The rise in the popularity (and necessity) of work-from-home set-ups has inspired many to try things that help with our sedentary lifestyles.
Over the last few years, yoga has become a widespread practice in wellness and meditation, and the yoga mat is often a central piece in any approach. But many issues can come up with the production and use of conventional yoga mats.
As such, there is a necessity to explore more eco friendly options; those that are non-toxic and made from a renewable resource and don’t off-gas harmful VOCs.
Fortunately, you have plenty of options for a new mat. The following are some of the best eco friendly yoga mats we could find, varying in material and make but sustainable all the same.
Yogasana - US
Yogosana takes a different approach to yoga mats than most of us are used to. The core of their methods lies in cotton rug weaving methods from India, which is the more traditional form of making yoga mats.
The Yoga Mat
Yogasana has a handful of different yoga mats in their store, all of them made of natural fibers and do not contain any rubber.
It comes in seven beautiful colors, including an attractive and eco friendly undyed option. The yoga mats are pretty spacious and lay down 27″ x 72″. If you want more space to practice your asanas, this mat will give you all the breathing room you need.
The Yogosana is suitable for most styles of yoga, although you may find it works best when paired with a grip pad at the bottom. Unlike most yoga mats available these days, this yoga mat does not have any “grip” side and is entirely reversible.
The lack of the rubber side is a strategic choice implemented to make sure that the mat lasts for the longest time possible. Without any rubber at the bottom, you can easily clean the mat without fear of shedding or chipping away at the rubber.
Yogasana carries an impressive 15-year warranty for all their mats, assuring us that the product is designed thoughtfully and made to last.
It weighs 2kg, so it’s not the lightest mat out there. But it is still more than sufficient for you to bring around and use for daily practice.
Yogasana mats are made with 100% organic cotton! There are no additional components like synthetic rubber, natural rubber, or toxic chemicals. Their choice of using only organic cotton keeps the mat low impact and incredibly sustainable.
Yogasana uses direct cotton dyes to add color to their products, and none of their dyes contain Benzedrine, mercury, lead, chromium, copper, sodium chloride, or toluene. If you would rather not have additives, you can also get an undyed mat.
The best part about these mats is that they’re handmade. Attached on each mat is a card from the weaver themself, adding a personal touch to your yoga experience that simply cannot be replicated by machine-based mats.
For this reason, Yogasana mats can be more expensive than other rubber mats. But if you have the budget for it, we highly recommend trying out their mats and seeing if they work for you.
Ethics & Community
Yogosana mats are made in India, in a location near Banaras, where yoga is said to come from. All mats are handwoven by weavers, and every step of the production process is handled by hand. From the dyeing to the washing, minimal machinery is involved in the whole process.
The brand pays its workers above minimum wage, trying to address the issue of labor exploitation in small ways. They also source 100% organic cotton from BCI farmers, which helps ensure that the cotton used in their eco mats is less environmentally taxing and supports local communities.
The brand also has a foundation: Yogosana Circle. The fund’s primary goal is to provide educational and financial assistance to the children of Yogosana workers. Since the products are made in an area where poverty is rife, the foundation is a way to assist their workers further and help them build better lives for themselves and their children.
For each mat purchased, $5 goes to the foundation. You are also free to make a monetary donation without any fees. You can read more about their initiative here.
Öko Living - US
Öko Living is all about creating yoga rugs using a regenerative design that is natural, ethical, and of course, earth-friendly.
Their products are 100% natural and do not contain any common toxins plaguing most mats.
The Yoga Mat
The Öwo Mat comes in nine lovely colors to ground you and your practice to the earth. If you’re looking for a pop of color in your practice, we suggest looking at their collection. And if you want to take it a step further, the Chakra Energy Herbal Yoga Mat features seven lovely colors dyed using Ayurvedic plants.
This mat is non-slip and sweat-resistant, making it one of the best yoga mat options for yoga practitioners looking for performance and sustainability in a product. It’s also super supportive and has a 5mm thickness from the 6-ply cotton.
