Why should sustainability stand in the way of your mid-morning vinyasa flow? It shouldn’t! So, here's the best eco friendly yoga mats.  Image by Yoga Design Lab #ecofriendlyyogamats #sustainableyogamats #sustainablejungle
Image by Yoga Design Lab
Why should sustainability stand in the way of your mid-morning vinyasa flow? It shouldn’t! So, here's the best eco friendly yoga mats. Image by Scoria #ecofriendlyyogamats #sustainableyogamats #sustainablejungle
Image by Scoria
Why should sustainability stand in the way of your mid-morning vinyasa flow? It shouldn’t! So, here's the best eco friendly yoga mats.  Image by Jade Yoga #ecofriendlyyogamats #sustainableyogamats #sustainablejungle
Image by Jade Yoga

7 Eco Friendly Yoga Mats For That Sustainable Stretch


Sustainability is just as important as stretching—especially when our health and the health of the planet are at risk. 

Most plastic yoga mats are made of PVC, which poses (pun intended) a huge risk to any asana advocate. It exposes you to carcinogenic dioxins and has a heavy carbon footprint. 

Hot yoga ✔️; Hot planet ❌

We don’t know about you, but that makes us feel pretty anti-zen.

So, stand tall, limber up, and take a deep, grounding breath in—because we’re on the hunt for the best eco friendly yoga mat.

For a quick flow, picture digging your heels into an organic cotton yoga rug from Jade Yoga or a sustainable yoga mat made from natural cork, natural rubber, or recycled materials by Shakti Warrior.

Mukha Yoga has all the environmentally friendly yoga mats you need to make your daily yoga practice free flowing. 

Now get your ujjayi breath going, limber up in your favorite eco friendly leggings, and let’s get down-dog to business.

For more on how we choose brands, cobra roll your way to the bottom of the article.

*This post contains affiliate links

1. JADE YOGA

Why should sustainability stand in the way of your mid-morning vinyasa flow? It shouldn’t! So, here's the best eco friendly yoga mats.  Image by Jade Yoga #ecofriendlyyogamats #sustainableyogamats #sustainablejungle
Image by Jade Yoga

About Jade Yoga

Thanks to their commitment to making the high performance mats and Earth-friendly yoga products, we’ll salute Jade Yoga as we do our sun salutations. 

For two decades, the brand has been trying to take the slip out of yoga mats—while giving the slip to the unsustainable elements.

They were the first company to make “green” and non-toxic yoga mats and have expanded their range to include not just non slip eco friendly mats, but also mats to suit any yogi and any need. 

Beginner, elite, travel, extra thick, mini, and foldable mats are just a few in the mix of the Jade mat options.  

Jade Yoga’s Ethical and Sustainability Practices

Materials:

You’ll find sustainably sourced natural rubber in all Jade mats except their organic cotton Mysore Yoga Rugs, finished with vegetable dyes made from turmeric, cumin, and indigo.

None contain PVC, EVA, or synthetic rubber.

Supply chain & labor practices:

Each Jade mat is made in the U.S. , except the organic cotton rug, which is traditionally made in India.

Green business practices:

Jade is operated by a former lawyer for the Environmental Protection Agency—a good indication that sustainability is a priority.

Not only are their yoga mats made of natural materials, but they provide tips for properly recycling / upcycling old yoga mats.

Community & charitable giving:

Jade Yoga plants a tree for every yoga mat sold—over two million so far—through Trees for the Future.

$5 from certain mat purchases are donated to causes like Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, and Autism Awareness Month.  

With each Mysore Yoga Rug purchased, Jade provides a week of hot lunch to a child in India through the Akshaya Patra Foundation—think of it as hot yoga for hot lunch!

Their Community Partners program provides the homeless, prisoners, hospital patients, and underprivileged students with grants to try yoga,

Available: Jade Yoga

2. MUKHA YOGA

Why should sustainability stand in the way of your mid-morning vinyasa flow? It shouldn’t! So, here's the best eco friendly yoga mats. Image by Mukha Yoga #ecofriendlyyogamats #sustainableyogamats #sustainablejungle
Image by B Yoga for Mukha Yoga

About Mukha Yoga

We think the advice from this brand’s founder is pretty sound: Do Yoga, Save the Planet.

