Jade Harmony Review
Cons: Open-cell technology absorbs moisture and oils, not durable
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The Jade Harmony is made of 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.
The Jade Harmony has the best dry traction in this review. It has a slightly ridged surface that is sticky, and once you put your hands down and push, they won't move. 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 Harmony 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 we 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 good, and we never noticed mat particles breaking off or between our toes, but this 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 will 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 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 dry out completely, 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/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 retails for $80-85 (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.
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. 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 has planted over 1.2 million trees. Ultimately, the Manduka eKO took the edge over this mat due to a slightly wider practice surface, and slightly better ease of care, but the Jade Harmony is still a great purchase.
— Cam McKenzie Ring