Sustainable Yoga Mat: The Best Options for Your Wellbeing

Ailen Berezin 2021-09-19 11 min

How wonderful is Yoga practice? Isn’t it one of the best practices to soothe the mind as well as the body? I’ve found yoga practice to be completely aligned with a sustainable lifestyle. It makes us focus on the body, the mind and the spirit as well as being aware of the nature around us and being present. But I’ve also found that sometimes, the tools that we use to practice are not sustainable at all! So in this article I’m gonna share my insight about Sustainable Yoga Mat options that will also help you improve your wellbeing. pexels-ivan-samkov-7900294As with many things that we collect these days, yoga mats can damage the environment by emitting greenhouse gasses as well. You might be wondering how this millenarian practice could harm the environment.

Well, to fully practice yoga you might choose to use a yoga mat. A yoga mat is a specially designed mat that prevents hands and feet from slipping or falling while practicing different asanas. Because, mats are made specially out of PVC, a petroleum based material that helps you with your grip and it is also super easy to clean and transport for it is super lightweight.

Most of the commonly used yoga mats are made out of PVC, you can check by just smelling your yoga mat and recognizing that particular plastic smell that increases its intensity when heated. No matter how often you practice yoga, you will be spending lots of hours on your mat, breathing particles of this component and also sending it to our atmosphere.

In order to make yoga mats flexible and easy to move, manufacturers add phthalates, a plasticizer to it. This has been linked to cause different health problems such as asthma, fertility problems, cancer and birth defects, exactly because your body can get these toxins from skin contact or inhalation.

Also, PVC is not recyclable. So if you didn’t think about the impact you can cause on the environment only by choosing a yoga mat, you might want to think about it again. Not only because of the environment but also because of your own health.

Luckily for us and planet Earth, there are now different sustainable yoga mats options that are simply great. There are a few things that you should check up before buying a sustainable yoga mat and I’ll explain them right below here.

  • Materials: Always check which kind of materials your yoga mat is made out from. As I’ve said before, you might want to avoid PVC yoga mats. Even if the manufacturer claims that their yoga mats are PVC FREE, check which the components of the mats are, because some alternatives to PVC are just the same (PER & TPE materials are as harmful as pvc). If you are buying “natural rubber” yoga mats, double check how that natural rubber was taken from the trees. Just because it is important that the whole process of manufacturing a yoga mat is sustainable. There is no point in buying a PVC free, natural rubber yoga mat if the rubber has been taken from illegal harvesting.
  • Recycling: Always check whether your yoga mat is recyclable or not. It is a key point because when you improve on your yoga practice, you might want to upgrade your materials and this includes the mat. Sustainable Yoga mats are always recyclable.
  • Utility: We are looking at sustainability here but we also need to check if the mat is actually great for yoga. We need the mat to have a good grip, be easy to transport and fold.

So far I’ve tried a few yoga mats and here are my top choices, you can have a look at the full review below.

Our Top Pick: Sustainable Yoga Mats

Best Cork Sustainable Yoga Mat: Hautest Health Cork and Natural Rubber Yoga Mat

Cork is a great alternative to toxic-manufactured components of regular yoga mats. You can get a Sustainable Yoga mat made out from cork and get your practice even better. Buy on Amazon

Best Travel Sustainable Yoga Mat: Manduka eKO Superlite Travel Yoga Mat

If you are like me, a traveler either for work or for fun, you can find this sustainable yoga mat your best practice buddy. Easy to fold and transport I would recommend it 100%. Buy on Amazon

Best for Hot Yoga Sustainable Yoga Mat: Gaiam Cork Yoga Mat

Have you ever heard about hot yoga? if not, you can check our article Hot Yoga: Science-Based facts about Its Health Benefits. But If you are already into it, keep on reading to know why this is the best yoga mat to practice hot yoga. Buy on Amazon

Best Organic Sustainable Yoga Mat: Ajna Organic Yoga Mat

When we talk about sustainability we also check that the components of the mats are organic. Organic components are also hypoallergenic and make things healthier. This is a great option if you are looking for a Sustainable and organic yoga mat. Buy on Amazon

Best rubber Sustainable Yoga Mat: Jade Travel Yoga Mat

This mat provides one of the best grips I've ever tried. It also comes in different colors, so you can get to pick the one that best matches your personality. Buy on Amazon

The following is a full review of each product.

Best Cork Sustainable Yoga Mat: Hautest Health Cork and Natural Rubber Yoga Mat

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Sustainable Warriors Score 5 5

Buy on Amazon

What I Like

  • Biodegradable
  • Carrying strap included
  • Antibacterial

What I Don't Like

  • Might need a change soon enough
  • No colors available

This yoga mat is made out from one layer of natural cork and a second layer of natural rubber. Cork is a great biodegradable component which is also antibacterial. Natural cork comes from oak trees, and when used sustainable it is a great option because it also helps with reabsorbing CO2.

In this case, using cork means that even if you sweat a lot during your yoga practice, your mat won't smell funny at all because of it antibacterial properties. And even if you would like to clean it up after each practice, you will just need to spray it a little bit, wipe it and lay it into sunshine for it to dry.

Also, when wet cork improves its grip, turning itself into a great component to practice yoga on. But, be careful because too much wet can turn it a little bit slippery, so I would keep an eye onto that.

