For all yogis, whether a seasoned veteran or those who are just beginning their practice, you’ll need a mat. Choosing a mat might seem easy, but there are so many options out there that the task can be somewhat daunting. If you are just starting out your yoga practice or you are looking for a new mat to strengthen your practice, then there are some things you will need to consider such as a toxic vs. non-toxic yoga mat.
This may seem like a no-brainer, but you would be surprised at the number of toxic yoga mats out there that are actually a popular option because of their price and design. Below we will take a look at the differences between toxic and non-toxic yoga mats so that you can choose which is right for you.
Artificial Yoga Mat Material
Many yoga mat options on the market today are made of artificial materials. Now, just because it is artificial does not necessarily mean it is toxic. However, there are quite a few options out there that can be toxic to you. Some of the artificial materials that yoga mats are made of include:
- PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride): These yoga mats’ main ingredient is vinyl chloride, also known as a human carcinogen. These yoga mats can emit a gas that is toxic to us and those around us. What’s more? The manufacturing and disposal of PVC yoga mats create dioxins as a byproduct. This is a group of toxic chemicals that can induce harm on humans. They can accumulate over time in our bodies which can be very harmful in the long-run. Also, heavy metals such as lead are added to make the mats more durable. These are, of course, harmful to us as well.
- TPE (Thermoplastic Elastomers): This blend of synthetic materials (typically rubber and plastic) has not been studied enough to conclude whether or not it is toxic. Many researches have found it free of many harmful chemicals, as well as BPA-free. However, there are some studies that have shown that even BPA-free products can release synthetic estrogen. Though TPE is considered to be eco-friendly, it is still not considered completely harmless.
Non-Toxic Yoga Mats
There are several options for those of you who want to purchase a yoga mat that is free of toxins. Below are listed some of the options on the market.
- Cork Yoga Mats: Becoming more and more popular, the cork yoga mat is not only eco-friendly and 100% sustainable, but it is also antimicrobial and non-toxic. Some other advantages of the cork yoga mat are that it is cushiony for your comfort and it is slip-resistant, even when wet.
- Natural Rubber Yoga Mats: If you are looking for a cheaper option of a yoga mat that’s non-toxic, then a natural rubber mat may be a good option for you. Firm, yet soft, these mats offer great support while also offering an excellent grip so that there’s no slippage during your practice.
- Jute Yoga Mats: These all-natural, sustainable mats are another great option for a non-toxic yoga mat. They are non-slip and silicone- and latex-free. Lightweight and easy to transport, they are also durable and will last a long time.
There are plenty of non-toxic options out there for yoga mats. After all, most people do yoga to get healthy, not to get sick from breathing in toxic fumes from their mats.