Mukha Yoga is your one-stop-shop for a variety of brands making sustainable yoga mats, clothing, and any Asana-adjacent.

If you want to find and compare mats from the likes of Hugger Mugger, Jade Yoga, Alo, and more, this female founded yoga e-emporium is it.

Mukha Yoga’s Ethical and Sustainability Practices

Materials:

Given the number of mats from a variety of brands you’ll find on Mukha Yoga, be prepared for an equal numbers of materials, too. 

But rest assured, Mukha only stocks mats made of eco friendly materials, like natural rubber, cork, recycled plastic bottles, jute, and non-toxic foam—no PVC mats here.

For example, the only mat by Gaiam (who still largely uses PVC) they carry is their jute yoga mat.

Supply chain & labor practices: 

Since Mukha Yoga does not actually offer its own branded products, there is no manufacturing immediately involved.

Each vendor of theirs is handpicked for quality and ethics.

Green business practices:

Most vendors are based on the West Coast, which keeps their supply chain localized.

While they already ship plastic-free, Mukha Yoga joins one of their brands, prAna, to #ReshapePackaging by working to eliminate excess packaging waste from their supply chain.

Mukha sponsors occasional tree planting campaigns. 

Community & charitable giving:

Inner peace and enlightenment should be accessible to everyone, which is they provide a huge range of free community resources, like guided meditation, yoga pose guides, and nourishing recipes.

Available: Mukha Yoga

3. BEAN PRODUCTS

Why should sustainability stand in the way of your mid-morning vinyasa flow? It shouldn’t! So, here's the best eco friendly yoga mats. Image by Bean Products #ecofriendlyyogamats #sustainableyogamats #sustainablejungle
Image by Bean Products

About Bean Products

Chicago is famous for its bean (and their thrift stores) so it’s only fitting this next brand hails from the Wind City.

Bean Products makes yoga mats, props, and bags.

And if your favorite yoga studio is your own lounge, you can let them help you pad that too, with organic pillows, eco friendly dog beds, and other sustainable home goods.

Bean Products’ Ethical and Sustainability Practices

Materials:

The OMphibian mats feature a wet or dry grip (for hot yoga, of course) PU surface with a natural rubber core.

Other mats are made of a phthalate-free, recyclable TPE or a natural rubber and synthetic blend.

Bean Products does offer a PVC mat that may be SGS-tested as free of toxic phthalates, dioxins, furans, phena, and heavy metals, but we’d recommend the natural mats over this one.

Any designs are etched into the material rather than painted on with chemical inks.

They also have an OEKO-TEX 100 cotton yoga mat (though we’re not sure if it’s organic cotton) that’s more like a cushion for those days when all you want from your yoga practice is to savasana.

Supply chain & labor practices: 

Bean Products are made in the USA, which is also where some of the hemp used in their sustainable yoga props is grown.

Green business practices:

Bean take pre-consumer furniture scraps and post-consumer recycled polystyrene to stuff their bean bag chairs.

Be sure to opt-in to their carbon neutral shipping when buying your Bean.

Community & charitable giving:

For every product they make, they plant one tree through Trees for the Future.

They also support The Hemp Foundation, which helps not only fund hemp research, but also farming families in Uttarakhand, India.

Available: Bean Products

4. SHAKTI WARRIOR

Why should sustainability stand in the way of your mid-morning vinyasa flow? It shouldn’t! So, here's the best eco friendly yoga mats. Image by Shakti Warrior #ecofriendlyyogamats #sustainableyogamats #sustainablejungle
Image by Shakti Warrior

About Shakti Warrior

Shakti Warrior puts the “goddess” in Goddess Pose.

This mother-daughter founded and female-run company offers everything from props, bags, and mats to eco friendly water bottles for staying hydrated during your bikram yoga class.

