Though I prefer being active outside, there are times when that it just not an option. So, during colder months and on rainy days, I like to fill my time by doing a bit of pilates and yoga. Though I have friends who insist that you need everything from yoga towels to special yoga socks, I find that a good yoga mat is really all that I need to get the job done. Plus, it is a one-time purchase thing and that makes it a very cheap and frugal activity, which is even better if you ask me.
Even though I am ashamed to admit it, I bought my first yoga mat a few years ago at a local Wal-Mart. It was cheap and had a terrible smell and I hated using it because of that smell. I later learned that most yoga mats are made from petrochemicals that have toxic gasses in them and that is what was causing the smell. It was basically off-gassing and I was, in turn, breathing in all those nasty fumes while doing my workout.
You better believe that I immediately went out to find me a good, quality yoga mat that is free of petrochemicals. I know that not everyone out there is concerned about the possible health effects of such things, so at least consider the environmental implications and choose a yoga mat that is eco-friendly.
Of course, the “eco-friendly” label doesn’t always mean that you buying a good product. Often, it just means that the yoga mat doesn’t have any PVC in it, or polyvinyl chloride. Though it’s great that you can get something free of this type of plastic, it doesn’t mean that the mat is free of cadmium, lead or phthalates. And this is especially important for pregnant women as these are known hormone disrupters.
Instead, you need an eco-friendly pilates and yoga mat that is made only from sustainable or biodegradable materials. And I can help you find one. I have selected the best mats that meet this criteria and listed them down below. Keep reading to see these products.
Types Of Eco-Friendly Yoga Mats
During your search, you will come across three basic types of non-toxic yoga mats. These eco-friendly options are:
- natural rubber yoga mats
- alternative plastic yoga mats
- plant fiber yoga mats
Before you head out to do some comparison shopping, know the the prices for each type is roughly the same, so you do not have to worry about which is the cheapest. Instead, stick to your personal preference when buying a non-toxic yoga mat.
Natural rubber yoga mats are made from a good renewable energy source; the rubber tree. The material is also biodegradable. Since this material is also known as natural rubber latex, people who have a latex allergy cannot use this type of mat. Instead, you’ll have to look for a latex-free mat.
Alternative plastic mats are synthetic, which makes them good for people with a latex allergy. However, the synthetic plastics used are “TPE,” thermoplastic elastomers, or “PER,” or polymer environmental resin, both of which are technically supposed to be free of toxic substances. However, PER is actually made with PVC, which makes it something that I would avoid. On the other hand, TPE is biodegradable and a good choice.
Plant fiber mats are probably the most eco-friendly option as they are made from a renewable source – jute, hemp and/or cotton – and are biodegradable. The only potential issue that I see with this type of mat is the prevalence of GMO cotton. For that reason, I suggest shopping only for certified organic plant fiber yoga mats.
Top Eco-Friendly Yoga Mats For The Money
1. Manduka eKO Lite Wet-Grip Natural Tree Rubber Yoga Mat
This thin yoga mat is made of material from the natural rubber tree, however those with a latex allergy can still use it. The mat is 99.9% latex-free and non-allergenic.
The wet-grip surface is one of its best features as it offers great slip resistance. That makes it good for use on hardwood floors and for hot yoga.
One important thing to know about this mat is that it does have a slight plastic scent when it is new. This is nothing to worry about though as it is not harmful since it is from the natural rubber tree.
You can show off your personality with this mat as it is available in a few different color choices. Available options include:
To clean this mat, all you need is some organic cleaner or organic soap and a soft cloth. Anything stronger can harm the mat.
Full specs for this mat are:
- wet-grip surface for even better slip resistance
- made of natural rubber mat
- closed cell construction to resist bacteria
- non-allergenic and 99.9% latex free
- recyclable and biodegradable
- no PVC or oil-based eco materials (like TPE or PER)
- no phthalates or toxic foaming agents found in other rubber eco yoga mats
- scent free (after initial break-in period)
- mat size: 3mm
If you prefer a thick or long yoga mat, you can order this exact model in a longer and thicker version – click here.
2. MRS Fitness Organic Yoga Mat
Personally, I prefer the thick yoga mats and that is one thing that this MRS Fitness Organic yoga mat has going for it.
I also enjoy that the surface is textured as I sometime slip a little when I am trying to get into my poses. However, the slip-resistant surface is not as good as the Manduka eKO Lite 2.0. In fact, I would suggest anyone planning to do hot yoga to skip this mat.
If you need a latex-free yoga mat, then this one is a good choice as it is made from thermoplastic elastomer.
Cleaning this mat is the same as with the model above – use a soft cloth and a mild organic cleaner. When you’re ready to order, there are three color choices to choose from: blue, pink, or purple.
One of the top features of this mat is that it comes with a lifetime guarantee warranty. So, if you are rough on your yoga mats, then this model is a great option since it will be replaced for free if it rips or anything like that.
The full features list for this mat are:
- Textured surface to prevents slipping and reduce injuries
- Double layer 6mm thick
- Made of recyclable and biodegradable materials
- Lifetime guarantee – never buy another mat
- Measures 24 x 72 inches
- hypoallergenic, biodegradable, and toxin-free product
3. Hugger Mugger Sattva Jute Mat
I’m really intriguing by plant fiber mats since they are the most eco-friendly and this Hugger Mugger eco-friendly yoga mat is one of the best available.
It comes in at just a wee bit thicker than most standard yoga mats and works great for hot yoga. Being made of jute, the mat is very durable as jute is one of the strongest plant fibers. Jute also happens to be resistant to mildew.
There is one feature on this mat that I am not a fan of though and that is the non-slip coating on the back side of the mat. Though I appreciate that the coating prevents that mat from easily sliding on my hardwood floor, I hate that the coating is made of PER.
That being said, this is still a great choice when it comes to yoga mats that are eco-friendly.