Everything You Need To Know About Eco Yoga Mats
If you're a yoga enthusiast who's also environmentally conscious, you are likely interested in switching to an eco-friendly yoga mat or eco-friendly travel yoga mat. But with so many options available, it can be overwhelming to know where to start. This guide covers everything you need to know about eco-friendly yoga mats, including the materials eco-friendly yoga mats are made from, the benefits of eco-friendly yoga mats, why eco-friendly yoga mats cost more, how long eco-friendly yoga mats last, how to care for eco-friendly yoga mats and more.
Why Should I Use An Environmentally Friendly Yoga Mat?
Yoga mats have become an essential tool to practice yoga. Before yoga became popularised in the West yoga was most commonly practiced on a rug or carpet. Ancient yoga texts mention doing yoga on top of animal skins. Presumably, animals that died naturally as killing for example a tiger for its skin so to do yoga doesn't at all align with the yoga philosophy of Ahimsa (nonviolence).
This results in millions of yoga mats being purchased and eventually disposed of (that's the equivalent of a small mountain of yoga mats in a landfill!). The majority of the yoga mats available are made from non-biodegradable and toxic plastic-derived materials like PVC, PU, PER, microfibre etc.
By choosing an eco-friendly yoga mat made from sustainably sourced natural materials you align yourself fully with the philosophy and practice of yoga. An eco-friendly yoga mat benefits you, your yoga practice and the planet simultaneously. Feeling closer to nature as you flow through yoga poses with a calming natural coloured yoga mat made from natural jute and natural tree rubber with unrivalled grip is unsurpassed.
Why Are Eco-Friendly Yoga Mats Environmentally Friendly?
Truly eco-friendly yoga mats are made from natural plant-based materials. This means that once the yoga mat has completed its life as a yoga mat it can be safely composted and given back to earth.
How Do I Best Care For An Eco-Friendly Yoga Mat?
To clean your eco yoga mat use a natural cleaning solution. You can easily and inexpensively mix a homemade gentle diluted vinegar water solution. This will help to remove any build-up of dirt.
Can I Use My Eco-Friendly Yoga Mat Outside?
Yes, the joy of practising yoga in nature is something everyone must try at least once. When the summer days arrive there is something quite beautiful about practicing yoga in the early morning sun while the world is slowly waking up. Brush or wipe off any dirt or dust or use your homemade natural yoga mat cleaning solution to clean your eco yoga mat (recipe above).
Can I Put My Eco-Friendly Yoga Mat In The Compost?
Yes, you can however depending on the age of your yoga mat it will take some years (however only a small fraction of the million years it takes a PVC yoga mat to degrade). Fresh vegetables and garden waste naturally compost much faster. Old eco-friendly yoga mats make great kneeling/sitting cushioning for weeding, tending to the garden and camping.
Why Do Eco-Friendly Yoga Mats Cost More Than Other Yoga Mats?
The price of raw natural sustainably sourced materials are almost always more expensive than synthetic materials. The synthetic materials used in the majority of yoga mats are byproducts of the oil industry which makes them cheap and widely available and in vast quantities. Thankfully with the world now moving towards sustainable energy and the electrification of cars, we will become less dependent on oil.
At Complete Unity Yoga we make products with the highest quality sustainable natural materials which naturally cost more to manufacture.
What Are Eco-Friendly Yoga Mats Made From?
Eco friendly yoga mats are made from natural rubber from rubber trees.
Rubber trees (Hevea brasiliensis) are large evergreen trees that primarily grow in tropical regions. They thrive in regions with an annual rainfall of around 200cm to 300cm.
Latex, which is used to produce rubber, is the primary economic product of rubber trees. It is harvested by making a diagonal cut through the bark of the tree, allowing the milky latex sap to flow into a collection cup attached to the trunk. Rubber trees usually start yielding latex after about 5 to 7 years. The trees can be tapped for latex for about 25 to 30 years or more.
Thailand is one of the largest producers of natural rubber and has a long history of rubber cultivation. Indonesia is another significant producer of natural rubber. Other countries include Vietnam, Malaysia, India and Sri Lanka.
Is Yoga Mat Rubber And Car Tyre Rubber The Same?
No, yoga mats are made from natural tree rubber and car tyre rubber is synthetically made rubber.
Yoga mat rubber is natural whereas car tyre rubber is synthetically made using byproducts of the oil industry. There are several types of synthetic rubber, each with its own specific composition and manufacturing process.
My Eco-Friendly Yoga Mat Has A Smell. Why?
Natural rubber has a distinct fragrance. Naturally, when you open your new yoga mat for the first time the smell will be at its strongest and lessen over time. To speed up this process air your yoga mat out of direct sunlight. Many yogis prefer the smell of natural rubber over the toxic smell of PVC and oil-derived plastics that make up many other types of yoga mats.
How Long Will A Eco-Friendly Yoga Mat Last?
For each person it’s unique and it very much depends on how much you practice yoga, how you store your yoga mat and what you personally perceive to be an old yoga mat that needs replacing. Some customers like to replace their yoga mats more often whereas others prefer to wait. You can expect anywhere from 1 - 5 years and beyond.
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