I’ve recently gotten into yoga, so I needed to find the best eco-friendly yoga mat to make my vinyasa and savasana as sustainable as possible.
Most yoga mats made for the mass market off-gas all sorts of nasty chemicals that I don’t want to inhale when huffing and puffing in downward facing dog.
Luckily for you (and me), there are some seriously sustainable yoga mats for sale that give you a clean eco-conscience to go with your clear yogi mind.
Mrs. M’s spinning turned me into a Yogi. She used to love her SoulCycle classes. But when COVID disrupted her gym visits, she invested in a Peloton bike.
It’s not for me. I much prefer to exercise outside.
That was until I discovered Anna Greenberg and the rest of the Peloton yoga team.
Although most of the instructors are trying to kill me with some of the moves (I’m determined to nail the crow pose at least once without falling on my face), I’m hooked…and yoga has become part of my daily routine.
Later in this article, I’ll drill down into exactly what I was looking for in yoga mats.
However, before that, I’d like to jump straight to the eco-friendly mats that rocked my yogi world.
They Say: Jade is everything you want in a yoga mat – cool colors, incredible grip, great comfort, and eco-friendly. Jade mats are made in a sustainable manner with natural rubber tapped from rubber trees, a renewable resource. Unlike other mats, Jade mats contain no PVC, EVA, or other synthetic rubber, and are made in the United States in compliance with all US environmental, labor, and consumer protection laws.
We Say: Jade Yoga was one of the first brands in the U.S. to use natural rubber to make yoga mats.
The Harmony is their bestseller, and it's not hard to see why. This is one seriously grippy, springy, and supportive yoga mat.
A slightly longer version (74”) is also available and there are many (probably too many if you're indecisive like me) color options to choose from.
Jade Yoga donates $5 from every Harmony sale to various charities. They also plant a tree for every order.
A high-quality yoga mat from a company with high-quality eco-credentials. Lovely stuff!
They Say: The performance Marbled Power-Grip Yoga Mat - where all your yoga dreams come true. Made from eco-friendly natural rubber, this 4mm thick mat has a fabric-like slip-resistant texture, even when it's wet. To prevent bunching and stretching and provide a firm foundation, this mat features an internal stabilizing core. Not only does this mat look beautiful with it's contemporary marbled design, but it is also designed with performance in mind.
We Say: This was the first mat I tested, and it’s remained one of my favorites.
It’s made from 100% natural rubber, and the grip levels are incredible.
If I’m being picky, I would say they maybe it could do with being one or two mm thicker to help protect my dodgy knees.
Some customers have reported shredding issues, but I’ve used this non-toxic yoga mat heavily for months with no issue as yet.
There is a lifetime warranty, so if you’re unlucky enough to experience some shedding of the rubber, Gaiam will replace it for you free of charge.
This rubber yoga mat did give off a strong odor for the first day or two. This is a harmless natural smell and soon goes away. Simply open and leave to air in the garage for a few days before first use.
They Say: Stretch in comfort knowing your yoga mat is non-toxic, soft, and sustainable. Our Organic Yoga Mat is a certified organic product. Is organic worth it? Absolutely. Organic materials are held to a stricter standard — produced without pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers. This is better for you as well as our family farmers. Best of all, organic cotton breaths easily and wicks away moisture better than any synthetic alternative. Our yoga mat is a completely natural product that's recyclable and biodegradable.
We Say: This is the mat I’ve owned for the longest time.
It’s been my go-to mat ever since I discovered Brentwood Home sold yoga products when I reviewed their mattress as part of my epic roundup of organic mattresses.
I’m THAT sweaty guy in the gym and usually get through a bunch of towels when exercising.
This organic cotton yoga mat doubles as a towel. It’s excellent at soaking up the sweat. In fact, it gets grippier as it gets sweatier.
It dries well and doesn’t smell too quickly. When it does get whiffy, I just pop it in the washing machine with our towels and then air dry.
They Say: The incredibly light, durable and grippy Ritual Rug from Ma Wovens is both a handwoven yoga mat as well as a functional bath or kitchen runner for your home. Each Ritual Rug is made with 30% naturally dyed, sustainably harvested certified organic hemp and 70% TPE non-toxic ultra cushiony foam. The super absorbent hemp is naturally antimicrobial and The Ritual Rug cleans up easily with a quick hand wash or by laundering on delicate with a gentle soap.
