Why you should invest in an eco-friendly yoga mat.
Yoga is widely popular these days and for good reason. It’s a full rounded holistic practice that improves many physical and mental functions as well as promotes spirituality.
On a physical level, yoga encourages relaxation, improves flexibility, strength, balance and movement coordination.
Practicing yoga consistently can even have such deep effects as bettering the functioning of your cardiovascular, immune and hormonal systems.
On a mental and emotional level, yoga can have a really deep impact on your mood.
If you are truly serious about your practice, it can reduce the stress and anxiety of daily life, and can even pull you out of depression.
I can say for myself, yoga has transformed my life and is still my biggest love, making each and every day much brighter and happier than it ever was before I discovered it.
Spiritually, yoga helps us trust and surrender to a higher power, empowering us and setting us free from a troubled mind.
So “what makes a yoga practice so magical?” you might ask.
Well, let me answer that question for you. There are a few very important ingredients to mix together to create the perfect yogic potion, aka, “the most optimal yoga practice for your health and wellbeing”.
Location aside, if you’re in an open and bright space, or if it’s messy and cluttered can also have a big impact on your practice.
Your energy tends to subconsciously mirror your surroundings, so choose where you decide to take your yoga practice wisely.
Secondly, the teacher you are trusting to guide you will also affect the way in which you flow and your mental state.
Whether or not you like and connect to their voice and energy will make a huge difference.
Take the time to find a teacher off or online that you really enjoy listening to or being around.
Your teacher should really inspire you, so be patient young Padawan, and don’t get discouraged or blame yoga if you don’t immediately find your Master Yoda.
Last but definitely not least: The magic carpet you choose to take you on your journey. And by that I mean your yoga mat.
Owning the best yoga mat is essential for hygienic purposes and for the convenience of practicing when and wherever your wild spirit takes you.
Owning the right mat can also tremendously improve the quality of your yoga practice.
Whether you’re new to yoga or an advanced practitioner, choosing which mat to buy can sometimes be a little tricky.
These days the Internet is filled with thousands of different options.
There are many factors to consider when choosing your mat, although in my honest and experienced opinion, whether you choose an eco-friendly mat or not should definitely not be one of them.
Here are some of the great advantages of buying an eco friendly yoga mat and why these are simply the best mats available on the market today:
Eco-friendly yoga mats stand the test of time much longer than mats made using regular plastic.
Natural tree rubber is a very resistant material able to withstand the wear and tear of a regular and vigorous yoga practice in all different kinds of environments.
The natural rubber comes from the sap of a tropical tree called Hevea Brasiliensis, commonly known as the Rubber Tree.
The sap, a gooey liquid known as latex in its natural form, is elastic. This means that the rubber synthesized from latex is resistant to cracking and fraying, making it very durable.Don’t worry, just like extracting the syrup from a Maple Tree, collecting the latex doesn’t actually harm the tree which will repair its wound within a couple of years. Ah yes, Nature is a tough mama!
2. High quality
Natural tree rubber provides great traction and adherence to any surface, assuring you that your mat will never slide.
If you have a dynamic yoga practice, natural tree rubber is ideal.
The strong adherence property of these mats also means that if you like to practice in a hot and humid yoga room, your mat will stay grounded in its place.
Perhaps you have heard of Bikram?
Bikram is a very intensive yoga sequence popularized by Bikram himself who is somewhat of a madman some might say.
The primary sequence consists of 13 postures, each repeated twice over 1h30 in a 40° C hot and humid room!
Trust me you’ll thank a good yoga sticky mat if you put yourself in this sweaty situation.
Additionally these mats provide much better cushioning than non-eco friendly yoga mats due to their natural material component.
You can find 100% natural rubber mats, but typically there’s a second thin top layer to add even more quality, durability and comfort.
These days it’s usually made of cork, PU (polyurethane) or suede microfiber.
