Best Eco-Friendly Yoga Mats


Environmental responsibility and sustainability are important in Yogic philosophy, but ironically many yoga mats and accessories are made from toxic chemicals in a process that is very hazardous to the environment. Standard yoga mats are made from PVC, one of the most toxic forms of plastic from an environmental health perspective.

Most people choose a standard yoga mat when they first get started in yoga without knowing about the harmful chemicals used to make the mat. These mats are readily available, inexpensive, easy to care for, and available in a variety of colors and patterns. Standard mats tend to be thin with very little cushioning, plus they release a chemical odor.

Eco-Friendly yoga mats are made from renewable materials like natural rubber, cotton, and jute.  Eco-friendly mats aren’t all created equal though. Mats made from natural rubber are thick with plenty of cushion, extremely durable, and absorb moisture nicely. Rubber mats tend to be much heavier and pricier than standard mats though. Sometimes rubber mats have a polyester scrim for nonslip performance so they aren’t entirely eco-friendly.

Yoga mats made from organic fibers like cotton, jute, and bamboo are eco-friendly and biodegradable. Mats made from organic fibers typically don’t last as long as mats made from rubber, but they are a good option if you have latex allergies. These mats can be a bit slippery so they are best for restorative type yoga classes.

Here are some of the best eco-friendly yoga mats available:

Jade Harmony Professional Yoga Mat

All Jade Yoga Mats are made from natural rubber and contain no PVCs or other ozone-depleting substances. The Jade Harmony Profesional Yoga Mat offers terrific slip-resistance and plenty of cushion for mat intensive workouts. The Harmony Professional is available in two lengths, 68 and 74 inches, and a variety of colors to suit your taste. Through their partnership with Trees for the Future, Jade also plants a tree for each and every yoga mat sold. Jade also makes a lightweight eco-friendly mat great for travel, the Jade Harmony Travel.

Why it rocks:

  • Premium 3/16-inch yoga mat made with open-cell, natural rubber
  • Offers terrific slip-resistance even with perspiration on the mat
  • Produces exceptional resilience and incomparable cushioning
  • Made with no PVC or ozone-depleting substances

>>Buy Jade Harmony Professional Yoga Mat

Hugger Mugger Urban Tapas Yoga Mat

The Hugger Mugger Urban Tapas Yoga Mat is made out of a blend of recycled and natural rubber. For added nonslip performance, the mat features a scrim of polyester and organic cotton. The Urban Tapas is on the lighter end of rubber mats, but it still weighs in around 5 pounds. With 5mm of cushion, this Hugger Mugger mat is perfect for all types of yoga and Pilates practice.

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Why it rocks:

  • 100% rubber mat – 50/50 sustainably harvested and recycled rubber
  • No lead, PVC, cadmium or heavy metals
  • Biodegradable (except for the polyester scrim)
  • Sturdy with a super grip

>>Buy Hugger Mugger Urban Tapas Yoga Mat

Prana Natural Yoga Mat

Like the Jade Harmony, the Prana Natural Yoga Mat is made from 100% natural rubber and is free of all hazardous materials. A new two-cotton scrim construction makes the mat stronger and more stable than previous versions since it is less likely to stretch during your practice. At 4mm thick, the Prana Natural Mat offers plenty of cushion during workouts and the natural rubber keeps you from slipping during your practice.

Why it rocks:

  • Three natural rubber layers are heat-laminated for a durable, eco-friendly construction
  • Unique two-cotton scrim construction works to limit stretching in three directions, for a strong, stable practice surface
  • Incredible anti-slip properties and superior cushioning
  • No hazardous materials
  • Biodegradable

>>Buy Prana Natural Yoga Mat

Hugger Mugger Sattva Jute Mat

Perfect for the eco-conscious yogi, the Hugger Mugger Sattva Jute Mat is made from natural jute fibers. Jute is a strong, breathable, and durable fiber with natural antimicrobial features. The Sattva Jute Mat has a non-slip PER backing, which is an eco-friendly material with no PVC, formaldehyde, or heavy metals. The jute mat is static free and resists the grown of mold and mildew.

Why it rocks:

  • Made from natural jute and eco-friendly PER
  • No latex, PVC, or heavy metals
  • Jute has natural antimicrobial features and is resistant to mold and mildew
  • Non-slip backing

>>Buy Hugger Mugger Sattva Jute Mat

Gaiam’s Flower of Life Yoga Mat

Gaiam’s Flower of Life Yoga Mat is made out of plastics that are free of PVC, latex and the six most harmful phthalates. At 3mm thick, the mat provides moderate cushion for your body and much stability with its textured nonslip surface. The Flower of Life lightweight and easy to care for.

Why it rocks:

  • Free of PVC, latex and the six most harmful phthalates
  • Textured non-slip surface
  • Lightweight, durable and chic

>>Buy Gaiam’s Flower of Life Yoga Mat

[Photo courtesy of lululemon athletica]