Whether you leans toward Buti bright or classic cat-cow cork with delicate drawings, these beautiful mats feature artwork that would surely inspire your practice. 

With hyper-portable, foldable 1mm and 3mm mats and fully supportive 5mm mats, they offer something for every yoga practice.

Shakti Warrior’s Ethical and Sustainability Practices

Materials:

Despite their huge design selection, Shakti makes three different kinds of mats, all with a natural rubber base for grip and cushioning.

This natural rubber is either topped with hemp, natural cork, or recycled plastic bottle micro-fiber suede. The latter is the only one that’s not biodegradable.

All are free from harmful phthalates, latex, toxic glue, silicone, PVC, and chlorine and use water-based inks.

Supply chain & labor practices: 

Yoga mat bags are manufactured through the Samarpan Foundation’s Institute of Learning, Culture and Art, which provides socially disadvantaged women with tailoring skills training, high wages, encouraging conditions, and health care.

We’ll be reaching out to confirm where the mats are manufactured.

Green business practices:

These eco friendly mats are manufactured in a safe way that releases no toxic emissions into the atmosphere.

Be sure to recycle your old yoga mat if you want 10% off your new one. It’ll get transformed into flip flops that are then distributed to communities in need.

Community & charitable giving:

“Committed to empowering women athletes” Shakti Warrior places volunteer coaches in underfunded schools in order to provide girls with sports opportunities. 

They also plant a tree for every natural cork mat sold.

Yoga teachers can join their Teacher Tribe for discounts.

Available: Shakti Warrior

5. SCORIA

Why should sustainability stand in the way of your mid-morning vinyasa flow? It shouldn’t! So, here's the best eco friendly yoga mats.  Image by Scoria #ecofriendlyyogamats #sustainableyogamats #sustainablejungle
Image by Scoria

About Scoria

Looking for a sustainable yoga mat in Canada?

Scoria was founded and crowdfunded on Kickstarter with one mission: to #SparkTheChildWithin.

Founder Yara is dedicated to creating products that serve as a safe space for all to express themselves courageously and fearlessly.

Scoria’s range of sustainable cork yoga mats come in unique and beautiful designs.

Scoria’s Ethical and Sustainability Practices

Materials:

Scoria’s biodegradable mats are made of natural rubber tapped from rubber trees and sustainably-harvested cork.

If you’re looking for a naturally anti microbial mat for your hot yoga love, an eco friendly cork yoga mat like the Scoria Cork Mar means you don’t need to “fret the sweat”.

These beautiful mats are the product of water-based inks, and they use a light, water-based eco adhesive.

Supply chain & labor practices:

Scoria’s yoga mats are SGS REACH certified.

Assembly and manufacturing happens in China, and designs are finished in Canada. These partners are scrutinized to ensure that working conditions and wages are ethical, fair, humane, and safe.

Green business practices:

The cork is sustainably harvested from mature trees in Portugal every 9-12 years. The sustainable process allows the cork to regenerate and actually supports tree health. 

Everything comes in plastic-free packaging. 

Community & charitable giving:

Through a partnership with Feeding Children Everywhere, every mat purchase provides ten healthy vegan meals to those in need.

Available: Scoria

6. YOGA DESIGN LAB

Why should sustainability stand in the way of your mid-morning vinyasa flow? It shouldn’t! So, here's the best eco friendly yoga mats.  Image by Yoga Design Lab #ecofriendlyyogamats #sustainableyogamats #sustainablejungle
Image by Yoga Design Lab

About Yoga Design Lab

Yoga Design Lab was born out of a trip to Bali (the quintessential place of yoga dreams).

Founder Chad Turner wanted an alternative to unoriginal, mass-produced yoga mats.

Choosing better products for our planet and practice is possible with YDL’s range of natural and recycled eco friendly yoga mats.

Between their ytterly beautiful yoga mats and natural and/or recycled materials, we’re down for that downward dog with YDL. 

