Brown Yoga Mat
How to Choose an Eco-Friendly Yoga Mat
Finding a yoga mat isn’t hard. Nearly every grocery store, retail store, and local market sells them. But finding one that doesn’t trash the planet takes a little more effort. With the accessibility and variety of yoga mats, it’s important to do your homework and choose products that are not going to harm your health or that of the environment. Here are the basics of why you should buy an environmentally friendly yoga mat and a few brands I recommend.
AVOID PLASTIC YOGA MATS
Did you know most yoga mats are made from plastic? Common yoga mats are made with PVC, a cheap and efficient material for manufacturers. So what is PVC, exactly? You’ve probably heard of PVC pipes, and the PVC used in yoga mats is similar. PVC stands for polyvinyl chloride and it’s made from petroleum. The type of PVC used in yoga mats is made soft and pliable by the use of phthalates. Phthalates are chemicals that give plastic its flexibility and resilience, but they have major health and environmental impacts. They are well-known to be hormone disruptors, and are known to produce adverse developmental, reproductive, neurological, and immune effects in both humans and wildlife. In addition, you can’t recycle it, and the material has been found to leak chlorine, carcinogens and other toxic chemicals into the soil and air over time within landfill or incineration disposals.
Stay away from yoga mats made with PVC plastics. The good news for yoga practitioners is that there are many great natural alternatives available today.
Rubber mat is a good choice. The mats not only durable and long-lasting, but also made from sustainably harvested tree rubber. The foaming agents used to create the eko material are non-toxic. What this means is that no toxic chemicals have gone into the manufacturing process to soften the rubber (ie: those pesky phthalates we discussed earlier). They offer a variety of thicknesses and designs, so there’s an environmentally friendly yoga mat for everyone.