No one wants to be thinking about what crazy chemical additives they might be planting their downward dog on when they're trying to get into their Zen zone. Fortunately, more and more yoga mat companies are producing yoga mats without a lot of those chemicals and switching to more sustainable materials like all-natural rubber and jute.
And with improved methods of processing that material, 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. Find out more about Manduka's eKO Lite Mat.
2. Barefoot Yoga Original Eco Yoga Mat
Consistently ranked as one of the best eco-friendly yoga mats (even the New York Times agrees), Barefoot Yoga's Eco Mat mixes all-natural rubber with jute fiber (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. Find out more about Barefoot Yoga's Original Eco Yoga Mat.
3. Jade Teal Mat
While all of Jade's yoga mats are made from all-natural rubber and without PVC, their teal mat takes altruism one step further by donating $5 from the sale of each mat to ovarian cancer research, early detection, improved treatment and public education of the disease. In addition, Jade plants a tree for every one of their mats sold through their partnership with Trees for the Future. Find out more about Jade's Teal Mat.
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 and doesn't contain PVC, chloride or latex. As a result, the mat is recyclable. 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. Find out more about Prana's E.C.O. Yoga Mat.
5. Bold Yoga Mats Origami Crane
When it comes to eco-friendly yoga mats, you'd have to expect that at least one came from Boulder, Colorado. And even though the company isn't named for their headquarters, the mats they produce are nontoxic and eco-friendly as well as latex-, phthalate- and heavy-metal-free.
In addition, the company has a Renew and Recycle program, which collects gently used mats from consumers, refurbishes them and donates them to jails, detention centers, shelters and schools. And if you donate your old mat, you'll receive a $5 coupon for your next purchase. Find out more about Bold Yoga Mats.
Readers -- Have you ever used one of these mats in your yoga practice? What did you think? What are some of your favorite eco-friendly yoga mats? Leave a comment below and let us know!