These mats sit at 25″ x 72″ and weigh 3.4 lbs.
Because it is made from cotton, this mat is soft to the touch and allows you to practice yoga comfortably. It is also naturally antimicrobial and antibacterial, fending away nasties that might have accumulated over time.
Of course, it is still essential to constantly clean your mat to keep it in tip-top shape. One thing to note is that this mat is not machine washable, and it is hand wash only, and you need to make sure you’re being gentle since it is made from non-toxic, natural dyes.
The main component of this mat is 100% GOTS organic cotton. The cotton is cleaned and lightened naturally before being spun into yarn. The makers use an ancient Ayurvedic method to dye the fabrics using 20 medicinal-grade herbs. This traditional method helps preserve the potency of the herbs.
Skilled artisans from India then handloom the product. The mat’s grip is intensified by adding a natural latex rubber coat to the bottom of the mat, making it non-slip. If you have a latex allergy, it might be best to avoid this mat as it could trigger an allergic reaction.
Since the whole process is natural and done by hand, no electricity is required to make these eco friendly yoga mats. You get modern design and style made using ancient techniques and wisdom.
Note that the entire process makes the mat more expensive. It can be 3-4x more expensive than your typical PVC or synthetic rubber mat, but it’s more than worth its price.
Ethics & Community
Öko Mats are created in India, and workers partnered with the brand are always paid fair wages. Most of their weavers are women who can work in the comfort of their homes and families.
They also promote healthy working conditions, and all their products are ethically made. Being handwoven, these eco friendly organic mats must be made with love and passion born from a tradition that goes back generations.
Create Flow - Australia
Create Flow, which you may know from their previous name Mukti Mats, is an Australian brand interested in creating eco friendly yoga mats made using natural, sustainable materials.
The founders believe that yoga is an excellent way to deepen our connection with the planet and what better way to supplement that than with a well-performing sustainable yoga mat?
The Yoga Mat
Create Flow only has a handful of yoga mats available on their website. They also have yoga accessories and props like straps and pillows. But don’t let the number of options fool you. Their yoga mats are incredibly high-quality and helpful even on unfamiliar terrain.
The Mukti Grounded Yoga Mat is an excellent option for beginners, experienced yogis, and yoga teachers alike.
The Mukti Grounded Yoga Mat provides an excellent grip that prevents you from slipping and sliding on your mat during poses. This yoga mat is only 4mm thick but provides you with all the necessary cushion you need to protect your body.
It lays at 24 “x 72” and rolls up nicely thanks to its incredibly sleek design. It is relatively heavy, though, at a weight of 2.3 kg, so this wouldn’t be the best yoga mat for travel or if you’re looking for something lightweight.
Make sure to let your mat dry after a sweaty yoga session or whenever you give it a good wash.
The two main components of these eco friendly yoga mats are natural rubber and jute fiber. The brand only uses sustainably harvested tree rubber from Thailand from a farm that is well established and has an environmental sourcing process.
They also use sulphur, BHT, and inorganic dyes as chemical additives in their products. The sulphur is used to facilitate vulcanization and the BHT to slow oxidation. You can read more about what’s in their eco friendly yoga mats here.
Their mats are entirely biodegradable. Once they reach the end of their useful life, you should be able to compost them. However, it will take a lot of time. They estimate that the mats will biodegrade in 5+ years in a compost bin.
It’s a much better option than plastics that take hundreds of years to decompose.
Ethics & Community
All Create Flow mats are manufactured in a facility located in Taiwan, and the workers operate under ethical working guidelines strictly enforced throughout the workplace.
With sustainable materials and an eco friendly outlook during production, Create Flow truly inspires connecting to the earth using the practice of yoga.
Yoloha Yoga - USA
Yoloha comes from the combination of Yoga and Aloha—the founders welcoming you to their life inspired by the outdoors and sustainability.
All Yoloha yoga mats (and other products) are entirely vegan and eco friendly!
The Yoga Mat
Yoloha has a wide assortment of eco friendly yoga mats available in-store. They also have props and accessories that’ll help with your yoga practice, including wheels, cushions, blocks, bags, and straps.
