Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Yoga Mat Review: Aquariann's Custom Gaiam Mat from Cafe Press

Growing up, the word yogi just meant a snack-stealing cartoon bear to me. I didn't take my first yoga class until college. Since then, I've tried several different yoga styles, from aerial yoga to svaroopa yoga to vinyasa yoga. Although many fitness studios provide mats, I bring my own. Not only are their extra mats quite plain, but who knows what germs from the last user are waiting to pounce on me like a bear on a picnic basket.

Unique Yoga MatI've been happily using a Gaiam yoga mat with a gray peony design for a few years. When I found out that Cafe Press had partnered with one of the best yoga mat brands out there to offer custom yoga mats, I lunged at the chance to design my own. One of my most popular drawings is an wolf angel in downward dog pose, how perfect is that for inspiration to practice yoga?!

Even though the original was drawn on an 3.5" x 2.5" art card, I was determined to make it work. I downloaded the size template from Cafe Press and added a blue sky gradient and extra stars in Photoshop. Then I uploaded it and had to tweak the contrast several more times before I was happy with how it looked on the gray color of the mat. Thank goodness for their preview tool, because it's hard to guess how different a piece will print on a non-white material.

I was a bit skeptical that the colors would turn out as bright as the preview claimed, as most yoga mats I've seen in stores only have monotone designs - but just look at it! I'm amazed at the detail, too. Did I mention how tiny the original art was compared to the 68" x 24" end result?! However, that is a lot of ink to put on a yoga mat. Obviously, over time and heavy use, the color may start to rub off. Not that that's going to stop me from using my unique yoga mat as much as possible! I've already done several of the Yoga Zone videos at home and the non-slip surface is helpful for both sitting and standing poses. I'm excited to design more cool yoga mats with simpler compositions that will look good on any of the other fun four mat colors, not just the gray option.

Make Custom Gifts at CafePress
I'm also looking forward to offering my art on other Cafe Press products, so bookmark my new Fantasy Art Shop. I've been hesitant about joining other print-on-demand sites because I can't afford to order all the products to test myself before proudly promoting them. I don't want a bad reputation for selling my art on cheap items. However, Cafe Press boasts 100% Satisfaction - they offer a 30-Day Money Back Guarantee so buyers have plenty of time to check items for color, high-quality and size for themselves. Cafe Press has a great Customer Service department. They even sent me a second yoga mat for free after I asked if the slightly off-center printing (I was the only one that noticed right away out of my entire belly dancing class) was something I had caused when creating the file. That unasked deed put my mind at ease that they really are committed to producing quality products.

Disclaimer: I received this free yoga mat in exchange for an honest review. If you think your product would harmonize with my whimsical ramblings, please contact me using the form on my blog sponsor page.


  1. I love the idea of having a yoga mat with fantasy artwork on it (my current Gaiam mat is a tree design). You should draw a yoga faerie... maybe one that would look good on green? ;)

    I've been pretty happy with the things I've received from Cafe Press. Other sites... not so much.

  2. This is really a beautiful idea. Love the painting you used for the design.

  3. I love it, AQ!! Can't wait to see what other designs you come up with for yoga mats.


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