Aurorae Synergy Review
Cons: Not as much cushion as a regular 5mm mat, somewhat slippery when dry
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The Aurorae Synergy is a yoga mat/towel hybrid. It has a microfiber towel top surface that is bonded to a PER (Polymer Environmental Resin) bottom. The overall thickness is 5mm, and the mat is 72 inches long and 24 inches wide. It weighs 3 lbs 10 oz and comes in Amethyst, Emerald, Onyx, and Lapis colors. It also comes with a two-year guarantee if purchased from Aurorae and not a third party reseller.
The Aurorae Synergy didn't have the best marks of the bunch in the Dry Traction category. The chart below outlines how each mat scored in this metric, with the Synergy landing towards the bottom of the heap.
If you lay this mat out in a room temperature studio (70-75 degrees F) and try to do a Sun Salutation, you're not likely to be impressed with its dry traction. The microfiber towel upper does not have the same stickiness as some of the other mats in this review, like the Manduka eKO and the Jade Harmony. As a result, you might find your hands or feet slipping a bit in poses like Downward Facing Dog or Runner's Lunge. However, when you unroll this mat in a heated room, the added humidity instantly makes the towel stickier, and we had fairly good traction even before the sweat started flowing. If you only practice the Bikram-style of hot yoga, then the dry traction is not even really much of a concern, as there are few oppositional poses done on the mat that requires much traction. But for other Vinyasa-styles where you do (what feels like) a million Sun Salutations, good dry and wet traction is important.
If you plan on using this mat in a regular or gently heated room, try spraying the hand and feet areas with water prior to use. This will increase the traction and make some poses feel more secure.
This mat shines in the wet traction category, as shown in the chart below.
The temperature inside the hot room is blazing, and you've dripped a gallon of sweat onto your mat. Now you'll discover the real advantage of this mat/towel combo. The traction increases a lot, which is the opposite of most other sticky mats in this review, except for the Lululemon The Reversible Mat. But unlike using a separate towel over a regular mat, you don't have to deal with the towel shifting around or bunching up underfoot. Also, the entire bottom of the Aurorae Synergy's towel is bonded to the mat, unlike the Kulae Elite Hot Hybrid, which is only attached around the edges. This also results in better traction, with no bunching of the towel under your hands.
Comfort and Stability
The overall thickness of this towel/mat is 5mm, which means that it will offer slightly less cushion than a full 5mm mat. We could feel the difference comfort-wise between this mat and the plusher Lululemon The Reversible Mat, particularly when practicing on a wood floor and doing poses on our bellies or knees. The Aurorae Synergy does offer more cushion than the Kulae Elite Hot Hybrid, which is only 4mm thick, so if you know you need some extra cushioning on your bones or joints, this mat is a better bet. It's also very stable, which is key to doing poses on one leg, like Dandayamana Janushirasana (Standing Head to Knee) or Tuladandasana (Balancing Stick), and not too squishy underfoot.
If you have trouble keeping your balance during one-legged standing poses, try stepping to the side and doing them off your mat to see if that makes a difference. Even slim padding requires your feet to make micro-adjustments and can throw your balance off.
If you're wondering how this mat could stand up to repeated washings without falling apart, you're not alone. Both this and the Kulae Elite Hot Hybrid raised some eyebrows when we first started using them. They have similar (if not identical) bottoms, so some of what applies to one mat will apply to the other). But after dozens of uses and washes, we can report that they are both still in excellent shape. For the Aurorae Synergy, we noticed some dirt and grease stains on the mat (which may have come from a washing machine), but a little stain remover resolved that issue. The one issue that wasn't resolved was that we folded it to fit it in a suitcase for travel, and the mat now has a permanent crease down the middle. The Kulae model did not get this, perhaps because the towel and bottom are not bonded throughout the mat.
While we experienced some fading of the colors on both brands, we didn't notice much wear, and we used these mats extensively. We even had one tester complete a 30-day challenge on the Kulae (30 classes in 30 days!) and noticed no cracking or flaking on the bottom, and then we used the Synergy for an entire year at least once a week (washing it each time) and it is still in great shape as well. Finally, the Synergy does come with a two-year warranty, which is unheard of in the yoga mat world, so you can rest assured that your product will be replaced if it does start to fall apart.
The Synergy is one of the most portable mats in our review. Check out how it ranked in the portability chart shown here.
The Synergy wasn't the lightest or smallest mat in the review, but remained the one of the most portable, largely for what it replaces. At 3 lbs 10 oz, it is heavier than the Prana E.C.O. and Hugger Mugger Earth Elements (2 lbs 1 oz), but since it's replacing an extra towel we ended up with a lighter yoga bag overall. This mat is also a pound heavier than the Kulae Elite Hot Hybrid and rolls up slightly thicker, but we felt this extra pound was worth it considering the added cushioning that it provides.
Ease of Care
It doesn't get much easier than this mat when it comes to Ease of Care. Simply load it into your washing machine (front loader is best, but a top loader will still work), and hang it to dry. Yes, you do need to wash it every time you do hot yoga on it, or less often if not practicing in a heated room. Compared to wrestling a traditional mat in a washtub or spraying it down with diluted tea tree oil and hoping that does the trick, at least you know your mat is getting a deep clean every time you put it in the washing machine without having to use any elbow grease on your part. This eliminates the buildup of funky odors and organisms, a bane of hot yoga enthusiasts, and is seriously hassle-free. Note that we mostly tested these mats during a Las Vegas summer, and so a few hours outside (in the shade of course) was enough to dry the mat, but depending on your season and climate, it may take a full day for this mat to dry. We used it two days in a row on a trip up to the Pacific Northwest, and on the second day, the mat was still a little wet and squishy underfoot as it didn't dry out completely. For that reason, you'll probably want to invest in two of these mats if you have a daily heated practice.
If you don't practice yoga unless it's at least 100 degrees in the room with 40 percent humidity, then this is the mat for you, particularly if your studio has wood floors, as this mat offers slightly more cushion than the Kulae Elite Hot Hybrid. The way that the entire towel is bonded to the bottom mat makes this one better for hot Vinyasa styles, as well.
It's hard to accurately determine this mat's value because its price keeps changing! Since we've started this review, we've seen the list price fluctuate between $70 and $90, and the actual price between $50 and $60. If you can get this mat for the lower end of the price range, then it is indeed a good deal, as you are getting two products for the price of one. Even at the higher end, this mat is not excessively expensive, but it's not going to last for years as the Manduka PRO does.
The Aurorae Synergy mat, like hot yoga in general, is not for everyone. If you practice a Vinyasa-style in a non-heated room, then several other mats in this review are all a better choice. But, if you've jumped on the hot yoga train and love to sweat while you practice, then this mat is a game-changer. Not only is it easier to care for than a stinky traditional mat, but it's much nicer to practice on, as you'll never have to re-adjust your towel again. This is, hands down(ward dog), the best mat for hot yoga available today.
— Cam McKenzie Ring