As we become increasingly aware of the environment and the things we purchase and use, it's natural to be curious about what our belongings are made of. Implementing sustainability in all areas of our lives not only helps reduce our impact on the planet - it will save us money in the long run.
When it comes to yoga, we all need a mat. For many, it's tempting to buy a cheap one initially, but these mats don't last the distance, and old, worn yoga mats are likely to get thrown away without much thought. Sadly, most yoga mats are unable to biodegrade and will end up in a landfill.
Did you know that the majority of yoga mats are made from cheap plastic-based ingredients like PVC? Also known as vinyl, PVC (polyvinyl chloride) is a synthetic material created using salt and oil. Given that it is unable to biodegrade, it will be around for a very long time. PVC yoga mats usually always contain phthalates and BPA, both known for their potential health risks.
We get up close and personal with our yoga mat; our hands, feet, face, and limbs all make skin to mat contact, often with heat and sweat in the mix. It is entirely possible to absorb chemicals through a yoga mat made from cheap, toxic materials; in fact, we should assume that this is the case if we are using our mat regularly.
Though natural mats may seem like the ideal choice, man-made materials are not all bad. There are a range of non-natural materials that can be used for yoga mats, many of which have been manufactured to be more environmentally-friendly.
MAN-MADE FOR LIFE
If you're going to invest in a yoga mat for life, choose wisely.
The Manduka PRO® and the Manduka PRO®Lite mats are guaranteed to last a lifetime and have been certified safe for human contact by OEKO-TEX®*, a material certification agency in Europe for the textile industry.
Though man-made, these Manduka mats are manufactured through a process that ensures no toxic emissions are released into the atmosphere.
Your PRO® mat won't wear out, flake, or peel, and has a unique closed-cell surface for hygiene. The original PRO® is dense and thickly cushioned for joint comfort and even comes in an extra-long version for the tall yogis out there.
THE TOTALLY NATURAL ECO YOGA MAT
For a yoga mat that is genuinely 100% natural, you can't go past the Tribe Earth Me. Created from 100% natural sustainable rubber and jute, with no glues or synthetic additives, this functional mat has excellent grip and remains still and flat as you practice. Best of all, it's completely biodegradable and will eventually return to the earth where it came from.
Earth Me mats are manufactured in a factory that works to the Kyoto Protocol and employing a green production concept. The manufacturing processes have controlled measures of air, water, waste, toxicant, and noise to minimise environmental impact too!
N.B. An all natural rubber yoga mat is tough, but you do need to remember that they require gentle care and cannot be submerged in water or left in direct sunlight.
Make a conscious choice and opt to invest in a sustainable yoga mat that will last the distance.
If you're still unsure which mat is right for you, try our online interactive guide here.