The Aurora Cork Yoga Mat is an ultra-comfortable and well-cushioned mat perfect for protecting your joints during your yoga practice. The fine grain cork on the surface also allows for a soft feel without forgoing grip, which gets stronger the more you sweat.
This mat has antimicrobial properties from the cork, and the closed-cell foam at the bottom of the mat will prevent any smells and bacteria from being absorbed into the mat.
Easy to care for and lightweight, the Aurora mat gives you performance and quality without a high environmental or ethical cost. It weighs 1.7 kgs and lays 6mm thick.
However, if you practice yoga that will make you sweat a lot, this might not be the best mat for you. The Unity and Original Yoga Mats from their collection are far better options for heavy sweating.
What’s more, the brand offers samples for their sustainable yoga mats! If you’re not sure which one to get, you can get a two-piece sample for a nominal amount. You can check more of it out here.
The brand’s yoga mats are predominantly made of cork and rubber.
If you haven’t heard of cork yet, it’s time you did! Cork is one of the up-and-coming materials used in various niches of the fashion and apparel industry, and it only makes sense that its reach includes fitness accessories like yoga mats.
A cork mat is incredibly eco friendly because harvesting cork can easily be a sustainable process. No trees need to be cut down to harvest cork bark, which can benefit our environment! When they’re regenerating their bark, cork oak trees sequester large amounts of carbon dioxide, making the sourcing process very low in emissions.
If you’re interested in knowing more about cork fabric, we discuss this topic in detail in a separate article.
Ethics & Community
Yoloha’s business practices are heavily inspired by a life outdoors—surfing, Yoga. The very core of what they do is always centered on sustainability.
They make their products worldwide, some of them made in China while others are made in the US.
Abhinehkrafts - India
From India, Abhinehkrafts is a boutique designer brand that focuses on making yoga and meditation accessible to all.
Their main goal is to create wellness products that are sustainable, simple, and earth-friendly. Full of heritage and warmth, these products evoke a sense of deep-rooted meaning that aligns with what most of us are seeking in yoga.
The Yoga Mat
Abhinehkrafts creates many different yoga mats depending on your preferences and what you’re looking for.
Their Premium Natural Fiber mats are an excellent choice if you are looking for non-toxic yoga mats perfect for hot yoga sessions.
Made of natural materials, the yoga mat is anti-skid and non-slip, and it gets sturdier the more you practice yoga on it. They measure 28 “x 72” when laid down, which is a bit on the larger end for mats.
Because it’s handwoven, the surface provides an excellent, firm grip while you’re practicing yoga. It weighs only 1.3 kg, so you can easily use it for indoor and outdoor use. Although it isn’t specifically a travel mat, it can work for various locations.
The mat also has hypoallergenic properties, which is good news for those of you with sensitive skin!
The natural fiber yoga mat is easily maintained through handwashing with a damp cloth. Make sure to let it dry thoroughly before rolling it back up.
This eco friendly yoga mat is made of all-natural fibers, namely banana fiber and grass fiber. They use naturally-occurring elephant grass or Indian reed-mace grass to create the mats.
The grass is often found along swamps and riversides, and all its parts—including the leaves, shoot, stem, flowers, and roots—are harvested and used. However, only the leaves are used to make yoga mats.
The underside of the mats is made from natural rubber, which helps with the yoga mat’s grip, keeping you balanced throughout your practice.
Ethics & Community
All of the brand’s products are made in the context of India’s rich textile culture, with designs heavily inspired by nature and the surroundings. But their connection to the world doesn’t stop at design alone.
They also support local artisans (especially women) and use old techniques to bring modern ideas to life using sustainable natural materials to leave a better world for future generations.
GenYouine - Canada
GenYouine is a Canadian company that aims to make yoga available for everyone—no matter your size or how you practice. They build strongly on individuality, growth, transparency, adventure, and of course, bringing goodness into the world.
All their products are 100% biodegradable, and you’ll quickly find a new eco friendly yoga rug in their collection.
