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Green Yoga Mats

When we go to a yoga class, we work to re-oxygenate our bodies with heart opening breathing exercises, inhale deeply, and breath in clean refreshing pure air. Unfortunately, many yoga mats are made of toxic materials that seep into the air. Worse yet, is hot yoga classes are often not ventilated. The best way to purify a yoga studio is to switch to eco riendly mats, educating each yogi that signs up for a class about the benefits of green mats and only carrying them in house. As I’ve said many times before, yoga is one of the most rejuvenating, restoring, enlivening and uplifting kinds of exercise out there. What many are unaware of is just how toxic many yoga supplies may be. Articles like this one from the Green Yoga Association help clear the air as to what is good for our healing studios.

There are a good many options out there, and I’ll share my long time favorite the Harmony mat (some say they slip more on this rubber mat but personally I like the ability to grip and stretch the mat as I ease into form) which most yoga places carry. From the Jade Harmony Mat site~

Harmony is Green
Harmony is constructed of natural rubber a renewable resource tapped from rubber trees – containing no PVC or ozone depleting substances – perfect for the yogi concerned about the environment.

To be more complete, here is a long list of some green options out there for yoga mats:

1. Harmony’s PVC-free Jade yoga mats~ “The natural choice is the Harmony™ mat from Jade. Harmony™ brings together natural rubber from the Far East, one of the earth’s most amazing natural resources, and Western technology to form a mat that is perfect for your yoga practice.”

2. Natural dried grass yoga mat with a natural latex backing~ “the Natural Serrations of the dried grass help you maintain grip without providing artificial ‘sticky’ support. It is exclusively designed for helping you work towards a balance.”

3. PER new environmentally friendly Yoga mat~ “made of “PER” (Polymer Environmental Resin), a material that is considerably more sensitive to the environment and your health than most Yoga mats made of PVC. This mat does not contain phthalates or heavy metals and its method of production is completely non-toxic.”

4. Vinyassa yoga rug Organic cotton (fair trade) ~ From the cottonseed to the spinning, weaving, cutting and sewing, every Intent yoga rug is completely toxin and pesticide-free. Imported from a certified organic farm in Egypt, and “fairly traded”. Workers enjoy a healthy environment where they create stylish, non-toxic, allergen free products for, you..”

5. Eco Yoga Mat, created with jute and backed with natural rubber ~ Super grippy on all floor types and rich in color. A joy for your practice! Biodegradable…”

6. AgoyUSA’s PVC-free and latex-free Earth Mat (made out of recyclable thermoplastic elastomer) ~ The earth mat, made from a revolutionary synthetic form of rubber, is not only beautiful, it’s also free of PVC, Phthalates, toluene, heavy metals, latex and natural rubber. Plus it’s decomposable.”

7. Gaiam‘s 100-percent natural rubber yoga mat~ “Earth Lovers Yoga Mat features an innovative blend of natural rubber and recycled material with a bark-like nonslip texture. “

Still not convinced about switching to a green mat? Well, remember the non-eco sticky mats are made of PVC (polyvinyl chloride) plastic containing cancer-causing dioxins that is released into the atmosphere and in addition, softening PVC products for mats includes more harsh toxic chemicals (such as Phthalates) which leach into the air. So make the switch, invest in an earth friendly mat instead, you are worth it!

Image Source.

Written by Lucille Chi

Lucy Chi loves good green design, ethical fashion, environmental art and education, renewables, holistic healing and more. She has been dedicating her energies toward finding and drawing attention to all the ways in which products, companies, and industries are moving toward creating a more sustainable world on the global scale, as well as the way individuals are moving toward living sustainably, and healing at the personal level.

Sustainability studies: PresidioMBA.org &
B.S. Cornell University, College of Human Ecology, Dept. of Textiles and Fiber Science.

Contact: lucillechi (at) gmail.com

4 Comments

  1. Hi – I already have a ‘regular’ yoga mat I purchased before I learned about this post. Is there a good way to dispose of them without causing too much environmental damage? I definitely want to get a greener one, but just wondering if I’m still doing some harm if I get rid of the current one. Thanks!

  2. Fantastic post.

    If yoga practitioners – among the most green-minded among us – have been accidentally using ecologically harmful mats, it shows just vigilant we need to be in examining our lives to see where toxic products lurk.

    I’m no yogi (!), but I hope we’ll soon see the whola yoga-crowd toting PVC-free, organic cotton mats to the studio.

    – Aaron Dalton, 1GreenProduct.com

  3. Selina,
    Thanks for the question. There is no one answer to that one 🙂 For starters,
    Gaiam has an article out called 50 ways to reuse your mat: http://life.gaiam.com/gaiam/p/50WaystoReuseYourYogaFitnessMatBestidea.html
    and here is another creative recycling article fro UK based Recycle this: http://www.recyclethis.co.uk/20070314/how-can-i-reuse-or-recycle-a-pvc-yoga-mat
    Yet I realize these articles do not get to the PVC poison part. Green Yoga mentioned that http://www.greenyoga.org/matArticle.html “Greenpeace, Health Care Without Harm, the Center for Environmental Health, Green Sangha, the International Firefighters’ Association, and the Plastics Recycling Coalition are all working to phase out PVC or to minimize its use.” These organizations may have more specifics.

    Perhaps see if you can find a “hard to recycle” center like this one: http://www.ecocycle.org/charm/index.cfm
    or maybe ask the area to start one?

  4. After reading this post, I tried the tatami mat listed here as #2, and was very disappointed. My hands are still raw from the rough grass, and it was too slippery to do backbend poses safely. I must recommend against it. I’ll stick with my jute mat (#5).

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