Favorite Things: Kosha Covers

Recently, I got invited to try out a several new products from Kosha. The main draw was the chance to try out an item called a mat cover. It looks like this:

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The idea behind the mat cover is simple: You take your standard sized rubber mat and place it inside the cover. There is a zipper on the backside of the cover (about halfway down) that allows the mat to remain enclosed and stable. Once you have your mat inside, you do your practice on top of the mat cover. No towel needed!

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Zips across the back of the cover.

Now, I’ve tried out various products that don’t require towels. At the time I was asked to review this I was already using a mat that did not require a towel at all. So while the idea of not having to use a towel may appeal to some, that wasn’t the big draw for me. Kosha made some claims about their mat cover that really excited me. They were:

  • anti-bacterial
  • odor-resistant
  • water absorbent
  • slip-resistant
  • machine washer/dryer safe
  • eco-friendly

All of these appealed to me, and I was very interested about the odor-resistant claim. While I do have several mats that do not require a towel (and one that I am only supposed to wash one-two days per week), they all stink at some level. Even the one that I am not supposed to wash every day always gets a little funky.

I was very excited then to try to make my Kosha mat stink. In fact, my number one goal was to make this mat cover stink.

In talking with Ash, the founder of Kosha, my initial understanding was that I could practice on the mat for about seven classes before taking the over off and washing it. I spent the entire week set up in the swamp section of the room. As luck would have it, I was practicing during a heat wave which resulted in the room being anywhere from 105-110 degrees and 40-50% humidity.

I sweated all over that mat cover.

For the first few classes, I found that the cover absorbed buckets and buckets of my sweat. It was also not smelling. Each day I would return to the studio and sniff my mat (actually I would inhale it). At some point I started asking other people to smell it. I’m sure everyone thought this was very strange. But it really didn’t smell!

Around class four or five, I started noticing puddles forming on my mat. By class seven I was laying in a small river. The mat cover still did not smell.

I shared my experience with the puddling with Ash who responded:

I have had one other person tell me before how the cover would start to puddle, and I too noticed that on mine, but that was when I once waited 2 weeks to wash it. I believe with people who sweat a lot (or like you being in a part of the room to make yourself sweat as much as possible to test 🙂 ) than washing needs to be every 2-3 days because of the level of coating we use. When the other person who told me that and myself started washing after 2-3 sessions, we did not have the problem anymore. 
1. When did you notice the puddling? On day 3 and than continued to stay puddle for the rest of the days? 
The absorbency has to do with the coating, we used a level 3 for our covers to satisfy the masses. We are going to come out with a level 4/5 for people who sweat a lot more soon to help with that problem! 
So, with the above in mind I went back for a seven day retest. This time around, the heat wave had ended and class was at it’s normal 105/40%. I still practiced in the swamp though. This time I wasn’t interested in trying to get the mat to stink (I had given up on that), and was focused more on the puddling issue.
Under normal Bikram conditions, I did not notice any puddling until the end of class five. Even then, it was very slight. I washed the cover and the puddling stopped. My conclusion is that Ash was right. If you notice a puddle at the end of class, just take it home and wash it and then it will go back to not puddling. You should be able to get at least four solid classes out of it before having to wash it. And no, I never got the mat cover to stink.
Other Things I Loved
While my main goal was to make the cover stink, it never started to smell. That’s awesome! But here are some other great things you should know about it:
  • once the rubber mat is inside the cover, you do not have to worry about it. it will not get wet. I know, I unzipped mine in the middle of class to check. even when I had the puddling issue, the mat still did not get wet.
  • washing and drying the cover are super simple. The cover can be washed in any kind of washer because it just folds up and goes in like a towel.
  • it will not bang the crap out of your washer and dryer. it’s far too light to do any damage
  • you can clean your cover between sessions. I explained to Ash that I had the studio clean and store my mat and she said:

Yes, it is okay if the studio sprays down the cover as long as the spray does not have bleach or harsh chemicals in them (they will destroy the product’s longevity). All of our products can be spot cleaned with only soap and water, or natural oils, in between washings.

Ash also said that you can hang the mat to dry, and it will typically dry within an hour. I didn’t know that because I spoiled myself with a mat cleaning service.

Some More Fun Facts

I haven’t said much about the eco-friendly aspect of the mat cover. Probably because I was so hung up on the fact that I couldn’t get it to smell! In creating the cover, Kosha worked with a company that would not bring any harm to the environment. In discussing their approach to creating the cover, the Kosha web site states:

Kosha fabric is a bamboo polyester blend.   Besides being a natural resource, we also choose to use our trademarked fabric for the following reasons:
1. Kosha fabric   is highly water-absorbent taking in 3-4 times more moisture than cotton.
2. Kosha fabric is a natural fiber, meaning it has been grown without the use of pesticides and herbicides.
3. Kosha fabric is very lightweight and strong.
4. Both the bottom fabric and coating are highly specialized and free of toxic chemicals.

It’s a bamboo/polyester blend (read even more here)!While this is great for the reasons they cited, do you know what else is great about it? The mat cover is super soft. I had several people stand on the mat cover (and some who just wanted to fondle it!) and everyone agreed on the softness of it. Another nice thing I noticed is that the rubber mat inside the cover does not move at all once you get it in, and the cover does not bunch up or slip on the floor.

All my other mats bunch up to some extent. In fact, the one I had been using prior always bunched up during the warm-up series. I had this habit of jerking it back to straighten it out when we got to party time. I jerked my mat cover to straighten it out (out of habit) and the only thing that happened was I jerked the whole thing across the floor and looked rather silly. It didn’t need to be fixed at all.

My Conclusion

This mat cover may be the best thing since sliced bread. It is truly amazing. You can use it for days on end, and it will never smell. At all. Not even the tiniest bit. It’s super soft and easy to wash and dry. It doesn’t slip or bunch up. This is the first time I have never had an issue with my mat. It seems like I always have a slight issue – be it bunching or a slight odor after a few days – but this mat cover has taken all that away.

Want To Try It?
Interested in trying a Kosha mat cover? You can go here and grab one! You’ll notice that they have other products besides the cover. In two weeks, I’ll be sharing with you my experiences on using their mat bag and tote (LOVE!). Kosha sells the Ultimate Bikram Yoga Package which gives you all of this.
And good news! Kosha is giving you 20% off any and all of their products. Just use mybikramyogalife as your coupon code when you check out!
Enjoy!
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