Yoga Design Lab’s Ethical and Sustainability Practices

Materials:

There are three materials in YDL’s large eco friendly yoga mat range: natural cork, natural rubber, and recycled plastic bottle microfiber.

YDL’s 3.5mm Combo Mat consists of natural tree rubber and recycled PET microfiber, and its prana-popping color comes from water-based inks.

Their 5.5mm Cork Yoga Mat is made from biodegradable natural, antimicrobial cork, and natural rubber. 

The ultra-thin 1.0mm sustainable travel yoga mat is made from natural rubber and recycled PET microfiber.

These vegan yoga mats are free of silicone, toxic glue, and phthalates. 

Supply chain & labor practices:

Yoga Design Lab gets a gold star for “sustainable” but a ? on “ethical”. Unfortunately, we could not find much on their supply chain and they’ve yet to respond to our inquiries.

Community & charitable giving:

The Dalai Lama believed, “If every 8-year-old in the world is taught meditation, we will eliminate violence from the world within one generation.”

That’s why $1 of every purchase goes towards supporting Urban Youth Programs in South Africa, NYC, and Canada. 

Available: Yoga Design Lab

7. MANDUKA

Image by Manduka

About Manduka

Manduka is a big name in the yoga world.

Crafted using simple, natural, enduring, and renewable materials, Manduka’s extensive and colorful range means an affordable eco friendly yoga mat for everyone.

What started with a simple black mat has evolved into quite the selection of PRO mats, GRP mats, Foundation mats, and—our personal favorite, as the most sustainable yoga mats—eKO mats

Manduka’s Ethical and Sustainability Practices

Materials:

The natural eKO mats (1.5mm, 3mm., 4mm, and 5mm) are made with non-Amazon natural rubber and are zero waste manufactured.

They’re free of harmful plasticizers and foaming agents to soften the natural rubber. 

Additionally, natural cotton and polyester is blended for reinforcement, meaning they’re not totally biodegredable.

The PRO series mats are made with high-quality PVC (which is something we’d avoid), but are manufactured with zero-emissions.

Supply chain & labor practices:

Conservancy and transparency are important for Manduka, which is why they search for innovative partners that respect the land and the people making mats. They haven’t yet clarified for us what that means.

Green business practices:

Their post-industrial scrap materials are thoughtfully collected and repurposed in the production of other materials. 

Through their LiveOn mat recycling program, Manduka customers can send back old mats after ordering a new one. While the program costs $10, Manduka accepts any brand. 

Community & charitable giving: 

Once you donate an old mat, The Renewable Workshop recycles it into apparel, running tracks, and home insulation used to improve communities around the globe.

Available: Manduka

WHY CHOOSE SUSTAINABLE YOGA MATS

If we’re getting real close to our yoga mat while in child’s pose, we’d like to steer clear of any PVC – a material found in many yoga mats.

What is PVC and why is it bad?

PVC, or polyvinyl chloride, is a cheap plastic made from petroleum and chemicals (like vinyl chloride, which is known to cause cancer). 

Combine this with the heavy metals it can leach and phthalates (endocrine / hormone disruptors and known carcinogens) that make it soft, pliable, and grippy, and you’ve got a recipe for most yoga mats.

According to the CDC, exposure to PVC can cause:

  • Worsening asthma and allergies
  • CNS and respiratory system disorders 
  • Liver damage
  • Heart disease
  • Breast cancer
  • Type II diabetes 
  • Recused fertility 
  • Danger to unborn children (it’s been found in breast milk!)

Kind of makes you want to skip hot yoga, doesn’t it?

If you’re temporarily stuck with a PVC pad, fear not: cover it with an eco friendly towel (ideally organic cotton) to reduce contact. 

There’s also no safe way to recycle or destroy PVC, so that pretty purple PVC mat of yours will exist forever.

Instead of throwing it away, try recycling. Some yoga mat recycling programs can put them to a less harmful use.

You can think of ways to repurpose them—outside your home of course—like a non-slip underlay for your home’s welcome mat.

