Why You Need a Non-Toxic Yoga/Pilates Mat
01.24.11 Why You Need a Non-Toxic Yoga/Pilates Mat
I've been doing yoga for years now, and loving how I feel afterwards. Parents of young children rarely have a moment to slow down, to breath and stretch. Yoga helps you to be present, take care of your body, and develop strength and flexibity.
I can tell when it has been a few days since I have done yoga-- my hips are tight, I'm not standing very tall, and my lower back is a bit sore. Especially when I was caring for an infant (all that carrying and nursing!). I often think that doing yoga everyday would make me a better parent, spouse, teacher....everything. One thing that has helped my yoga practice is the fantastic site, yogatoday.com. They offer a free 60 minute yoga class weekly, and access to all of their amazing classes for a small monthly fee, so you can practice at home, after the kids are asleep. The classes are diverse in skill level, yoga type, and focus area.
When I started yoga originally, it was with an el-cheapo yoga kit, and I used the mat that came with it. I had heard that yoga mats were made with nasty plastics, and it sure seemed like the mat I was using was. Most yoga mats are made with plastic softening chemicals such as PVC vinyl (also known as the posion plastic), and phthalates. We know that phthalates are endocrine disruptors which have been linked to problems in the development of the male reproductive system and the brain development of infants. PVC is likely to contain lead and phthalates, and is poisonous in its creation, life span, and disposal. These are chemicals we all should be avoiding. And there is more to consider, according to Umbra of grist.org:
"Vinyl is toxic to the environment during production and disposal, through creation and release of dioxin -- among other issues, including that it is made from a nonrenewable resource. Phthalates are "plasticizers" often found in soft vinyl materials, which do leach out during a product's lifetime. Exposure to phthalates has been linked to negative reproductive health effects in both men and women. They cross through the placenta and can affect a fetus, so they are of particular concern to pregnant women. Pollution in People has a clear article about phthalate problems."
Umbra goes on to say that this exposure to phthalates and PVC could be significant. I certainly could tell that the yoga mat I recieved as part of our school's wellness program was toxic. It smelled terrible! I couldn't even have it upstairs. It has been relegated to the basement, and eco-paralysis. To give away and exposure someone else? Or to the landfill? No good option! So it sits.
How can you lessen your exposure? I am happy to see this safer, non-toxic ThinkSport yoga mat on sale here at MightyNest. I wish I would have seen this before the holiday season, as it would have made a perfect present for my husband, who just started practicing yoga (after years of encouragement).
This yoga mat:
*is free of latex and rubber and is made from safe non-toxic materials and is free of Bisphenol-A (BPA), PVC, Lead, Phthalates, Dioxins, and biologically toxic chemicals. It made from a lightweight, high performance TPE Material that keeps you steady in the most demanding poses with a textured surface allowing improved traction, wet or dry.
*has no strong “New Mat” Odor; the lack of harmful chemicals means no PVC off-gassing
This mat is certainly on my wish list. It looks much larger than my old, el-cheapo, toxic mat. I imagine my child's pose would be a more relaxing, and healthier, with this ThinkSport Yoga and Pilates mat.
image: by ☼zlady on Flickr under CC