We Say: Ok. This is where I contradict myself slightly.
Later in this article, I say that TPE, while having the potential to be eco-friendly, needs to be treated with caution. That's what I've done here.
However, in the case of this hemp yoga mat, I’m happy with the origin and composition of the TPE used.
This ritual rug/mat combines organic hemp and incredibly comfortable foam.
The natural antimicrobial properties of hemp make it perfect for yoga. It won’t start smelling at the first sight of sweat.
When you do need to clean this yoga mat, you can hand wash or machine wash on a gentle cycle.
They Say: Level up your sustainable yoga practice with the Extra Thick Cork Yoga Mat 6mm from Scoria! Comprised of anti-microbial and sustainably harvested cork with a natural rubber backing, this eco-friendly yoga mat is perfect for hot yoga, meditation, and so much more. The extra cushion provides protection for knees and hips for a totally comfortable practice. The ultra-sweat grip activates with water and heat, keeping you from slipping on your mat – no towel required.
We Say: This sustainably harvested natural cork mat is backed with an anti-slip coating made from 100% natural rubber.
The 6mm thickness is to my liking as it provides extra cushioning to my knees.
The thickness of this mat might be too much for those who like to feel grounded.
Earth Hero ships this mat in plastic-free, recyclable packaging.
Scoria supports Right to Play (an organization that empowers Indigenous youth through play-based education) by donating a portion of each sale.
They Say: Inspired by nature and the principles of yoga. Take it with you everywhere. Simply fold and slide into your bag, and you’re ready to practice yoga on the go. Made with no harsh chemicals so you can enjoy a relaxing and uplifting yoga practice.
It’s made from vegan microfiber and natural rubber, so the eco-credentials are on point. It’s also moisture-wicking and machine-washable, so you can easily keep it clean and fresh.
Free online yoga classes are included. Personally, I prefer the Peloton yoga classes, but these free ones are an excellent introduction to online yoga if you’re a newbie.
The grip on this matt is first-rate. It simply didn't move, no matter how sweaty I got!
The portable nature of this mat means it’s slightly thinner than average and might not be suitable for those who need extra support for things like bad knees.
Shipping to the U.S. takes approximately two weeks, and your purchase is covered by a 30-day money-back guarantee (you have to pay the return postage).
There is an environmental impact of shipping from Australia to the U.S. However, I’m happy that this is offset sufficiently by Mikkoa’s commitment to plant one tree for every order.
They Say: For more than 20 years, Manduka has built a reputation as the world's most respected yoga brand. Manduka creates high performance yoga mats, yoga towels, bags, props, and men's and women's fitness apparel. Designed by yogis and trusted by teachers worldwide, carefully selected and sustainable materials are paired with thoughtful design to create innovative products that allow a community of 4,000+ yoga studios, 700+ yoga ambassadors and over 2 million customers.
We Say: Manduka mats have been trusted by yoga teachers and students for many years.
Their Pro range is one of the most popular in the U.S…but is made from PVC.
Luckily for us tree huggers, they also have an eco-friendly range called eKO.
The Mandula eKO mat is made from biodegradable natural tree rubber with non-toxic foaming agents and non-azo dyes. No PVC or other harmful plasticizers are used.
Manduka is committed to a zero-waste manufacturing process. All post-industrial scrap is collected and used to produce other products and materials.
This mat is very grippy, and the closed-cell structure means that sweat can not penetrate the mat as easily.
This means the mat will last a long time, but it might need a short ‘breaking in’ period to allow the structure to soften up slightly.
But, once broken in, you’ll find that this is one seriously sticky yoga mat that will keep you stable in any pose.
They Say: Darbha (Desmotachya bipinnata) is a tropical grass considered a sacred material in Vedic scriptures and is said to purify the offerings during such rituals. These grass mats are also used for meditation as they are said to provide positive energy. Darbha grass was specifically recommended by Lord Krishna in "Bhagwad Geeta" as an ideal seat for meditation practice.
We Say: If you’re looking for a yoga mat made using traditional materials and craftsmanship, then you can’t go wrong with this grass fiber mat from Abhinehkraft.
Made from tropic grass called Darbha (recommended by Lord Krishna himself, no less!) and organic cotton, this mat is a thing of traditional beauty.
When you unroll this mat, you’re hit with a lovely calming smell that immediately takes you to a zen place.
