Ecological yoga mats: what they are, models, guide to choosing

A few years ago, choosing a yoga mat was a very simple thing. There was a very limited range of manufacturers, and the mats were all made of the same PVC material by the famous large-scale sports brands.

Today, however, there are more and more yoginis, and more and more attentive. They want a produced in line with sustainability principles, health and optimal performance. They are looking for a space for the body and the soul which, in addition to being functional, high-quality and aesthetically beautiful, also has a low environmental impact. And that’s how the Eco-friendly yoga mats.

To be defined as such, an eco-friendly yoga mat must be made of organic, natural, ethical and sustainable materials. But what possibilities exist? Let’s see what types of mattresses can be found on the market at the moment, at a reasonable quality-price ratio (not too expensive, but of authentic value).

Eco-friendly yoga mat: what does it mean?

Nowadays the “eco-friendly” label is attached to many products and companies, often inappropriately. Many consumers are sensitive to respect for the planet and reducing their environmental impact, and this pushes brands to grab the green share of the market.

Even in the world of yoga mats it works like this. True yoginis are not satisfied with a cheap product, nor do they want to compromise with plastic. And as a result, many brands have launched their own green mattress. Let’s be clear, though: “100% non-PVC” means nothing.

So what is a truly eco-friendly yoga mat? First, it’s a mattress made only with natural materials declared sustainable and environmentally friendly. Then comes the processing. Minimal if possible, and with low impact on resources (soil, water) along the entire production chain.

I ecological mattresses they have small-medium sized companies behind them, with an often young and innovative business idea. What does all this imply? Two simple things: the first is that green mat brands are not yet very well known.

The second is that to offer a product on the market made of 100% natural material, the cost of the product is a little higher than common yoga mats.

Ecological yoga mats: types

There are not many mats made of eco-friendly materials. Responsible processing of natural raw materials is complex and this makes them a fairly niche product. But given that the demand is growing (who knows, maybe you also want to find out about purchasing one) here we have collected some types of ecological yoga mats on the market.

Natural rubber yoga mats

I eco-friendly yoga mats made of natural rubber they are the type that adapts to the broadest category of public.

They have the thickness and grip that serve to guarantee the right comfort and stability for the yogini, without moving during the asana session. They are liked because they satisfy everyone, from the expert to the beginner.

There are many brands that sell natural rubber yoga mats, ed it is important to distinguish a declared ecological product from a truly green mat.

The Artletica brandfor example, realizes Eco-friendly yoga mats for real. The mattress, in fact, is made 100% from a sustainable material extracted from Para treethe natural rubber tree, or rubber.

Their flagship yoga mat, Soul, has a black natural rubber base, with a very strong grip on the ground and a top part also in natural rubber printed in 6 colours, totally organic and eco-friendly.

Rubber mats are popular in many ways. They are easy to wash, don’t retain odors too much, and last for many years without spoiling. They carry more weight than the alternatives, but are by far the most popular.

Cork yoga mat

The cork yoga mat is another very popular green choice. The light and insulating vegetable fabric allows you to create eco-friendly, low-thickness mattresses that are also comfortable for travel.

Here, however, a big problem arises: cork is a raw material that is difficult to find, especially in recent times. To be competitive, many companies sell cork mats for 20-30 euros, effectively mixing the plant part with other materials.

Therefore you need to be careful about imitations: often ecological ‘cork’ mats are instead hybrid mats containing some plastic material. The pure cork mat, on the other hand, often has prohibitive prices.

What are the opinions on a cork yoga mat? There are those who appreciate the grip of the material, or those who love the idea of ​​meditating on a wooden mat.

However, resting your back, knees and elbows on a cork mat can give mixed sensations. Furthermore, you must consider that it will tend to deteriorate more easily than a natural rubber mat (more elastic and resistant by nature) or retain odors a little more.

Fabric yoga mats

Finally, a third type is that of fabric yoga mats. We are talking about both thick ‘carpets’ made of cotton, hemp or textile fibres, and simple mats with thicknesses starting from 1 mm, similar to a towel.

Also in this case, the material of the yoga mat is natural, because it is made of textile fibre. Anyone who buys a mat of this type wants a travel-friendly product that is foldable and transportable everywhere.

The weak point is that the fabric mat is decidedly unsuitable for daily training. They are very pleasant, for example, for a yoga session by the sea, but on the floor at home it will be like having no support under your feet.

So pay attention to the thinness of the fabric: hard ground or a slightly complex yoga position are enough to make you regret a few extra millimeters of softness.

How to choose a yoga mat

The material in Yoga mats

The materials used in the manufacture of the yoga mat will determine its grip, its comfort, its respect for the environment but also for your body. Dwelling on the choice is essential for an enjoyable yoga experience.

Some materials will be very soft to the touch, giving a “cocooning” effect to your practice. Others will be very tight and will allow you to perform all positions, including the most dangerous ones, with confidence and without the risk of slipping. Some materials are naturally antibacterial for a healthy and hygienic practice.

And for the utmost respect for the Planet, today there are various eco-responsible materials that allow you to practice with commitment.

Summing up:

  • The most pleasant materials to the touch: microfibre, cork, organic cotton
  • The most anti-slip materials: natural rubber, PU, ​​cork, microfibre
  • The most ecological materials: cork, natural rubber, organic cotton, jute (although a little rough and not very pleasant to touch)
  • The most hygienic materials: natural rubber, cork (naturally antibacterial), organic cotton (for its ease of maintenance)

Depending on the type of practice, but also on your personal needs, you will choose one mat model rather than another. However, in general, some criteria must be taken into consideration to ensure that you do not make a mistake in your choice.

Mat grip

The grip of a yoga mat (Grip) guarantees a stable practice, especially for beginners or those who practice rather intense training.

The grip of a yoga mat is measured on 2 levels:

  • Adherence to the floor: depending on the material used for the base of the carpet (the lower part), it will be more or less adherent to the floor. While a PVC mat will slip on some floors, other mats such as natural rubber ones will stay in place on any type of floor. A yoga mat with a good grip on the floor will allow you to practice confidently without fear of the mat moving on the floor and you falling.
  • The body grip: how much is important? This is probably one of the most important criteria for choosing a yoga mat. This grip is created by the surface of the carpet. Some mats, such as PVC ones, are quite slippery and even more so when you sweat.

Mattress thickness

The thickness of the mat should be selected based on the type of yoga you practice, but also the comfort you are looking for, in particular for the joints.

The thicker and softer the mat, the more comfortable it will be, especially if you sit or lie down often. The thinner and denser the mat, the better your balance and stability will be on it, especially if you do a lot of standing and balancing poses.

Therefore, choose a mat that is at least 4 or 5 mm thick: it will be fine for any type of exercise you do.

Yoga mat weight

The weight of the yoga mat will depend on the materials it is made of. The weight of a yoga mat can vary from 1 to 3 kg. The denser the material, the heavier the mat.

This is for example the case with natural rubber. PVC mats have the advantage of being very light, but their impact on the environment is very heavy.

In general, the weight of the yoga mat should not be a hindrance and is usually a sign of its quality. It shows that it is made of strong and durable materials, which will keep the yoga mat in good condition for as long as possible.

The heavier and denser a mat is, the better it will sit on the floor. It unfolds easily and lays flat on all floor types without bouncing or curling, as lighter mats such as PVC or TPE can do.

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