The 8 Best Eco-Friendly Yoga Mats for the Sustainable Yogic

The importance of choosing a yoga mat

Whether or not you consider yourself a yogi, if you’re someone who enjoys taking part in a yoga class, be it in-person or virtual, you need at least one reliable piece of equipment: a yoga mat.

Fortunately, there is no shortage of options on the market, covering all types, including sticky yoga mats, rubber yoga mats, cotton and hemp yoga mats, and even travel yoga mats.

When shopping for a yoga mat, an important factor to keep in mind is whether or not it is considered “eco-friendly.”

“If a yoga mat is eco-friendly, that means it will eventually break down and be biodegradable, unlike other mats that can last extremely long on the planet, even degassing harmful chemicals from production.” explains Amy Ippoliti, yoga teacher, author of The art and business of teaching yogaearth activist and founder of Vesselify School of Yoga.

Why buy an eco-friendly yoga mat?

By choosing yoga mats made from sustainable materials, we can reduce waste that negatively impacts our planet, explains Katie O’Hara, conservation manager at Loggerhead Marinelife Center in Juno Beach, Florida.

“Unfortunately, yoga mats that are not sustainably made add to our planet’s growing waste problem and can even emit toxic gas while in use, which is harmful to consumer health,” she says.

“You might think that recycled plastic yoga mats are a good option, but in reality they are not really environmentally friendly because of the nano- and microplastic pieces that are released into the environment during production, which are harmful to animals and people.”

“Many are made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) that contains volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs),” said Paula Jasinski, yoga practitioner, environmental scientist, president and director of scientific communications for Chesapeake Environmental Communications, and founder of Green Fin Studio in Richmond, Virginia.

“Who wants to rest in a kid’s pose knowing they’re getting a dose of formaldehyde, phthalates, and other toxic chemicals?” asks Jasinski.

Another reason to buy an eco-friendly mat is the peace of mind that you will know when you have used your mat to its fullest.

In other words, it will biodegrade and return to Earth instead of hanging around forever. “Our planet is dangerously oversaturated with plastic – buying an eco-friendly mat is a responsible thing,” added Ippoliti.

As for improving your practice, Rachel Welch, certified health coach, yoga instructor, and founder of the Revolution Motherhood postnatal fitness method, notes that you can feel the difference in texture in an eco-friendly yoga mat, as well as the traction under your feet and hands.

She also adds that you can almost always notice a difference in smell, so the eco-friendly mats don’t have an unpleasant odor.

(Here are some yoga quotes to inspire you on your journey.)

What should you pay attention to with an environmentally friendly yoga mat?

When shopping for an eco-friendly yoga mat, here are some qualities that experts recommend looking for.

Biodegradable: For your yoga mat to be considered “eco-friendly,” it must be biodegradable, meaning it will eventually break down and return to Earth.

“The trick is to find a mat that will break, but will also last and stay sticky,” says Ippoliti.

Non-toxic: Believe it or not, there are many yoga mats that are made with dangerous chemicals, including PVC. Non-toxic yoga mats are made from natural ingredients, such as plant fibers or cork tree bark, notes Ippoliti.

Odorless: Any eco-friendly yoga mat you buy should not have a chemical smell.

“Many synthetic mats can have a plastic-like smell, especially if you start sweating on them,” Welch notes.

If you notice this kind of smell, chances are your yoga mat is not eco-friendly or non-toxic.

Feel and texture: It’s important that you love the feel and texture of any yoga mat you buy, even eco-friendly options.

Welch prefers a thin mat that allows her to feel the floor or ground underneath.

“I also want good grip when I’m sweating, so I want something with a built-in pattern,” she adds. (These yoga moves will help you get in shape quickly.)

Best Eco-Friendly Yoga Mats

Ready to shop eco-friendly yoga mats? Here are some of the best products on the market. (Don’t forget to clean your yoga mat too — here’s how.)

via huggermugger.com

Hugger Mugger Para Rubber Yoga Mat

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This yoga mat from Hugger Mugger has all the bells and whistles you are looking for and is also environmentally friendly.

It has a thickness of ” and has two sides that offer varying degrees of grip: one that is covered with small rubber bumps to keep you in place and one with a woven rubber grip that is ideal for hot yoga.

It is made of eco-friendly natural rubber (which of course means that you should not choose this if you have a latex allergy).

(Find out if chair yoga is the panacea for arthritis pain.)


Jade Yoga Harmony Mat

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JadeYoga Harmony Mat

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If you’re looking for a thicker mat that gives your knees a little more cushion, this is a great option from JadeYoga.

Welch finds it especially helpful when exercising outside on a deck or hard ground.

JadeYoga mats are made of natural rubber and are free of plastic, including PVC, and non-toxic.

It’s also worth adding that the company donates $5 to different causes depending on the Harmony Mat color you buy.

(Start your day off right with these morning yoga exercises.)


Manduka Eko Superlite Yoga Travel Mat

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Manduka eKO Superlite Yoga Travel Mat

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This Manduka yoga mat is popular for so many reasons, but one of the most important for so many yogis is the fact that it is eco-friendly and made from 100 percent natural tree rubber with foaming agents that are completely non-toxic and free of azo dyes.

It’s worth noting though that this mat is on the thinner side, but many appreciate this feature because it’s easier to travel with.

One thing it doesn’t compromise on is grip – it has excellent traction and it prevents sweat from sticking to it. As with any yoga mat, Ippoliti warns never to leave this mat in a sunny window or a hot car. “They dry out and lose their stickiness,” she says.

Here’s a 10-minute yoga workout you can do every day.


Gaiam yoga mat

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Gaiam yoga mat

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Gaiam is one of the most popular yoga brands as they sell all kinds of products from mats to accessories.

One of their main pillars is their commitment to sustainability, which is reflected in the products they produce.

This mat is also PVC-free and made of natural rubber. Even their blocks are made from 100 percent recycled materials (cork to be specific).


Gurus Roots cork yoga mat

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Gurus Roots cork yoga mat

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You can see from this mat that it has a lot to offer in terms of sustainability. It has a natural rubber bottom layer and a waxy cork coating on the top layer that prevents it from absorbing moisture and helps to maintain a strong grip.

“The cork is absorbent and naturally antimicrobial, making it a good choice for hot yoga sessions,” says Jasinski. It’s worth noting that this mat from Gurus is heavier than most yoga mats, weighing in at around five pounds.

(This yoga routine can lead to better digestion.)


Rumi Earth Yoga Mat

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Rumi Earth Yoga Mat

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This yoga mat from Rumi has a woven cotton top layer and a natural rubber coated bottom layer, which gives it a comfortable grip and texture that won’t bother you in any of your positions. It is completely biodegradable and 100 percent machine washable, which is a hard to come by feature in a yoga mat.

(Here are 7 reasons why your child should practice yoga.)


Atmananda black yoga mat

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Atmananda black yoga mat

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If you’re someone just starting out on your yoga journey, you’ll appreciate that this Atmananda yoga mat is lined with alignment markers that help you see exactly where your hands and feet should go in different yoga positions.

It is also environmentally friendly, made from 100 percent rubber and without toxic chemicals.

(Here’s what can happen when you start doing yoga.)


Yoga Design Lab Combo Mat

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Yoga Design Lab Combo Mat

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Heidi Kristoffer, creator of the CrossFlow Yoga app, is a big fan of this yoga mat from Yoga Design Lab, which doubles as a yoga towel.

“These mats are made from biodegradable, recyclable, 100 percent natural tree rubber base,” she says.

Pro Tip: Since these mats are made for sweating, she recommends taking them to any hot yoga or sweaty flow class.

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