These environmentally conscious surfaces provide great grip for your hands and feet while you’re sweating and flowing across your mat (and no, yoga doesn’t always have to be sweaty).
Let me break down a few of these surfaces to you so you can get a little more clarity.
Common types of natural tree rubber mats:
This is more of a blend rather than a separate layer. Made of all natural tree rubber and jute fiber, these mats offer the same “experience” you would get as a yogi 5000 years ago practicing on dried up palm tree leaves…
PROS: They’re super duper eco-friendly and lightweight. Generally these mats also retail at a cheaper price so you won’t be breaking your piggy bank.
CONS: They’re not pleasant to the touch and do not have the best grip out there (think of how dried up palm tree leaves would feel).
Overtime, the fibers tend to shed quite a lot making it one of the less durable options.
CONCLUSION: If you want to travel back in time and have the experience of a real “cave yogi” sure, why not buy a Jute mat.
Made from natural tree rubber and a top layer of cork from the Cork Oak tree, this is another very eco friendly option.
PROS: The main benefit of these mats is their antibacterial properties, making them a very hygienic option.
Additionally they are quite durable and are soft to the touch.
CONS: These aren’t the most ‘grippy’ mats out there or the most practical when it comes to bringing your mat along your travels.
CONCLUSION: Great mats for at home practice, but definitely not if you’re a travelling yogi. My advice, keep reading this article!
Polyurethane is a sustainable type of plastic that is easily recyclable.
PROS: PU has by far the stickiest grip. You’ll almost never slide on your mat again! Using this type of biodegradable plastic is also a great alternative to using all our natural resources.
CONS: PU isn’t very absorbent, so the more you sweat the more you risk slipping.
The surface of these mats is soft but can be very cold to the touch, which isn’t the most soothing and comfortable feeling.
Another downside to consider is that mats made with PU are by far the heaviest and most impractical to carry around.
CONCLUSION: Great mats to have at home in a heated room, but once again very impractical for travelling. Keep on reading, the best is about to be revealed!
Even better than suede, is Ultrasuede, a vegan-biodegradable-synthetic-ultra-microfiber material (wow that was a mouthful!) which feels like “the real deal” but with many added benefits.
PROS: Suede microfiber has greatood grip and the grip increases as you apply pressure and the more you sweat. This type of surface isn’t just great for any vigorous practice, but it is perfect for hot yoga as well.
Additionally, it’s much softer to the touch than any other surface and never gets cold. If you’re looking for more comfort in a gentle practice, suede is ideal.
It’s also much lighter to carry around and easily foldable, making it the perfect travel buddy to take wherever your heart desires.
CONS: You’ll never want to get off your mat… * Do not get confused with real suede which is made from animal skin!
(insert link to our mats)
3. Environment friendly – non toxic
One of the 8 limbs of yoga is Ahimsa, which means non-violence. As much as it is important to not harm yourself with any toxic chemicals contained in your yoga mat, it is equally as important to not harm the environment.
Regular yoga mats are typically made with toxic materials such as PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride). PVC is the most toxic form of plastic; therefore yoga mats containing PVC are toxic to you and to the environment both in its manufacturing and disposal process.
Mats made out of natural tree rubber on the other hand, are biodegradable and easily recyclable without causing any harm to you our precious Mother Earth.
Choosing a non-toxic yoga mat is simply making the conscious choice to not cause harm to yourself, to the people fabricating your mat, and to the environment.
It is the only ethical and environmentally aware option. It is the only good option for your mind, body and soul.
Practicing on an eco friendly yoga mat can make a big difference to not only the comfort, but also the overall quality of your experience of yoga.
Natural rubber yoga mats offer better grip, more cushioning, and are far more durable than a typical mat made with PVC. Not to sound like a repetitive parrot, but most importantly they are ethical, and mats using PVC are not.
As to which type of eco mat you choose, we recommend opting for Ultrasuede which weighing all the pros and cons of each type of mat, comes out as the most comfortable and travel friendly option.