Sustainable yoga mats for International Day of Yoga

For International Day of Yoga, we selected some yoga mats made from sustainable materials for some extra peace of mind.

In our increasingly busy lives, yoga can provide much needed exercise and reflection for some people. However, most yoga mats are made of polyvinyl chloride, commonly known as PVC, adding to plastic pollution and may cause health complications. Not really the thing you want to be thinking about while you’re doing a downward dog.

Fortunately, with the growing opposition for the use of virgin plastic, some companies are making yoga mats from alternative and preferably natural materials. Materia listed a few.

Cork is a natural material that is growing in popularity. The material is harvested from the cork tree by stripping the bark, without felling the tree. Cork is being used for anything from façades, to rugs, to fabric. And with reason. Cork is lightweight, waterproof, flexible and absorbing, to name a few properties. Perfectly suitable to make a yoga mat. Companies like Corc Yoga, Yolohay, and Corkyogis, to name a few, thought so too. Some of the mats are made only from cork, others have a natural rubber backing, which is the next material we’ll discuss.

Natural rubber
Natural rubber is often harvested from the rubber tree, though other sources are also being used, like the Russian dandelion. Rubber is waterproof, stretchy, flexible, and non-slip. Companies like Manduka and Jade Yoga produce mats made from this material. Kiss the Sky takes it one step further and uses recycled scrap rubber for their mats.

Flax fibres are fibres harvested from the flax plant. The fibres are two to three times stronger than cotton and are naturally smooth and straight. They have long since been used to make for instance linen fabric, but now yoga mats can be added to the list. The company Barefoot Yoga combines the qualities of flax fibres and natural rubber to make their yoga mat.

Recycled neoprene
Neoprene is a synthetic rubber (though natural alternatives are available), produces by polymerisation of chloroprene. The material is often used for wetsuits, but is not easily recyclable. The company Suga shreds used wetsuits and turns them into a yoga mat, using an organic binder.

For yogis who want to go sustainable all the way, click here for sustainable yoga gear, made with coffee and crab shells.

Photos: Suga / Corkyogis / Karen Arnold