Yoga mat materials: make your choice with full awareness

You’re looking for a yoga mat but don’t know which materials to choose? You want to know what impact you make while practicing your favourite activities? Learn about yoga mat materials and make your choice with full awareness.

You see yourself meditating at sunset, taking advantage of the first sunlight to start your stretching routine, or even practicing yoga during your lunch break at your favourite spot. Only one thing left to do: to unroll your yoga mat. 

But when it comes to looking for the one that will match your activities, budget and value, it quickly becomes “Mission: impossible!”. Particularly when the question of what materials you should be picking pops up.

As marvelous people, you want to be aware of your impact and it is out of the question to harm the environment doing what you love. In this article, we help you to better understand yoga mat materials so that you can make your choice with full awareness.

3 most common yoga mat materials: 

Choosing your yoga mat is essential in any new journey you want to start. But, when it comes to choosing your yoga mat, what material should you choose? What a challenging task! 

It has to fit your budget, and your practice(s): workout, relaxation, pilates, hot yoga classes, meditation… And also your values, and what you stand for

You have probably already heard about PVC, natural rubber, jute, thermoplastic elastomer, polymer, and organic cotton… But what are these? Do they fit your needs? Are they harmful to the environment? 

Let’s bring some light on the 3 most common yoga mat materials: 

- PVC (or vinyl): it is a plastic-based material and probably is the cheapest type of mat you can find. PVC is easily washable and also has great resistance to moisture. On the other hand, it is a non-absorbent material and can become slippery when you sweat heavily. Even if it is known as the best yoga mat material when it comes to longevity, it isn’t the case after intense use. PVC mats tend to chip easily and keep rolling up (yes, it is our experience speaking here). On top of that it is not biodegradable and, generally, PVC is considered toxic (particularly when manufactured with harmful chemicals). 

- TPE (thermoplastic elastomer) is a man-made blend, usually of rubber polymers and plastic. TPE yoga mats are classic sticky mats. They are closed-cell, meaning that your sweat won’t be absorbed by the mat, making it a very easy mat surface to clean after practice. As a rubber-like material, it has both the advantages of rubber and the easy processing of plastics. To describe TPE as a yoga mat material in two words: lightweight and relatively affordable. It is a common material used for exercise and yoga mats and is considered to be biodegradable. However, TPE mats may become slippery if you sweat a lot.

- Natural rubber: this exercise and yoga mat is top of the list if sustainability is your priority. It is an excellent choice for more grounding practice as it provides great cushioning (porous, spongy, and non-toxic). It is also really effective for sweaty practice as it has a good absorbing capacity. From our practice, yoga mats made of natural rubber are durable, especially when equipped with a protection layer on top. They are very grippy on the floor (due to their weight), and their natural texture provides traction for your body. It is to be noted that most natural rubber mats come with a top: the base being from natural rubber and the top from cotton, cork, PU, suede…

Why did we choose natural rubber? 

Marvelous people always thrive to better understand, respect and cherish what's around us. Following this vision, hurting our planet earth or any kind of living while practicing our favourite activities is out of the question. 

So we naturally ended up looking for the best way to make our exercise and yoga mats as sustainable as possible. 

But what exactly makes a product sustainable? What is an eco-friendly company? Let’s break this down! 

A sustainable product should use raw materials from as environmentally social or harmless sources as possible. The materials used at the start will highly influence the overall sustainability of the product throughout the life cycle. 

Then comes the recyclability and the need to consider the environmental impact at the end of the product's life. Using recyclable or environmentally friendly materials will make a significant change. 

And, finally, the manufacturing process which includes the power sources required, the materials used during the process, and, of course, the supply chain. 

Realizing that there are no real eco-friendly yoga mats or companies, we decided to go with the most sustainable and recyclable yoga mat material possible: natural rubber. Making it possible for you to connect, enjoy and practice cycle after cycle in the least harmful manner possible. 

Bottom line: 

As a general rule, aim for yoga mat materials that match your practices, and your budget as well as your lifestyle and values

If eco-friendliness is important to you, avoid yoga mats made of PVC, which does not break down in landfills and is costly and difficult to recycle. 

When natural rubber, jute, and cotton exercise and yoga mats tend to be less thin and slicker than PVC mats, they also allow you to get a yoga mat that is as eco-friendly as possible and has a recommended thickness, and properties for your needs.

Marvelous’ mission is always to thrive on making less impact by using as many eco-friendly materials as possible to produce our mats. The perfect solution doesn’t exist (yet). Still, by caring for our home and the living we’re constantly putting effort into inspiring more movement and raising awareness about the choices we make and the global impact we have. So we invite you to take this journey with us. 

Let us know what yoga mat materials you went for in the comment, we’re curious to know!
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