The Yoga Mat
GenYouine has a pretty small set of eco friendly yoga mats to choose from. They only have one kind of yoga mat, but it comes in different designs.
The Cork Yoga Mat is PVC, TPE, PER, EVA-free and makes for a completely non-toxic practice. You won’t ever need to worry about inhaling dangerous substances while doing the crow’s pose.
And since it is predominantly made of cork, the natural texture provides an excellent grip that only gets better with moisture. This is a great yoga mat for people who struggle with keeping their balance and constantly slip due to the lack of proper grip.
It comes in 183cm x 66 cm with a 4.5mm thickness. The cushioning is just right to protect your joints from injury and keep you moving smoothly through your practice.
Although the product is primarily made for yoga practice, you can still totally use it for most at-home workouts like HIIT, pilates, or even just doing stretches in your living room.
GenYouine has several mat designs available in their shop, including forests, succulents, mountains, and other outdoor-themed graphics. But if you want, you can also get one blank or even your design printed on the mat!
This is the best eco friendly yoga mat if you’re looking for a cork mat to give to your yogi friend or instructor.
The primary materials used for this mat are cork and natural rubber, making it completely biodegradable and eco friendly.
As we’ve already discussed previously, cork is a fantastic material. It gets more grippy with moisture, so it’s perfect for hot yoga or for routines where you sweat quite a lot. It also has antibacterial properties, unlike most yoga mats on the market today.
The brand uses 100% recycled natural tree rubber for the base of the mat, giving additional cushioning without an added environmental cost.
If you’re worried about the ink used to print the designs, you don’t have to be. GenYouine uses water-based ink that contains no harmful components that many petroleum-based inks contain. And since melding the cork to the rubber only requires a high temperature, no glues are required during production.
They also use recycled fabric for the straps and use absolutely no plastics during shipping to prevent non-renewable waste.
GenYouine has a holistic approach to developing the best and most environmentally friendly yoga mat.
Ethics & Community
The core of everything GenYouine does is authenticity and genuine self-expression. They do this by fostering eco friendly practices within their brand and extending their assistance to those who need it most.
Every year, they pick a program or initiative to donate a portion of their profits. In 2019, their chosen initiative was for better access to clean water in Kagorogoro, Uganda. In 2020, it was all about helping women in Uganda start their small businesses.
This year, 2021, they are donating $5 of each mat purchased to RAINN to assist sexual assault survivors. You can read more about their social responsibility here.
Yogo - US
Yogo is all about providing intelligent and healthy solutions to busy yogis worldwide. Their primary focus is on creating compact yoga rugs that are reliable anytime, anywhere.
More than that, they pay close attention to material sourcing and the ethical quality of their products.
The Yoga Mat
Yogo only has two options for yoga mats, but they’re some of the best you can find in the yoga world.
The Ultralight Folding Yoga Mat is intended to be super compact and travel-friendly. It folds up to an elegant size you can easily pack in your bag whenever you’re traveling or going to your yoga class. It can pack up to newspaper size, which is a pretty impressive feat.
This eco friendly yoga mat opens at 24″ x 68″, which is more than sufficient for the average person. However, if you are on the taller side, you might be better off with their long yoga mat option.
Fair warning, this is a skinny mat. At 1.5mm-2mm, it’s thinner than the standard mat sold in stores. However, this thinness gives it superior portability while not sacrificing performance. Despite being a thin mat, Yogo’s Ultralight will still provide a cushion and bring you even closer to the ground.
It’s also super grippy, and you’ll have no trouble performing your favorite poses with this yoga mat.
Only weighing 0.95 kgs, this is the best eco friendly yoga mat for everyday use. With snap straps that allow you to fold the mat in itself neatly, you should have no trouble bringing it anywhere, anytime.
This mat will easily last you upward of 5 years of regular use with proper care.
Yogo’s yoga mats are natural rubber, cotton, and other minerals.
They use rubber that’s tapped from trees in a long-term rubber plantation. The liquid rubber is then combined with different minerals, dyes, and preservatives to transform it into a soft rubber.
