Eco-Friendly and Non-Toxic Yoga Mats
11.07.11 Eco-Friendly and Non-Toxic Yoga Mats
Yoga is a Sanskrit word meaning “to unite.” The practice of yoga is literally meant to unify your mind, body and spirit. Practicing yoga is a great way to strengthen and elongate your muscles, relieve stress and generally improve your overall health and well-being. There’s just one catch. Did you know that conventional yoga mats could be placing your health and the environment at risk?
WHAT IS IN A YOGA MAT?
Most conventional yoga mats are made with PVC (polyvinyl chloride). In addition, plasticizers (such as lead, cadmium, dioxin or phthalates) are used to make the mats sticky and pliable thereby increasing their toxicity. Exposure to phthalates has been linked to negative reproductive health effects in both men and women. Phthalates cross through the placenta and can have an effect on a fetus, so they are of particular concern to pregnant women. When you are in your downward facing dog position, the last thing you want to think about is whether phthalates or other toxic chemicals are leaching from your yoga mat and being absorbed through your skin.
Off-gassing is another common problem with these traditional mats. The chemicals used in the manufacturing process slowly evaporate from the product and while they can be irritating on their own, they can also exacerbate allergies or asthma symptoms.
As if all of this weren’t concerning enough, most yoga mats are not recyclable and are non-biodegradable. Chemicals from PVC and plasticizers have been shown to leach into the soil and eventually make their way into the ground water system. So, where does this leave you?
The good news is that as a result of concerns arising from the use of PVC and phthalates in consumer products, several manufacturers have started to make non-toxic, environmentally friendly yoga mats. Many of these yoga mats are made from natural rubber and some contain jute, hemp or cotton – all of which are natural, sustainable and renewable resources that are biodegradable. Another safe alternative to PVC is TPE Material (Thermo Plastic Elastomer). This is a non-toxic, biodegradable, plasticizer-free material designed to decompose in a landfill.
We are proud to carry two different pvc-free yoga mats that are completely non-toxic and environmentally friendly. Both of these mats are comfortable and high quality.
- Thinksport Yoga/Pilates Mat by thinksport: Made of lightweight, high performance TPE material, this yoga mat does not contain any latex or rubber. It is also free of BPA, PVC, phthalate, lead, dioxin and other harmful chemicals. All mats are reversible and at 1/5” thick, designed to provide excellent grip – wet or dry - in any pose. ($39.95)
- Harmony Professional Yoga Mat by Jade Yoga: The Jade yoga mat is made entirely of natural rubber and provides exceptional traction. At 3/16” thick, it is lightweight and easy to tote around, yet still provides amazing cushion and resistance. For the serious yogi, this is the perfect mat. It’s available in a standard 68” length, but for taller folks there an extra-long 74” version. This means no more struggling with poses where your hands or feet are off the mat. ($69.95)
- Organic yoga accessories: Find organic cotton yoga straps, blocks, bolsters and towels
Yoga is a great way to restore your mind, body and spirit – whether you practice regularly or just every once in a while. As you go through your poses, breathing deeply and sweating out toxins, shouldn’t you have the peace of mind of knowing that you aren’t inhaling toxic fumes from your yoga mat?