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I've found this cork Sustainable Yoga Mat to be a great alternative to toxic yoga mats. Natural cork has become really popular through time and it is also a material that you can rely on. Big downside to is could be that, as cork is natural it might get a little bit damaged with everyday use. But I wouldn't worry so much about it because it is a great mat not only for yoga but also for any type of exercise.

It is fully plastic and pvc free, recyclable and easy to carry around.

Best Travel Sustainable Yoga Mat: Manduka eKO Superlite Travel Yoga Mat

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Sustainable Warriors Score

5 5Buy on Amazon

What I Like

  • Super lite
  • Textured surface
  • Foldable

What I Don't Like

  • Extra thin

I've heard and read about this sustainable yoga mat brand before but it was not long ago when I've tried it for the first time. And it is simply amazing! Manduka has a full line of signature sustainable and biodegradable yoga mats. They've released a mat for each type of yoga you can even imagine.

These mats are made from sustainably harvested natural rubber and they are not processed with any toxic components such as pvc or latex. The surface of the mat is textured, improving the quality of the grip each time you use it. It grips, a lot!

One of the key points why I liked this mat so much is because you can easily fold it or roll it and carry it anywhere. For those who travel a lot but would like to have its own yoga mat, this is extremely important. So, extra points for that. Plus, you can keep it anywhere at home that it won't take much space either.

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Big downside for this mat is how thin it is. I believe it has been designed either for traveling or to be used on top of another, more cushioned mat. From my perspective, it is a great mat and I would choose it over and over again. But to be honest, it is way too thin and might hurt my knees every now and then.

I simply like its design, the colors available, the firm and nice grip feeling you get with it. Manduka has a full line of sustainable yoga mats and you can get to choose which one is best for your practice.

Best for Hot Yoga Sustainable Yoga Mat: Gaiam Cork Yoga Mat

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Sustainable Warriors Score 4 5Buy on Amazon

What I Like

  • Easy to clean

What I Don't Like

  • Dodgy folding

Hot yoga is basically the practice of Yoga in a hot and humid environment. In this kind of environment, your body will increase its heart rate and your muscles will start to loosen faster. Hot yoga is also linked to weight lose and increased flexibility.

The reason why this would be the perfect sustainable yoga mat for anyone practicing hot yoga is because as one of its natural properties, cork will expand with heat improving the mat's grip. How exciting is this?

You can get a great tool for your yoga practice while taking good care of the environment. As mentioned before, cork is a great material because it is antibacterial, antifungal, and it keeps odors and dirt away from it.

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Overall, this Gaiam mat is a great option for those doing hot yoga. It is thick and it doesn't smell. one side of the mat is made out of natural rubber which allows the mat to stay in place during the whole practice. Even though I've read about some bad experiences, I think it is a great mat for a reasonable price.

Best Organic Sustainable Yoga Mat: Ajna Organic Yoga Mat

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Sustainable Warriors Score4 5Buy on Amazon

What I Like

  • Beautiful designs
  • Jute Materials

What I Don't Like

  • Might not last forever

Just the alternative that everyone was waiting for, the Ajna yoga mat is made from natural and organic fibers turning it super sustainable and recyclable. Organic fibers also make this mat hypoallergenic, as it doesn't come with toxic smells.

When I tried this mat I could really feel that the thickness of this mat was not casual. It was originally thought and designed in order to help you get a nice balance without hurting your knees or feet. You can rely on this mat as it will support your whole body.

The Ajna organic yoga mat has been designed to flat as soon as you place it on the floor and also to be able to curve enough so you can transport it around places. It comes with a free strap to carry it anywhere you want, and it is also super light weight.

The integrity of this brand is another key point, the brand promises they plant a tree for every yoga mat sold and this makes perfect sense. No only is yoga practice great for the body, but also it helps us being present and mindful about the environment as well. So why don't check this yoga mat up?

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It is really hard to find a Jute yoga mat that has this kind of grip. Grips are important in yoga practice, and plastic-free yoga mats with good grips are rarely to find. So I wouldn't doubt about getting it.

Extra: You can choose the color that you like the most and you will receive your yoga mat in a nice rounded packaging that is just a super plus!

Best Rubber Sustainable Yoga Mat: Jade Travel Yoga Mat

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Sustainable Warriors Score4 5Buy on Amazon

What I Like

  • Quality
  • Grip

What I Don't Like

  • There are cheaper ones in the market

Not many people know that Rubber is a natural material. And if it is harvested in a sustainable way, rubber is fully renewable and recyclable. Fun fact: you can even decompose rubber! If you are into yoga, you might have heard about Jade Yoga Mats. They have become super popular and there is a reason why: These yoga mats are fascinating.

They are fully compostable, renewable, easy to fold and transport, and also the grip is firm! Isn't this everything that you are looking for in a yoga mat?

Also, it is fully designed and made in the USA, so if you ever have a problem with it you just need to ask them how to proceed to get a new one. A tree is planted for every yoga mat sold, which is also a nice and thought idea.

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This is a super cushioned Yoga mat, ideal for anyone into Yoga. You can find this mat in different colors such as orange, red, green, blue and whatnot. So, there is a yoga mat for each personality around.

Even though the brand claims that these yoga mats are fully sustainable and free of nasty chemicals, when exposed to the sun, the mat can release some random smells. This is the one thing I would keep my eye onto if getting this mat for my daily practice.

Yoga Practice is an amazing technique for the body, the mind and the spirit. Practicing while taking care of the environment, is even better. Namasté.

Ailen Berezin

Writer & Content creator - Globe trotter - Book worm

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