From there, it’s a simple matter of creating sheets from the rubber and attaching the straps accordingly.
Since the mat is made from natural tree rubber, it will biodegrade after the end of its life. Please consult your local composting facility for this to ensure proper treatment. On the other hand, the straps are made of plastic, which you can also recycle locally.
Yogo mats should be 99.9% latex-free because the latex is heated during the production process, thus transforming it into rubber. However, it’s good to note that there may be trace amounts of latex on this item, so be wary if you have a latex allergy.
To lessen the impact of this product, make sure to take good care of it.
Ethics & Community
Yogo is serious about its ethical commitments. They currently process their rubber in a top-of-the-line production facility with ISO 14001 and 9001 certifications while being FSC-certified.
The team behind the brand has personally inspected their manufacturing and sewing facilities to ascertain good working conditions.
The rubber is sourced from Asia, and they’re currently working on sourcing from a plantation with relevant certifications.
If you want to know more about Yogo’s production processes, you can check out their FAQ section, which explains in detail how exactly their products are produced.
With their commitment to creating the perfect environmentally friendly yoga mat and their dedication to transparency, Yogo is one of the best brands from which you can buy earth-friendly yoga mats.
Why A Conventional Yoga Mat Is Not Good Enough
If you’ve ever bought a typical yoga mat before, you’ll notice it has a strong smell when you first roll it out, especially if we’re talking about PVC mats.
That smell is off-gassing from the material used to create the mat, which is often PVC. If you don’t know what PVC is, it’s one of the most dangerous and prolific plastics we use today.
It’s in our pipes, bags, shoes, and our yoga mats.
PVC is detrimental both to our health and the environment. For one, PVC comes from non-renewable sources like crude oil or petroleum, and this makes sourcing the material problematic for local communities and the environment.
What To Look For In An Eco Friendly Yoga Mat
Looking for the best eco friendly yoga rugs isn’t an easy feat; here are some things you have to consider when purchasing the best yoga mat for your needs.
What It’s Made Of
First and foremost, the material. Yoga mats can be made from a wide variety of materials, including Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC), Polymer Environmental Resin (PER), Thermoplastic Elastomer (TPE), natural rubber, synthetic rubber, cotton, cork, and so many others.
But among all of the materials available, we recommend you choose one made from natural, renewable resources. Those that biodegrade have a far lower environmental price than those that just are stuck in landfills.
After all, a high-performance mat that isn’t environmentally friendly may be counterproductive to your yoga practice.
Some synthetic yoga rugs may also be made from recycled plastic bottles, recycled wetsuits, or even an old mat! These could also be potentially sustainable options but constantly assess the product first.
Where Are The Materials From
Of course, we also have to think about where the material is from. Even natural and renewable materials like rubber trees can be sourced unsustainably. Cork mats may also come from unsustainably harvested cork, so it’s always a good idea to check if your new mat was made with ethically and sustainably sourced materials.
How Is It Made
Buying the best eco friendly yoga rug isn’t limited to what it’s made of. We also have to consider the hands making the product and whether they are compensated for their work.
Some workers have to endure long-term exposure to toxic chemicals and heavy metals without proper health measures, which is unethical.
For a mat to be truly ethical and sustainable, it has to come from a facility that supports its workers through living wages and safe working conditions.
Looking for an eco friendly yoga mat may have been a challenge 5 to 10 years ago. But now, so many brands are coming out with non-toxic, eco friendly options, and small companies continue to pop up all over the globe.
And as the pandemic increased our interest in home-based workouts like yoga, we can expect this trend to continue in the future.
In a fast-paced world where you’re expected to always perform your best at whatever cost, yoga is such a great way to ground ourselves in what is truly important in our lives.
And the best part is that your yoga practice doesn’t have to come at the expense of the environment. The eco friendly yoga mats we’ve featured prove as much. There’s no shortage of sustainable ways to improve your yoga journey with natural components ranging from jute to banana fibers.
Enjoy, and namaste.