To many, their yoga mat is their safe place, a familiar territory and their token yoga prop. Walking into class with your mat rolled up under your arm signifies a serious contemporary yogi has entered the building.
A yoga mat is more than just a fancy accessory to show off your awesome yogi skills. A yoga mat represents a space where our minds can experience relief from the stresses, distractions and unpredictable nature of daily life.
Did you know that not all yoga mats are created equal?
As much as standing on your yoga mat and completing your sequence may make you feel grounded, revitalized and on top of the world, the mat you’re standing on may actually be harming our beloved Mother Earth as well as our own health.
Many yoga mats are made from toxic PVC (polyvinyl chloride). PVC is cheap, easy to clean, flexible and can be altered to feel slightly sticky - perfect for yoga, right?!
There are many health concerns and reasons why we should steer clear of PVC mats.
We’re not saying that the only good yoga mat is an expensive one. That’s not the purpose of this message. However, sometimes the saying “you get what you pay for” really does apply.
What’s The Big Deal With PVC You Ask?
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, PVC can cause liver damage as well as affect the reproductive system, the central nervous system and even the respiratory system.
During the manufacturing process of making PVC, harmful chemicals and carcinogens are released. The chemicals added to many PVC plastics, including yoga mats, are called phthalates. Tweet - During the manufacturing process of making PVC, harmful chemicals and carcinogens are released.
Phthalates make your yoga mat non-slip, flexible, hold its color, give it shine and help it to last a long time.
Although we can’t necessarily see phthalates, we can easily inhale these chemicals without even realizing it.
We’ve done our research and have hunted down our picks for 5 of the most sustainable yoga mats on the market that won’t cause our bodies harm. Keep reading to see what we found!
Jade yoga mats are made from natural rubber, a renewable and sustainable resource, and are free from PVC or synthetic materials. Jade has a strong eco-friendly focus and even plants a tree for every yoga mat sold. For every mat produced from a rubber tree, a new tree is planted to replace the tree that was used. How cool is that!? And what an environmentally-conscious move!
Manduka believes they have the most durable natural yoga mats on the market. They are completely biodegradable and stand by their zero waste manufacturing process, using every piece of material down to the last scrap. We love the sound of that! Manduka is always on the lookout for innovative partnerships and new technologies that can be used to lighten their environmental footprint.
Now this is a cool idea. Suga yoga mats are made 100% from recycled wetsuits! The Suga brand encompassed both surfing and yoga culture and was originated by a Californian beach lover who struggled to find an environmentally friendly way to enjoy the things he loved - surfing and yoga. Fast forward a couple of years and Suga yoga mats was born. Suga hopes that by taking a leadership role from both an environmental and social standpoint, corporate and private citizens will be inspired to reduce their impacts on the natural ecosystem, too.
Gaiam has all bases covered when it comes to decking yourself out in the latest yoga gear. From gym bags to balancing disks, this company also produces yoga mats worth raving about. They take environmental responsibility very seriously. As well as selling awesome PVC-free yoga mats, Gaiam also has a carbon-neutral shipping program and plants thousands of trees to offset their carbon dioxide emissions.
If there’s one company that takes the idea of sustainability into their own hands it’s Yogasana. Yogasana’s mats are made from cotton and woven by hand by master weavers who take 10 days to make each yoga mat using zero electricity. Using locally grown cotton, non-toxic dyes, no child labor and local craftsman, Yogasana is definitely making its mark in the world of sustainable yoga mats.