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Hands-on Gear Review
Jade Harmony Professional Review
Cons: Open-cell technology absorbs moisture and oils, not durable.
Bottom line: Fantastic mat that doesn't hold up to heavy use.
Our testers loved the Jade Harmony Professional and it was a contender (and previous winner) for our Editors' Choice Award. Ultimately, the Manduka eKO won out over this model due to some durability issues we've had with the Harmony, which is its main downside. This mat is sticky, compact, and made with all-natural materials. It has great traction, both wet and dry, and even when the internal fires were raging and our palms were sweating we still stuck to it like a gecko. It's easy to transport, comfortable to lie on, and an all-around great mat. It's not well-suited to hot yoga, though; the rubber absorbs water (and sweat) and is slow to dry. If you prefer to practice at 100 F and above, check out our Top Pick for Hot Yoga, the Aurorae Synergy.
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Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
The Jade Harmony Professional is made with natural rubber sourced from rubber trees (non-synthetic). They won't disclose what else is in their mats other than to say there are no "PVCs, heavy metals or ozone depleting substances." They also state that all the mat's components are FDA approved "for use in rubber in continuous contact with food." Does this mean you can eat your mat? This mat is 74" long by 24" wide and 3/16" thick (4.72 mm). It weighs 4 lbs 9 oz and comes in Black, Midnight Blue, Olive, Purple, Slate Blue, Teal, Raspberry and Tibetan Orange, as well as three two-tone color options.
Jade recommends that you do not use this mat if you have a latex allergy. Natural rubber can contain trace amounts of latex proteins, so even though this mat is 99 percent latex-free it might still be a problem if you are sensitive to latex.
The Jade Harmony Professional was tied for the best dry traction in this review with the Manduka eKO. (Note — these mats have similar floor sides but different practicing sides, though we found the traction to be equally excellent on both.) The practicing side on this mat has a slightly ridged surface that gave us perfect traction. We stuck like glue during opposing poses, like Downward Facing Dog, and didn't experience any slipping or sliding of our hands.
When our bodies heat up during class and our palms start sweating, we need even more help from our mat to maintain traction. Not only did we test this mat during many vigorous classes where we started to perspire, but we also threw a cup of water on it to see how well we would stick when it was drenched. While this mat did not have quite as good wet traction as the Lululemon The Reversible Mat, it came pretty close. This mat has an open-cell' technology, which means it absorbs water (and sweat and oils, etc.) and is not the best choice for a hot yoga class. If you like to practice in the heat then go with the Aurorae Synergy or the Kulae Elite Hot Hybrid instead.
Comfort and Stability
The Jade Harmony Professional is 3/16" thick (4.72 mm) and provides all the support you need to cushion your knees or hips during various poses. This mat finds a great balance between being comfortable but not too squishy. A squishy mat makes standing balances more difficult, and if you're like us then balancing on one leg is already hard enough. We tried headstands, Bow Pose, cat/cow stretches on our knees, and were comfortably supported in all of them while remaining stable. If you like your mats extra plush and a little wider, both the Manduka eKO and Lululemon's The Reversible Mat feel slightly cushier than this one and are two inches wider.
We were not so impressed with the durability of this mat. After several months of use we began to see a lot of wear around the feet (which is a common area for wear, particularly from Vinyasa styles where you are repeatedly rolling over your toes). The traction was still maintained and we never noticed mat particles breaking off or between our toes, but this definitely shortens the lifespan of the mat. The ridges that provide such great traction seem to accelerate the wear, as we didn't notice the same level of wear on other rubber mats like the Manduka eKO and the Prana Revolution. No mat is going to last forever, but if you have a regular daily practice, then something beefy like the Manduka PRO is probably a better choice. Also, if you want to increase the longevity of this mat, be sure to never leave it in direct sunlight or a car for very long, as high heat and UV exposure break down the material.
While not the lightest mat in this review (4 lbs 9 oz), it does roll up compactly and is easy to tote around. It's twice as heavy as the Prana E.C.O. and Hugger Mugger Earth Elements, but we actually preferred taking it to class over those models, as it stays rolled up when you need it to. Compared to the Manduka PRO (almost 8 lbs), this mat feels like a feather in your bag.
Ease of Care
This mat was one of the more challenging ones to care for. If you like to wipe your mat down before or after each use, the sticky surface of this mat collects and hold small pieces of lint and animal hair (we tested this mat in a house with a cat and a dog and we're still trying to get the hairs out). The rubber material absorbs water, as well as oils, and occasionally needs a deep clean, say in a shower or bathtub, but cannot be left out in the sun to dry as that degrades the material. When we gave this mat a deep clean it took two full days to completely dry out, so you'll want to plan accordingly. The manufacturer says you can wash it in a front-loading washer on gentle if you don't have time for or dislike wrestling your mat in the shower.
This mat does have a strong odor at first, though not quite as strong as the rubber Prana Revolution and the polyurethane and rubber Lululemon The Reversible Mat. (We've had the Lululemon mat for four months and it still smells.) While the smell of this mat eventually dissipates, apparently if you want to accelerate the process you should place it in front of a fan. We didn't go that far, and are happy to report that the odor is not as strong after several months of use.
This mat is well-suited to most types of yoga. It keeps your hands and feet planted during vigorous Vinyasa classes, and provides enough support and cushion for restorative ones as well. The only type of practice we hesitate to use this mat for is Hot Yoga. This mat absorbs water and is slow to dry, so if you tend to sweat a lot in class you'll be lugging around a sodden mat that is sure to get stinky.
This mat retails for $75-80 (depending on the length purchased). While this is more expensive than some of the other mats out there, we feel the price is worth it. We've accumulated a stack of $20 mats over the years that are not comfortable and provide little traction. If you're looking to save a few dollars, our Best Buy winner, the Prana E.C.O., is a good choice and costs less than $50.
One of our testers, a long-time yoga practitioner and teacher, summed it up quite nicely: "I love this mat!" We couldn't agree more. There are many things to love about the Jade Harmony Professional. It has great wet and dry traction, is comfortable on the parts of you that need padding, and it's easy to roll up and tote around. It doesn't have as strong an odor as some of the other mats we tested, and we trust that whatever mystery components are used in this mat are safe and non-toxic. One last reason to love this mat — Jade plants a tree for every mat that they sell, and as of this writing have planted over 1.2 million trees. Ultimately, the Manduka eKO took the edge over this mat due to a slightly wider practice surface, better durability, and slightly better ease of care, but the Jade is still a great purchase.
Jade also make this mat in a wider 28" Harmony Mat XW ($93). If you prefer a thicker mat, the Jade Fusion Mat is 5/16" thick ($125). They also make an 1/8" thick Travel Mat ($60).
— Cam McKenzie Ring
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Most recent review: October 28, 2016
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