12 eco yoga mats for a non-slip workout

We've found the best eco-friendly yoga mats that provide the right mix of grip and support for all of your yoga equipment needs – whatever level you're at.

Eco yoga mats

by Gabrielle Albert |

Consider yourself a yogi? Or do you simply find yourself on a yoga mat a lot? Well did you know that while PVC yoga mats are often cheap to buy, they’re not so great for the environment. This is because they typically take hundreds of years to decompose and release toxic chemicals when incinerated.

Thankfully, there are now a variety of ethical alternatives that are just as pretty and effective as they are sustainable – so you can clear your eco-conscious with yoga practice and add an eco yoga mat to your yoga equipment. After all, it’s just as important to be kind to our bodies as it is to the environment.

But rather than tossing out your non-eco yoga mat in disgust, we would suggest finding another use for it or simply waiting until it's too worn to use anymore. After all, you've already bought it now! Could it make a nice resting place for your pet? Or what about using it as insulation?

Environmentally friendly or not, a yoga mat provides not only a thin cushion for you to exercise on but a personal space that signifies dedicated me-time and self-care. This is why it's so important to get your hands on a good one.

And while you're keen to grab yourself an eco-friendly yoga mat, there's still plenty of other qualities you're likely to want to look for in your mat including organic materials, good grip, thickness, support, and texture.

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What is an eco-yoga mat?

But what exactly makes a yoga mat eco-friendly, you may ask? Well, it's actually pretty simple. The yoga mat needs to have been made from natural materials to qualify it as an eco-friendly yoga mat. We especially love eco yoga mats that are sustainably sourced and also come in recyclable packaging.

We caught up with Fi Clark, Head of Yoga at FLY LDN to find out more about finding the ideal yoga mat for you.

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What should I look for in an eco yoga mat?

There are lots of different types of eco yoga mats available, made from a variety of sustainable materials such as eco-friendly foam, natural rubber, cork, jute, and cloth. But what else should you look for?

"Resilience, high-quality materials, and durability. It needs to be grippy enough to ensure your hands and feet won't slide or slip in dynamic practices but it's also not too thick for standing balances," explains Fi. "There's a whole array of choice and if you practice somewhere regularly where you can't store your mat, I suggest a good quality travel mat that you can lay over a regular studio mat."

Do different exercises suit different types of mats?

"Practices such as Vinyasa Flow, Rocket, and Ashtanga yoga that are pre-dominantly standing and of a dynamic nature where you need to stay stable when holding a posture or transitioning into another will need a medium thickness of mat that has a good grip. The most popular are rubber topped mats as they are non-slip. More mat-based practices such as Pilates, Hatha, and YIN need less grip but more padding as you will be either seated or lying down for the majority (if not all) of the class."

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What are the benefits of eco yoga mats?

"Sustainability and ethics are usually the reason behind choosing an eco-mat over a non-eco mat. They also tend to be antibacterial and contain far fewer synthetic toxins than non-eco competitors."

Should I go for a mat with a textured surface or one that is smooth?

"The surface texture is completely personal, if the mat is good quality then the pattern or texture should not make too much difference to the performance. Some people like to use mats such as YogiBare and Liforme as they have markings on the mats that help with alignment with some postures, but it has little effect on the experience of grip."

What thickness should I choose?

According to DIYogi, "Pick a mat that's too thin and you may experience a lot of discomfort in your knees, wrists, and ankles when you hold poses for a long time. At the other end of the spectrum, one that is just too thick for you can slow down your movement and keep you from feeling 100 per cent supported – you’ll just hopelessly sink into it."

So what thickness should you go for then? Unhelpfully, it's completely down to you as an individual. If your joints need more support, a thicker mat is naturally going to provide that support compared to a thin one. Just don't go too thick so you can't properly perform your yoga poses.

A thin yoga mat is ideal if you like to travel with a yoga mat as it's much lighter to take with you. We'd recommend using a thinner yoga mat on top of carpet while you practice.

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What else should I think about?

"It is worth researching and asking friends on their recommendations. Generally, you get what you pay for as far as mats are concerned, similar with running trainers for their functionality and technology. Most mats I've owned are still in great condition after years of use so although it may feel expensive initially, it's definitely an investment to make sure your yoga practice is safe, and you're supported by your mat. It makes a massive difference!"

To help you out, we've rounded up the best eco yoga mats on the market right now.

The best eco-friendly yoga mats

Our verdict

Of all the products listed in this piece, our top eco yoga mat pick would be the Liforme Yoga Mat. Although pricey, we reckon it's worth it as it's fully biodegradable with a clever “AlignForMe” system to help yogis align. It also offers incredible grip, helping you improve your yoga practice.

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Eco-friendly yoga mat FAQs

How to clean a yoga mat

As with everything in life, your eco yoga mat will need a clean from time to time. To do this, simply add warm water and a few drops of washing up liquid into a spray bottle. Then spritz both sides of your mat with and firmly scrub with a cloth. Ideally you want to do this at least once a month.

Are expensive yoga mats worth it?

We say yes. Usually the higher price point of eco yoga mats will come from the materials which have been sustainably sourced to make the mat. The way we look at it, it is far better to invest in a high-quality yoga mat that is a better choice for the planet rather than constantly replacing cheaper yoga mats which are then sent to landfill. Remember, quality over quantity.

What about second-hand eco yoga mats?

Admittedly, eco yoga mats can be expensive so don't forget to check out Ebay or other selling sites to browse second-hand yoga mats that other users no longer have a need for. Just make sure you disinfect the mat when you receive it.

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Are yoga mats biodegradable?

Not all of them - this completely depends on what they are made from and if those materials are biodegradable. Materials that are biodegradable includes the likes of natural tree rubber and cork. It will usually be made obvious from the product description which mats are biodegradable or not.

Now you've got your yoga mat (and don't forget your yoga mat bag!), try out some yoga at home with our recommendation of vlogger Adriene. Adriene has been vlogging her yoga videos on YouTube for over 10 years, now enjoy her videos starting with the one below.

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Video: Yoga with Adriene

If you're interested in trying something else, here's how to stay fit at home.

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