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SPY Guide: How To Find a Non-Toxic and Eco-Friendly Yoga Mat

* Eco-friendly yoga mats mean less waste and more sustainable production
* Made with materials like tree rubber and organic cork
* Performance-minded mats for yoga, pilates and everyday stretching

When we think about yoga mats, we often think about the comfort and thickness of the design, the texture, level of grip (matters when doing hot yoga) and the colorways that reflects our discerning taste in great athletic gear. Here, we take it one step further by looking closely at what our mats are made of—after all, we are getting pretty intimate (and sweaty) with our yoga mats with all those face-down floor positions and Savasanas (corpse pose), shouldn’t we know what we’re putting our bodies on?

There are many mats out there that are made with plastics, toxic rubber, and PVC (vinyl) that can not only smell funky but give off gasses that can get into our bare skin and lungs during yoga practice too. It’s a negative material for us, and the environment as well, because there is no way to recycle these mats after you toss them and the toxins continue to leach into the ecosystem.

Luckily, we discovered four fantastic yoga and Pilates mats from well-known brands like Gaiam and Jade, who have crafted eco-friendly mats made with alternative materials. It only makes sense that your spiritual and fitness-focused practice should be supported by mindful products made with sustainable materials. Here’s what to look for.

1. Manduka’s EKO Yoga and Pilates Mat

You may be wondering what exactly “alternative” materials refer to when it comes to the construction of exercise mats. Well, rubber is what makes up the bulk of these designs, but all rubber should not be treated equally. Manduka utilizes non-Amazon tree rubber to minimize deforestation in the rainforest. They also avoid non-toxic dyes and agents to color and treat their EKO mats. They take their environmental impact one step further by reusing leftover materials to reduce waste during the manufacturing process

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What you can expect from this lightweight and portable design during your fitness practice is great surface traction on hands and feet while also repelling sweat and dirt from the mat’s surface.

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Courtesy of Amazon

2. Repose Organic Cork Mat

This unexpected find takes an innovative approach to material by using organic cork. Apparently, this bark-based material helps eliminate bacteria and repels mold and mildew, which is super helpful when it comes to sweat and humid climates. In addition, Repose ensures that zero plastic is used during the manufacturing process. This easy-to-clean yoga mat has a tree rubber on the bottom to help grip the floor during practice and comes with a carrying strap for easy travel.

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Courtesy of Amazon

3. Gaiam Lightweight Mat

Gaiam is a household name for yogis worldwide and we are excited to see them taking a conscientious approach to their collection of yoga mats. This design uses the same eco-friendly natural rubber as the other mats we listed while also integrating a stabilizing core within the design to avoid bunching when transitioning from one pose to the next. The sleek black mat has a 3mm thickness for mid-range support and is a cool choice for guys who want to maintain a sophisticated look at the studio and don’t need the distraction of bright colors when practicing.

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Courtesy of Amazon

4. JadeYoga Harmony Mat

Jade’s eco yoga mats have caused a lot of buzz in the industry as consumers are demanding higher-quality materials in their gear. The company takes a holistic approach to their most-popular Harmony mat (made in the U.S.) by complying with all environmental, labor and consumer protection laws in the country. Their tree rubber is sourced in the U.S. and offers great support for practitioners through its open-cell rubber that lets you stick a handstand, worry-free.

Their collaboration with Trees for the Future gives back to the environment by planting a tree for every single mat sold. Guilt-free shopping is a go.

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Courtesy of Amazon