The non-slip qualities of this yoga mat are excellent.
However, it’s not the most padded mat. If, like me, your knees/hips/elbows need a bit of TLC, this might not be the mat for you.
This mat is handmade in India and then shipped directly to you. This means that delivery can be rather slow. Around 18 days in my experience.
Well worth the wait, though, for a traditional and sustainable yoga mat.
You don’t even need to worry about the environmental impact of shipping this yoga mat from India. Etsy will buy credits on your behalf to carbon offset the emissions of the shipping and packaging of your Abhinehkrafts orders.
They Say: The search for best Yoga mats that are made of natural fiber (cotton yoga mats), are eco-friendly, less slip/skid, anti-odor, and perfect for hot sweaty yoga sessions ends here. These Yoga mats are handwoven by our partner master artisans using organic cotton. These yoga mats have been woven over a period of three days and are sweat absorbent. They can be easily washed and last much longer than plastic or silicone mats. They get softer with use and are still sturdy.
We Say: If you like the idea of a traditionally made yoga mat, handmade in India and shipped to your door carbon neutrally, but want a material a bit more forgiving on your joints than Darbha, then this organic cotton yoga mat could be perfect for you.
Sweat-absorbent and washable, this is another excellent sustainable yoga mat from Abhinehkrafts.
You can get this mat with or without a rubber backing.
Without the backing, it’s easier to wash the mat in your washing machine.
With the backing, the mat is fully non-slip.
Many yoga mats contain PVC (a petroleum-based material that makes the mat soft, springy, grippy, and easy to clean).
However, PVC is also a toxic plastic that can cause harm to your health.
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are off-gassed into the air when you move around on a PVC yoga mat. I’ve covered VOCs in more detail in my Organic Mattress Toppers article.
It’s not just PVC you should avoid in your mat. Try also to steer clear of the following:
The problem with plastic yoga mats doesn’t just stop at human health. They’re also terrible for the environment.
You can read more about non-toxic, eco-friendly materials and fabrics in my Sustainable Fabrics article.
A yoga mat must be comfortable and offer the level of padding and support that suits your individual needs.
My knees are not great (too much college football), so I like a nice thick mat.
Wherever your comfort needs, you should not sacrifice eco-credentials to get them.
A yoga mat needs to stay in place.
If you get particularly sweaty during your yoga practice (or are a fan of hot yoga), you might need an extra grippy mat.
Avoid yoga mats coated in synthetic chemicals to enhance grip.
Not buying new items unnecessarily is one of the cornerstones of sustainability.
But, no matter how high quality your mat is, it’s going to come to the end of its usable life eventually.
Ensure that you buy a yoga mat that can be recycled and keep it away from landfill.
A biodegradable yoga mat will fully break down and leave no toxic chemicals behind.
The only odor you want to smell during your yoga practice is your own sweet sweat…and maybe some delicate essential oils from your eco-friendly diffuser.
Avoiding toxic materials in your yoga mat will eliminate nasty plastic smells.
You want a yoga mat that’s easy to keep clean and hygienic.
Natural resin that has been sustainably harvested (natural rubber, for example) is not bad for the environment. Synthetic resins can contain many chemicals and are much more questionable.
Some non-chlorinated types of vinyl (EVA, PEVA, PVA, PVB) are starting to make their way to market. Being chlorine-free is great, but that on its own doesn’t make them non-toxic or eco-friendly. If possible, I would steer clear of all vinyl and go for an eco-friendly yoga mat made from natural, non-toxic materials.
Thermoplastic Rubber (TPR) has characteristics of both rubber and plastic. It has inherent low toxicity and meets medical and food contact regulations.
Standard silicone is not the most eco-friendly material on the market. Its production consumes non-renewable resources (such as petroleum).
When researching and testing non-toxic yoga mats for this article, it soon became clear that you can have it all… providing you’re prepared to pay an extra few bucks and steer clear of PVC and other toxic plasticizers.
Whatever you’re looking for regarding padding, material, size, etc., there is an eco-friendly yoga mat out there to help you on your sustainable yoga journey.
Every yoga mat in this article is non-toxic, sustainable, and recyclable/biodegradable/compostable.
Where do you buy your eco-friendly yoga mats? What’s your eco-friendly yoga mat material of choice? Do most people in your yoga class avoid standard yoga mats, or are there PVC mats in every corner of the room?
Drop me a line and let me know.