As I always say and believe, Filipino yogis are there for Filipino yogis.
True enough, a few good Pinoy souls out there have made it part of their life’s work to harness local talent and resources to make lovely, grounded products we can all use in our practice – including the most indispensable of all things, yoga mats. (VIEW: Filipino-made products for yogis)
Out of curiosity, I tried out practicing on the Diwata Hand-painted yoga mats and thought it would be useful to share my experience, as well as my experience with another local brand, Made for Movement. Here’s my take on it:
I admit that I may have a slight bias for the Made for Movement mats as, this is the mat I use for practice, teaching, resting, traveling… basically my Made for Movement mat is a life companion.
Run by yogis Tricia Gotamco and Erin Chu, their aim was to provide affordable props and clothes to the local market. They sell blocks, travel towels, skid-free practice towels, and of course, yoga mats.
Their Ultimat series is made with high density, biodegradable non-toxic PVC, with a close cell design. It comes in Queen (thickness: 4mm & dimension: 60cm x 180cm), King (thickness: 4mm & dimension: 66cm x 185cm) and Ace (thickness: 6mm & dimension: 66cm x 180cm)
Personally, I use the Queen Ultimat, in maroon. Here’s my experience of it:
Excellent cushioning – if you’ve got knobby knees or any kind of joint issues, you don’t really have to worry about it with the Ultimat. The mat is thick and dense, making for excellent cushioning against different kinds of surfaces. For some of my older students in private classes, I got the Ace Ultimat and it serves them perfectly fine on stone floors. It’s also thick enough that I’ve slept on my yoga mats for long periods without waking up with any aches or pains.
Perfect grip – I’ve tried the Jade Yoga mats and mats from Manduka via different friends and studios but I really found my perfect grip with my Made for Movement mat. One of the perfect tests for this I think is our downward dog – a very simple pose that comes at the start of almost every class. Once you get in your downward dog, you’ll sense right away if the mat’s grip is good for you or not. With my mat, I’ve never had the danger of slipping or sliding in any pose. Grip-wise and standing-poses wise, the mat also doesn’t have any “give,” meaning you don’t sink into it.
Very easy to clean – The surface of the PVC material is very easy to clean and it dries quick too. Since it’s a bit like rubber, no smells of sweat or cleansers stick to the mat for a very long time. In the same way, after practice you can wipe any sweat off the mat, roll it up, and save the cleaning for later without any real worries of ending up with a less than inviting aroma 🙂
I have nothing but great things to say about my Ultimat ♥
Unfortunately their Facebook page doesn’t seem to be so updated, but I’m sure if you’re interested they’d be reachable via the contact details in their About tab. They’re also sold in different studios.
I think Diwata mats are the coolest thing ever because they combine yoga, art, and advocacy.
Each mat stands out in vibrant color because each one is based on intricate wood paintings by designer Kathrine Alano. The beautiful images are what came from her process of healing and recovering as a victim of rape. In fact, each design has its own story which you can read about on the site. Today, she uses her art and the yoga mats to raise awareness about rape and encourage other victims to heal too.
Part of the proceeds from the sales of Diwata mats go towards EMPOWER, a safe space on the internet where victims can break their silence, join community, connect with councilors, and epower themselves through events and workshops. Absolutely beautiful ♥
*UPDATE: Katherine Anne of Diwata informed me through Facebook that they no longer produce mats with microfiber tops because of the grip issue I mention below. They now use microsuede.
The mat itself has the following features as described on the site:
- All natural rubber bottom
- 3mm thickness for great joint cushioning
Printed microfiber top that gives mats soft feel for comfort and functionality
- All materials used in the production of these yoga mats DO NOT contain any animal products.
- Great for Hot Yoga, eliminates the need for yoga towel
- Highly absorbent material, liquids do not soak into the mat on contact
- Heat transfer printing creates colorful and vibrant designs that do not fade during normal use
I borrowed the Diwata mat and used it in a Vinyasa flow class. Here’s my experience of it:
Excellent cushioning – As promised in their product description, the mat has great cushioning. Again, sensitive joints will not be a problem here. As a space to rest, it will even be better than the Made for Movement mat as the surfact of the Diwata mat is actually very soft
Extremely challenging grip – So if we’re continuing to take the downward dog as a measure for grip: in my first downward dog on the Diwata mat, I felt many different muscles turn on – muscles I don’t normally consciously over-engage in the pose. The grip of the mat hands-wise isn’t very non-slip. So, if you don’t press down on your fingerpads and engage your upper arms in downward dog, you will slip on this mat. At first I was a bit bothered since downward dog is a pose I’m used to getting into so easy and blissing out on. Having to exert extra effort on my grip brought me back into examining my method and forced me how to stay still and aligned in the pose without sliding forward. In this sense, I think it’s a great mat for a challenging practice. However, if you don’t feel like upping up the hardness level or you’re not yet at the level where you feel confident in your grip, perhaps think twice about using this mat without a skidless yoga towel.
Very soft, cushiony, fabric-like surface – Stepping on the Diwata mat feels a lot like stepping on carpeted ground. As they state, the surface is microfiber. It’s like having a built-in yoga towel that’s just as soft and plush as an Aquazorb. Don’t worry – it doesn’t have much “give,” despite being soft. Though you will feel your weight pressing down on the mat, your toes, heels, palms and feet will not sink into the mat. Personally, I don’t like using yoga towels because I don’t like the feeling of something damp underneath me in seated poses, supine poses, and especially not savasana – so this is where the Diwata mat didn’t work for me personally. If you don’t have my OC issue, then it should be no problem 🙂 I also observed that it becomes damp, even if you don’t necessarily drip sweat onto it. I was practicing in a full room where the air heated up and moistened after a while, because of that the fabric of the mat became damp too. I suppose the surface also makes for a longer-time drying when you clean it.
Diwata yoga mats can be bought from their site 🙂
It’s a great gift – like useful art for a cause.
Do you know of any other local mats I can test out and review? Do you have any other insights about these mats? Let me know in the comments below.
As usual, happy to share 🙂