Carrying a yoga mat can be awkward. Sticky mats are too long to fit in traditional â€œgymâ€ or workout bags, and it's not uncommon to see a yogi struggling to get the yoga studio door open, arms and hands full of props and a water bottle, with a yoga mat threatening to unfurl. The Ultimate Direction Lotus yoga mat carrier takes care of the mat, holds a water bottle for after class, has pockets for a few small essentials like car keys, and can help you not to get stressed out on your way to relax.
Unlike other yoga bags, which are top opening and require the entire mat to be inserted into a long, tubular sleeve, the Lotus is innovative and easy to operate. Two short pouches slip over each end of a standard size mat. The ends are connected via a narrow strap and a quick-release clip in the middle, making it easy to slide even the sweatiest mat into the bag carrier. Not having the mat fully enclosed allows a little air circulation still too. An adjustable shoulder strap enhanced with a sliding contoured pad is attached to each end of the bag. The strap is ergonomically designed to hang comfortably from one shoulder (with the mat hanging vertically), or to be worn messenger style across the chest. The strap also has an elasticized mesh pocket that makes it easy to reach a ringing cell phone (after class, we hope!) or an emergency snack.
The Lotus also has storage pockets on each end: On one side, there's a zippered mesh pocket big enough to hold something like a wallet or perhaps an eyebag and your class or membership card. There's also a clip for your car keys. On the other end, there's a cinching water bottle holder that comes with a standard issue Ultimate Direction Sportflask, but the holder will fit other regular size bottles too.
The Lotus takes the standard yoga bag to the next level. It's got more storage space than similar mat-only bags, but it's not a monster tote on its own. It's easier to get on and off, and is better ventilated so a wet mat can air out a little. However, we would have appreciated one pocket that provided a little privacy for wallet, ID, tampons, keys or other items we prefer to keep out of sight. We loved the venting design; however, you'll want to be careful where you toss this yoga bag because it won't protect your mat from dirt, dog hair or other debris that sometimes winds up in trunks, back seats or on closet shelves (or at least in or on ours!). With a few tweaks, this bag might even reach Nirvana.
SNEWS Rating: 4 hands clapping (1 to 5 hands clapping possible, with 5 clapping hands representing functional and design perfection)
Suggested retail: $20.00 (yoga mat not included)
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