Eco-friendly yoga mats and why it makes a difference
Through the practice of Yoga, we are able to transform our body/mind. As you continue to show up for a regular practice, a good yoga mat can make a big difference in your journey of transformation; not just for you and your practice, but also for the environment and, as it turns out, for your health.
There is so much information online about how to choose your mat in terms of thickness, price, length and size, but what is it made from? Where does it come from and where does it go?
In the spirit of #plasticfreejuly, here is some helpful information about the production of yoga mats to help you in choosing your mat.
The Strange Facts
Most mainstream yoga mats are made from PVC*, or polyvinyl chloride. It might seem perfectly spongy and ‘within the budget’, but it is not so great for the environment.
Environmental concerns about PVC are real. It is not recyclable, and in trying to dispose of it through incineration or by burying it in a landfill, it releases dioxin – a very harmful chemical. Production of PVC mats emits chemicals, including chlorine gas, mercury and vinyl chloride, into the atmosphere.
Phthalates and other chemicals are also added to most of these mats to create a desirable flexibility and feel. Here is where some health risks come in; you are in very close contact with a high concentration of many of these chemicals. When shopping for a yoga mat, find out what it is made from. Ideally, you’d be looking for a mat free from PVC, phthalate, azo, phenol, latex and other toxins.
Phew, that is a lot to take in.
The Good News
Fortunately, more and more yoga mat companies are producing eco-friendly yoga mats and products. Mats made from natural rubbers and other natural materials like cork, jute and hemp are becoming more widely available.
Yoga mats that are PVC free and made using quality non-toxic materials will take about 5 years to decompose in normal landfill conditions. PVC mats take about 100 years.
I don’t know about you, but I feel hopeful and excited about the prospects of creating a world where we become responsible consumers, contributing to a sustainable future.
We as the consumers have so much power to change the world just by being careful about what we buy.
But how much is it going to cost me? Yes, the price tags increase with brand names and materials used, but you are investing in a reliable, quality mat. Paying more for a quality product is paying less in the long run.
I have had my yoga mat since 2014, have traveled extensively and practiced often with it. It is still in tip top condition.
Brands** that we like:
- Proudly South African | Free delivery anywhere in South Africa
- Available in South Africa: https://www.mountainmailorder.co.za/yoga/yoga-mats/
- One of a few retailers in SA: https://www.yogaessentials.co.za/index.php/online-store
- Not easily available in South Africa, but possible to locate retailers
**We are not affiliated, associated, authorised, endorsed by, or in any way officially connected with the brands mentioned above.
*PVC – Polyvinyl chloride: the world’s third-most widely produced synthetic plastic polymer; about 40 million tons of PVC are produced each year.
Feel free to leave a comment below, sharing your positive eco-friendly yoga mat story or lifestyle change.