As yogis, we tend to care about the environment. Practicing ahisma, the first yama in the eight limbs of yoga, means to have compassion for all living things and do no harm, and is something we should all adapt as stewards of this earth. Buying an eco-friendly yoga mat is one way to help protect the environment and do one more thing to do your part. There are a few different types of “green” yoga mats, and understanding each a little bit better will help you pick the right one for your own unique needs.
Harvested from sustainable rubber trees, rubber mats are a great choice when looking for eco-friendly choices. Rubber is an open-celled fiber which means that it will readily absorb sweat, making it the perfect choice for your next hot yoga class. Made without heavy metals, PVC, or phthalate plasticizers, these mats are non-toxic and also completely biodegradable once they’ve run their course.
This environmentally friendly alternative to PVC makes for a great mat that is non-toxic and is more sustainable than traditional mats. Although often petroleum based, there are alternatives that are made out of sustainable materials such as corn. Not the top choice amongst those looking for the most eco-friendly option, but definitely better than its PVC cousin.
Jute mats are made from a natural vegetable plant that takes only 45 months to grow to maturity. This renewable resource cleans the air by consuming carbon dioxide and mats made from this material are totally biodegradable. Although a little rougher than your traditional yoga mats, these environmentally friendly mats are still sticky and provide everything you need for your practice.
Cork yoga mats are increasing in popularity due to their completely natural and renewable fibers. Mats made of cork are harvested in sustainable ways and contain none of the harmful chemicals that are found in traditional yoga mats. These mats are great for hot yoga as they become grippier when they get wet. It’s anti-microbial which means that no bacteria find its way into it, and also totally hypo-allergenic. A great choice for those with sensitive skin and allergies!
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