Yoga Mats: Friends or Foes?
Have you ever wondered what the heck is your mat made of? This is a PSA for all vets, newbies, and in-betweeners about your yoga mats. A movement has been started in the yogi community called the Plastic Free Yoga Revolution. I’m kinda hoping people use the acronyms PFYR (Fah-eye-yur) because this info is straight fuego.
Of course, we all have different requirements of what we want in a mat, but ultimately we want a yoga mat which is comfortable, reliable and durable. And that works with the yoga we practice and our specific body type. This is day one stuff.
Because yoga has become so popular, the quality of the mats is being held to new standards. Eco-friendly yoga mats are now in huge demand because they are recyclable, better for the ecosystem, and even better for our bodies.
The Cheap, Plastic Mats Are So Last Decade (And Not Recyclable)
Of course, those cheaper, plastic yoga mats that were so popular decades ago are still around. Makes sense – they are less expensive, but there’s a catch. They’re made of plastic and synthetic materials #NOTorganic. So they’re not only bad for the landfills and can’t be recycled, but they have toxic materials and who wants to put their bodies on that!?
I don’t! Do you? Wait… you don’t, right? *applies peer pressure*
The happy news is that yoga manufacturers are onto this eco-friendly trend, and there are tons of choices out there. There are so many eco-friendly yoga mats to choose from that are flexible and equally comfortable. The eco-friendly brands are made from different textures from cotton to cork and even jute that are eco-friendly, comfortable and durable.
OK – so now that you’ve narrowed the choice down to eco-friendly brands, below are some other ideas to ponder when purchasing a new yoga mat:
Do You Like it Rough Or Soft… Mat?
If you want an eco-friendly texture that’s a little rougher, choose one that’s made of cork. The rougher mat is better for the more advanced styles of yoga. If you’re just beginning, you will be doing a lot more stretching so a softer jute or cotton mat might be better for you. The traction of the mat is also essential so you can get the right grip when you switch positions, I mean poses. 😉
The thickness of your MAT is really personal to your style of yoga and your body. If you have any sort of joint or back pain or have a boney back, you probably want a thicker mat. If you typically practice a meditative yoga, then a thicker mat might also be the better choice, so you aren’t feeling the floor.
On the other hand, if you want a mat that is better for switching poses, then a thinner mat is usually preferable so you can feel the floor as you move.
Sturdiness of the Mat
The sturdier eco-friendly mats are more helpful in yoga practices that require you to lunge, kneel or hold your position for any length of time. Look for one of the thicker, eco-friendly mats that are not only more sturdy, but durable and last a long time. The sturdy mats can really protect you if you practice a more strenuous yoga.
If your yoga is a little more advanced, a stickier mat is probably the better choice. It can help keep your alignment and position correct when you move around. If you’re practicing a yoga where you sweat a lot, then a sticky yoga mat can also help stop you from slipping and helps you hold your position for a longer time.
These are just some of the fundamentals of what to consider when purchasing a yoga mat. The mat, like our clothes, is a personal decision. You want to be comfortable, feel safe, and have it suit your particular body.
But, the one thing we can all agree is that an eco-friendly mat is the way to go. Try a few eco-friendly brands out and see what works best for you and your yoga practice.
Peace, Love, and Light!