No one wants to be thinking about what crazy chemical additives underneath their Downward Dog when they're trying to get into their Zen zone. Fortunately, more and more yoga mat companies are producing eco-friendly yoga mats and products.
When you have a mat that is free of dangerous chemicals and made with eco-friendly processes or more sustainable materials — like all-natural rubber and jute — you don't even have to sacrifice good grip quality in your efforts to be gentler on Mother Earth. Here are five options to consider.
1. Manduka eKO Lite Mat
Made from biodegradable, non-Amazon-harvested, natural tree rubber, Manduka's new and improved eKO lite mat offers some serious grip, even in the midst of your sweatiest Bikram classes. The rippled surface texture feels and acts like the ridges of your hands to prevent slipping and sliding. Manduka also carries a line of natural sweet-smelling yoga mat cleaners.
Buy it: Manduka.com; Price: $78
2. Gaiam Jute Yoga Mat
Gaiam's Jute Yoga Mat mixes environmentally friendly polymer resin with jute (a vegetable-based fiber). While the jute creates a bit of a different feeling on your hands than traditional rubber mats, the no-slip properties remain. Plus, the rubber portion provides the comfort and support that's missing from an all-jute mat.
Buy it: MukhaYoga.com; Price: $31.50
3. Jade Teal Mat
While all of Jade's yoga mats are made from all-natural rubber and are PVC-free, their teal mat takes altruism one step further by donating $5 from each sale to ovarian cancer research, early detection, improved treatment and public education of the disease.
For those who want to give back to the environment, Jade even plants a tree for every one of their mats sold through their partnership with Trees for the Future.
Buy it: JadeYoga.com; Price: $79.95
4. Prana E.C.O. Yoga Mat
The E.C.O. mat, which stands for "Earth Conscious Offering," is a result of Prana's toxin-free manufacturing process. This product is free of PVC, chloride and latex. So, when it's time to get a new mat, you can recycle this one.
The underside of the mat stays put on smooth, hard surfaces, while the top offers a no-slip grip and won't allow germs from your sweat to absorb into the mat.
Buy it: Prana.com; Price: $55
5. Yohola Cork Yoga Mats
Promoting and providing sustainable products is a big part of Yohola as a company — the brand even ships products in 100 percent recycled paper and cardboard, according to the Yohola site. Yoloha mats are made of sustainably-produced cork and recycled rubber.
But these mats aren't just friendly for the environment, they're great for your practice, too. The interesting feature with this mat is that the more you sweat, the better your grip will be. Cork naturally deters bacteria and germs, and the foam on the underside of the mat will not absorb moisture.
Buy it: YoholaYoga.com; Price: $119
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