Things to Consider Before You Buy a Yoga Mat
Why use my own mat?
Although most studios provide yoga mats there are a few reasons why you should consider purchasing your own mat. Of course, hygiene is a top reason for owning your own mat, indeed shared mats can harbour bacteria, fungi, and other nasties. However, many studio mats are also manufactured from toxic materials. The scary part is that we go to yoga or Pilates and use these mats without thinking about their toxicity at all. They are toxic to our bodies while we use them and when they are worn out and discarded they end up in landfill, where they leach poisons into the earth and our water supplies.
Most studio mats are made of Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)
Most conventional plastic yoga mats are made from Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) which is one of the most toxic consumer plastics that exist, for both the environment and your health. PVC yoga mats became so prevalent in the last few decades because they are cheap and also because they are sticky, which is a desirable quality in a yoga mat. BUT…fast forward a few years, and we now know just how dangerous a simple PVC yoga mat is. PVC contains dangerous substances, including phthalates, lead, cadmium, and other harmful materials that are actually absorbed by your skin – particularly skin that gets warm and sweaty. Think of how patches of nicotine or hormone replacement therapy or certain creams are absorbed by the skin. Imagine doing yoga and constantly breathing, touching, and sweating on a material that releases toxins. Not a great thought.
So, in short, most studio mats are non-recyclable, smell synthetic, and they contain the sweat of other people. A lot of other people. We’d rather stick with our own personal eco yoga mat.
Your own patch of peace and serenity…..
A yoga mat is so much more than just a mat. Once you unroll it, it becomes your very own patch of peace and serenity. It is a step into an independent space you call your own mind. Owning a yoga mat is like owning your own exercise towel…you wouldn’t use someone else’s, would you? And would you want to press your face into a mat where other people’s feet have been? The point is, owning a yoga mat is simply more hygienic. You can also take your mat with you and experience the serenity of yoga wherever you are, whenever you want to. You also get to choose which mat you purchase.
Purchasing your own eco-friendly yoga mat is not only more convenient and hygienic, but it’s also better for the environment. So, while you’re taking care of your body, you’re also taking care of the planet!
Cork and Jute Yoga Mats, A superior Eco Friendly Alternative
For starters, cork and jute are natural - while PVC is a toxic plastic. This should be convincing enough, but - let’s take a look at the actual differences between these materials and the effects they have on the planet.
The Cork Yoga Mat
Cork has been used for many years and continues to be used in everyday objects. It is also one of the best materials for a yoga mat. It’s 100% chemical-free and naturally sourced from the bark of cork trees – with little processing and zero toxins. Cork trees can live for 300 years or more and the bark can be harvested every 9 years or so without harming the tree. The world’s cork forests are home to much wildlife whose habitats are not endangered by this process. Cork also has numerous benefits including anti-microbial, anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, and hypoallergenic properties. These properties of course made it such an ideal stopper for wine. If you already have a cork mat, have you ever wondered why it doesn’t smell or grow mould? That’s thanks to the above-mentioned properties, and the fact that cork dries almost instantaneously. Don’t worry, though. The sweat isn’t absorbed - it simply evaporates - which makes it an even better choice for a yoga mat. The material is also quite soft, but has a firm grip for those really intense flows. Better yet, cork gets “grippier” when you add moisture to it – so you can safely sweat or endure a hot yoga session without sliding around on the floor. A cork yoga mat is also beautifully comfortable, maintains a pleasant temperature, and provides excellent support for your joints.
The Jute Yoga Mat
Jute is a vegetable fibre derived from the Jute plant – also with antimicrobial properties, Because of these properties it is a crop that can be grown without pesticides. Jute is pleasant to the touch and provides good padding for your joints on its natural tree rubber backing. The jute texture gives grip to the mat and will stop you from slipping in poses like downward dog. The jute mat is also super easy to carry around. It’s also biodegradable and natural! So, once again, you’re supporting the environment while it supports you.
Look Carefully at What You Are Buying
Some synthetic yoga mat manufacturers claim that their specific mats are toxin-free. This doesn’t mean that they are any good for the environment however. We’d say, stay away from synthetic yoga mats and invest in a good quality, eco-friendly mat instead. But do look carefully at what the mat is made of, unfortunately there are PVC mats topped with jute that claim to be eco-friendly. If you spend any time enjoying yoga or Pilates, you should definitely invest in your own mat, it’s a total contradiction to do yoga to improve your mental and physical state when you’re using a mat that will damage your body and the planet. A good yoga mat is essential for optimal support during yoga, Pilates, or any other similar exercise. Your knees, back, and feet need support that a hard floor simply cannot provide. Nowadays, we are lucky that there are eco-friendly options to choose from. Remember, the human body excretes bacteria and moisture all the time, meaning it’s also important to get a mat that is anti-bacterial – like a cork yoga mat or a jute yoga mat. Think of it as an investment in your health. We also like to think that as more people become aware of the dangers of PVC, the demand for these toxic mats will be reduced. That’s why we believe we are ridding the world of harmful plastic, one mat at a time. Here at Anjali Generation we also offer some of the best quality eco yoga mats in Australia.
View our yoga mats and choose your perfect, eco-friendly, biodegradable, completely natural mat today.