The Yogini from Manila

Meet the CUCA Eco-Care yoga mat


I have several yoga mats at home. To be honest, I began with a generic, cheap mat since I did not know then, back in 2006, if I’d love it. When I began practicing on a regular basis, I transitioned to branded yoga mats. But each mat had its pros and cons.

One mat I own is a very popular brand. It’s one that will last me for many, many years. But it’s not a mat I can carry anywhere with me. In fact, when rolled up, it’s as heavy as a suitcase. It’s just good for home practice. I also have branded mats that are of normal mat thickness (4mm) and they just don’t work for kneeling asanas. I end up using 2 mats stacked one on top of the other. Then, there is the stickiness factor. I’ve tried mats that are so aesthetically appealing but when doing downward dogs my hands start slipping. Not. Safe. Such mats can be dangerous for those who need enough stickiness especially when doing inversions. And, here’s one more — length. Most mats have a standard length of 68 inches. Well, guess what happens when a tall person uses normal-sized mats! Not a problem though, haha.

Really, just think about the mats you own. What do you like and don’t like about them? I’m sure there are a few things you wish your mat had.

Well, I recently met Priscilla Aliwarga, “CEO on fire” of CUCA, who says she set out to create what is the closest to the perfect yoga mat.

As a Yoga Alliance Registered Teacher, Priscilla Aliwarga has also tried different kinds and brands of yoga mats. She said that the market had only two kinds of mats: the generic, cheap kind or, on the other end of the spectrum, the very expensive branded ones. She also felt that some of the mats she had been using did not have all the features she would have wanted. She wanted to create the ideal yoga mat — slip-proof, made from aseptic materials that were still completely biodegradable, beautiful, and affordable. So she set out to do just that and came up with the CUCA Eco-care yoga mat.

It’s interesting where the name CUCA comes from. Kuka is the Incan Goddess of Happiness and Well-Being. Priscilla told us this embodied what she wanted her company to be — a company “infused with the passion of people who strive for high performance, affordable, eco-friendly products, to empower you to get in touch with your inner self”.


Priscilla Aliwarga, CUCA's CEO on fire!

Priscilla Aliwarga, CUCA’s CEO on fire!


CUCA yoga mats

CUCA yoga mats

Here are just some of the features of the CUCA Eco-care yoga mat:

* Cutting-edge thermoplastic elastomer (TPE) fabric – I am almost sure that TPE will become the fabric for all superior yoga mats in the future. It is toxic-free (unlike PVC mats that have a very strong rubbery smell), latex-free, PVC-free, natural rubber-free. It is non-porous, which means mats do not absorb sweat and other things that can breed bacteria in the mat. It is also very light, making the yoga mat very portable. And it is recyclable and decomposes after a while.

* Superior grip – The CUCA mat is slip-proof. This is important to avoid possible injury from slipping when doing an inversion or standing asana.

* Dual-sided – All CUCA mats can be used on both sides and since both sides are slip-proof, they have floor grip no matter which side is used.

Double-sided texture of CUCA yoga mats

Double-sided texture of slip-proof CUCA yoga mats

* Ideal thickness – The regular thickness of yoga mats is 4mm. I have mats that are 8mm thick. Thin mats are easy to bring around but hard on knees.  Thick mats are gentler on the knees but difficult on balancing asanas because of their cushiony effect. So CUCA mats are 6mm thick, which Priscilla says she found as the ideal thickness to address all concerns.

* Perfect dimensions – People of all sizes, rejoice! A CUCA yoga mat has a length of 183cm (that’s 72 inches, a full 4 inches more than usual) and a width of 61cm (24 inches). No more head or feet off the mat! Plus, it only weighs 1.3 kg (2.86 lbs), making it so easy to carry.


Short yoga practice

A short (and sweaty) yoga practice demonstrated by Fitness First’s instructors, with Priscilla joining in.


I unwrapped a CUCA mat, went downward dog on it (no slips!), put it to my nose (no smell!), stood on it to check its cushiony feel, and lifted it to get a sense of the weight (very light!). First impressions: I love it! I suspect my yogi and yogini friends who also happened to be at the event love their mats too.

With yogi friends

With yogi friends Ginger, Nikki and JC


And look, CUCA mats come in several juicy colors! My next CUCA mat will definitely be that purple/pink combination!

Cuca mat colors

Vibrant CUCA mat colors (from CUCA’s Facebook photos)


This is my first ever yoga mat made of TPE so I’m pretty excited to use it regularly. Paired with it is this beautiful yoga mat bag made of Indo-Chinese cheongsam/Indian sari fabric, also from CUCA.

Yoga mat bag


CUCA yoga mats can be found at all Royal Sporting House and Reebok outlets.

Check CUCA out at the following sites:


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  1. can i buy cuca mats in california…or anywhere in the u.s.?

  2. hi mam, where can we get this mat here in philippines, i mean online.


  3. Finding the perfect mat that supports yoga practice is absolutely important! Yoga mat is a staple and I prefer those that don’t contain harmful toxins to make sure that I won’t be expose to chemicals while working out to cleanse my mind and body. 🙂

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