For more on why we should avoid PVC, this video by the Safe Water Advocacy Alliance sums it up nicely.

PVC alternatives for yoga mats can lighten the aura around the yoga mat market. 


HOW WE FOUND THE BEST ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY YOGA MATS

We like to use our sustainable and ethical fashion criteria for anything that ends up in our homes or closets. 

Materials:

We’re going to stretch a little deeper here since it’s so important with this topic. While yoga mat materials look a lot different than the sustainable fabrics found in say, ethical activewear, they share similar characteristics. 

Unfortunately, we not only need to look out for PVC but for the greenwashed assumption that PVC-free is the same thing as non-toxic.

Irena Webb’s (of I Read Labels for You) guidelines reveal that many “non toxic” yoga mats are not nearly as non toxic as they claim and can still contain carcinogens:

  • Synthetic rubber: Still heavily petroleum-based and full of carcinogenic styrene. Avoid this as much as PVC.
  • PER (Polymer Environmental Resin): Basically just PVC that’s been plasticized and stabilized with acetyl tributyl citrate, instead of phthalate-based plasticizers. 
  • TPE (Thermo Plastic Elastomer): Another petroleum-based product that often has undisclosed additives. While not all TPE mats are bad, it’s almost impossible to tell which ones are truly non toxic. 
  • EVA (Ethylene Vinyl Acetate): Petroleum-based but chlorine free. However, that means formaldehyde is a common replacement.

Are mats made of these less harmful than PVC?

Considering PVC is the most dangerous and insidious type of plastic, yes, but the bar is pretty low.

Still, it’s not ideal and since true plant foam is yet to exist, we must look to less obvious natural materials.

Natural rubber is a much better yoga mat material. It’s a renewable resource made by tapping natural latex of rubber trees, in a process similar to tapping for maple syrup.

Cork mats = good yoga mats because cork fabric harvesting actually helps ensure the healthy growth of the cork oak tree (a process which sequesters a lot of carbon).

Jute fiber, organic cotton, and hemp fabric are other natural materials making an appearing in eco friendly mats.

Similarly, we check that natural eco dyes and adhesives are used.  

Supply chain and labor practices:

Fair wages and US-based manufacturing make us feel extra pumped for that 5am ashtanga class.  

Unfortunately, the yoga mat industry still has some catching up to do here, so we’re looking forward to updating this article with more details on the ethical labor practices after reaching out to these brands. 

Green business practices:

Clever reuse of materials, eco-friendly packaging materials, practices to reduce waste, and tips for recycling yoga mats always get an A+ from us. 

Community & charitable giving:

We love brands that give back, whether it be through donations, events, or simply cultivating a caring Community.

Karma is a Buddhist notion, after all.


FINAL THOUGHTS ON THE MOST SUSTAINABLE YOGA MATS

When you hit the mat, the last thing you want on your mind is… well… anything.

Concerns of toxins and off-gassing will mess with even the most focused-flow. 

Whether your goal through yoga is mindfulness and meditation, or a killer Paschimottanasana pose, you should be able to flow free from the worries of the environmental footprint of your mat.  

We hope this article was enlightening to you, no matter where you are in your yoga journey.

But we can only stretch so far.

Now we need the help of you yogis to deepen that stretch and spread the word about the most sustainable yoga mats. Next time you bring your jute yoga mat to class, don’t be afraid to show it off!


Why should sustainability stand in the way of your mid-morning vinyasa flow? It shouldn’t! So, here's the best eco friendly yoga mats.  Image by Manduka #ecofriendlyyogamats #sustainableyogamats #sustainablejungle

4 thoughts on “7 Eco Friendly Yoga Mats For That Sustainable Stretch”

  1. Great article! I was only familiar with Manduka from these five brands and buying an eco-friendly mat will definitely be something I’ll look at for my next purchase. One of the foundational principles in yoga is about non-harm – Ahimsa (https://elevatecalm.com/ahimsa/), which also involves not harming the environment. So I consider an eco-friendly yoga mat essential for every yogi!

    Reply

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