Yoga has been in existence for centuries and has generally being practiced for strength, flexibility, and breathing to enhance mental & physical wellbeing, including as a healing therapy in many cultures.
Because of its growth in popularity, yoga has changed & evolved over the years, becoming a desirable & healthful activity for many.
This ancient form of exercise can be practiced by most age groups, from young children to senior citizens and everyone in between. It has become easily accessible to practice with live online programs, videos, and in-person classes where everyone can enjoy the benefits of yoga!
When you are preparing for a yoga class, there are some essentials you’ll need. Of course, you’ll need your yoga clothes, something comfy and stretchy that will allow you to move and be comfortable in each position, a water bottle (preferably a reusable one which will create less waste), and the must-have yoga mat.
This could be the moment where you say, “any old mat will do”. However, there are several things to think about when deciding on, what type of mat to buy. While you’re considering the size and weight, the material is extremely important as well.
Something worth noting is the preference of many eco-conscious yogis opting for eco-friendly yoga mat materials, where there are plenty to choose from. Thus in this post, while giving you some tips on how to choose the right yoga mat materials, we will also take a look at some of the best eco-friendly yoga mat materials.
Let’s start by looking at some factors to take into consideration when choosing a yoga mat that’s right for you!
How to Choose a Yoga Mat?
If you are looking to purchase a yoga mat, there are few things you may want to consider.
Let’s take a look at a few points to ponder when shopping for a yoga mat.
- Size: Believe it or not, yoga mats are not, one-size-fits-all. Of course, there are some “standard” yoga mats which are 24” x 68” and around ⅛ inch thick. However, if you are a tall person or need a little more cushioning, then there are different options for you. Some mats are 72”, 74”, and even up to 84” long. Also, if you’d like a bit more room to spread out, you can get a mat that is wider than 24”. And, of course, the thickness varies as well. If you’re looking for a comfortable yoga mat, thickness is really important which offers you more support. Thus, figure out what size is best for you before purchasing and it can make a world of difference when you practice yoga.
- Durability: Though there are tons of options out there, it’s worth investing a bit of extra money from the get-go and purchase a durable yoga mat. You would want a mat that will last a long time and not one that will have to be replaced within a year or so. This is an important factor, especially if you practice often. It will guarantee you long-life mats with prolonged yoga practice!
- Material: Yoga mat materials are one of the most important factors you need to consider when deciding on a mat to buy. Many yogis are turning towards sustainable & non-toxic yoga mats for their practice. So how do you know which material is right for you? There are so many options where you can make a comparison of cork vs. rubber vs. PVC vs. TPE, and so on. There are even some recycled yoga mat materials to choose from. Below, we will take a look at these materials to help you choose the best that fits your personal preference!
- Price: Prices can vary so much, and it can be challenging to choose the right mat for you. However, when choosing a mat, we recommend not to consider the cheapest option. Typically, you get what you pay for and cheaper the mat, cheaper the material, meaning less durability and you may have to replace the mat sooner rather than later.
Eco-Friendly & Popular Yoga Mat Materials
Now that you’ve seen what factors play into your yoga mat decision, let’s see what materials are offered and some pros and cons of each.
- Rubber: Natural rubber is a popular choice among yogis because it is sustainable, eco-friendly and non-toxic. It is biodegradable and recyclable and you certainly get a bang for your buck with its strength & durability while providing you the comforts with nice cushioning. As noted before, these mats tend to be a bit pricier than others, but if quality tops your criteria for choosing a mat and if you’re an environmental vegan or eco-conscious yogi, then this can be a great choice!
- PVC (polyvinyl chloride): This is a very popular material for yoga mats. These are typically what “standard” mats are made of. Because of their sticky surface, they give you a good grip when practicing different poses. Since they are so common in the market, these mats are generally affordable. The other advantages of these mats are they’re easy to store, won’t break down easily, and are durable. Because these mats are naturally sticky, you don’t have to worry about slipping and sliding during practice. On the other hand, low-quality PVC mats may contain some chemicals that could potentially cause skin rashes for its users. Also, they are not biodegradable, so not a great choice if you are looking for an eco-friendly choice.
- TPE (thermoplastic elastomers): This synthetic material combines the qualities of plastic and rubber mats. Because it is synthetic, it does contain chemicals. However, unlike PVC, this material is recyclable and eco-friendly. These mats are easy to clean and durable. They’re also more on the affordable side being synthetic. The cons? The mats tend to lose their grip when they get wet, causing slippage when practicing.
- Cork & rubber yoga mat: This is one of the best non-toxic natural materials for yoga mats as it is 100% sustainable & renewable making it a good choice for environmental vegans & eco-conscious yogis. Made from the bark of cork trees, it regenerates, causing no harm to the environment and the cork material may give you a sense of connection with nature. What’s more? The wetter it becomes, the more grip it has. They also can come with many beautiful designs adding aesthetic value. However, they are slightly heavier than other yoga mats, making them a bit difficult to carry when traveling. They can also be quite difficult to clean, though they have antimicrobial properties that can act as a self-cleaning function and make it odorless. You also need to make sure it is fully dry before rolling it up, or it can cause damage.
There are so many choices when it comes to choosing a comfortable, durable, and eco-friendly yoga mat. Choosing the right yoga mat depends on your personal preferences and the way you practice. Try out different types of mats and you could consider checking at Satori Concept for a nice collection of nature-friendly yoga mats. We hope you’ll find your perfect match!