When it comes to shopping for a new yoga mat, you’ve probably seen the term “eco friendly” tossed around before. What does this really mean? Is it just a trendy buzzword, or does practicing on an eco-friendly yoga mat actually benefit the environment?
One of the primary benefits of yoga is deepening your connection with the self and the nature that surrounds you. But the truth of the matter is PVC yoga mats are drenched with chemical additives that are harmful to our bodies and the environment, such as phthalates, lead, cadmium and organotins. They are made from nonrenewable resources, and production can release toxic hydrochloric acid gas into the air – not to mention they are also linked to dioxin emissions.
Pretty scary to think about, isn’t it? Thankfully, there are other options.
Truly embracing a yogic lifestyle is a selfless practice. It isn't "How can yoga benefit me?" - it's "How can yoga help me benefit the world around me?" Making the switch to an eco-friendly yoga mat is a great place to get started.
They’re Made From Organic Materials
Thanks to the environmental benefits that come from using organic materials, an eco-friendly yoga mat is a win-win. Not only are they better for you because there are no toxic chemicals released into the air when they are produced, but they also benefit the environment by not requiring extra resources to produce and ship. Eco friendly yoga mats are most commonly made with natural rubber - ours included! If you have a rubber or latex allergy, however, you may want to look for an eco-friendly yoga mat made with hypoallergenic materials like cork, cotton or jute fiber.
They’re Ultra Durable
Speaking of natural rubber - did you know it comes from one of the strongest plants on Earth? Most natural rubber comes from a tree called Hevea Brasiliensis, or the Amazonian Rubber Tree. The sticky white sap that is extracted from rubber trees is super strong and elastic because it contains latex. This is what allows these yoga mats to be flexible without tearing easily. Scientists have been trying to create a synthetic equivalent to natural tree rubber since World War II, but still haven’t found a substitute that’s as durable as the real thing. Of course, simply being made from natural rubber does not mean your eco-friendly yoga mat is going to be ultra durable by default - make sure it is well-constructed too!
They’re (Mostly) Odorless
If you’ve ever unrolled a brand new PVC yoga mat, you know one thing to be true: they can smell. It’s not necessarily the kind of smell that’s a minor inconvenience either - it can be a chemical odor that gives you a headache if you don’t air it out for hours before use. Even after it’s been aired out, that same plastic-y smell can still linger while you’re doing floor exercises. Eco friendly yoga mats aren’t comprised of the same degree of chemicals used to make PVC yoga mats, which makes them mostly odorless. Why do we say “mostly”? Because the natural materials used to create them can make your new eco-friendly yoga mat smell slightly earthy. Much more appealing than feeling like you’re unrolling a cloud of toxic fumes, in our humble opinion!
Have you ever thought about the afterlife of your yoga mat? The durability of an eco-friendly yoga mat will provide you with many happy years of use (as long as you care for it properly, of course!). However, there will eventually come a time where it should be retired and replaced. So what happens to your yoga mat after it heads off to its final resting place? That all depends on the materials it's made from. PVC was deemed “the most environmentally toxic plastic” by Greenpeace, primarily because it is not degradable or biodegradable. In other words, a PVC yoga mat will never fully break down after it is thrown out, no matter how much time has passed. An eco-friendly yoga mat made from natural materials, on the other hand, will decompose over the course of several years. As much as you may hate having to part with your longtime favorite yoga mat, at least you’ll know it won’t be polluting Mother Earth indefinitely.
Ready to Make The Switch to an Eco-Friendly Yoga Mat?
Practicing on an eco-friendly yoga mat isn’t only good for the environment - it’s also good for the soul. Try as you might to find your zen, it can be challenging to truly feel at peace with your place on this planet with our global climate crisis lingering in the back of your mind. By using a yoga mat that doesn’t harm the environment, you’ll be providing yourself with the priceless peace of mind that comes with knowing you’re doing a small part to promote a cleaner, greener earth.
Eco-conscious consumerism isn’t merely a trend: it’s a global movement with an emphasis on shopping sustainably to preserve our planet for generations to come. More and more companies have made sustainable shifts towards eco-friendly production in recent years. For us, however, eco-consciousness has always been at the forefront of our business model since launching in 2017.
Apeiron yoga mats are the perfect blend of form, function and flair perfect for first-timers or advanced yogis alike. Our eco-friendly yoga mats are created using recycled tree rubber and are made without any harmful phthalates or chemicals. Our yoga mats are 100% biodegradable and are machine washable to keep your mat looking brand new and fade free. Say namaste to your new favorite eco-conscious yoga companion!