga practice, be it a gentle practice, a sweaty one, or a hot room one, which means that you don’t have to worry about buying different mats for different situations.
I’m a strong advocate of the Myga Chakra Luxurious Vegan Suede Yoga Mat, and think it’s a firm contender for any runner looking to step on to the mat as well as hitting the trails.
Find out more at: https://myga-yoga.com/