My niece Ellie, an avid climber and budding yogini, texted me from Boulder a couple of weeks ago and asked, “Aunt Kristen, why haven’t you written about eco-friendly yoga mats yet? Yoginis are eco conscious!”
Far be it from me to fail the yoginis and yogis of the world. And truthfully, years ago I sought out an eco-friendly yoga mat and it was a bit hard to find one. Realizing that UniGuide would not be complete without a post on eco yoga mats, I started doing my research. What did I find? Cork yoga mats, recycled yoga mats, jute yoga mats, and more! The world is changing and voilà, here they are!
But first… a rad picture of Ellie in Moab, Utah. (Almost gave her mom a heart attack when she saw this one…)
Cork Yoga Mats
Cork is an ideal material for yoga mats. It’s 100% natural, sustainable, recyclable, and biodegradable, and it can be obtained through a tree-friendly harvesting process. Plus, when cork bark is harvested, it enables the tree to absorb more CO2 from the atmosphere.
Cork forests, most of which are found in Portugal and Spain, are home to over 13,000 species of animals, plants, and insects that are not found anywhere else in the world. And many of these species, like the Iberian Lynx, are endangered. So, creating a market for cork products helps to preserve indigenous cork forests.
Cork is also naturally antimicrobial. This quality, along with its natural cushioning, makes it an ideal material for yoga mats.
Repose makes natural, non-toxic cork yoga mats that are free of glues, PVC, and other harmful chemicals. And it gets better: these cork yoga mats are backed with organic natural rubber, another sustainable material. In addition, they’re totally biodegradable.
Measurements: 72” x 24” x 4 mm
This top-rated yoga mat is also made with sustainable cork and it has an anti-slip natural rubber backing. It’s slightly thicker than other cork mats, at 6.5 mm, so there’s extra padding, making it great for heavier yogis and yoginis or those who like a bit more cushioning. Plus, it’s extra-long, at 80”.
Super durable, this mat will stand up to many hot yoga sessions.
Measurements: 80″ x 26″ x 6.5 mm
These cork yoga mats are also non-toxic and all-natural. Gurus makes a lightweight style that’s perfect for travel and a heavier one that’s great for class and lots of Bikram yoga sessions.
Measurements: 72″ x 25″ x 5 mm
Yoloha’s Nomad cork yoga mat is thin and lightweight. It’s free of PVC and has a non-slip backing. If you like some color in your cork mat, check out the beautiful collection of designs in their Amazon store.
Measurements: 72″ x 26″ x 4.5 mm
Based in London, Upward Salute makes eco-friendly yoga mats with cork on the top and a biodegradable, latex-free foam backing underneath.
Upward Salute hand prints wildlife-inspired unique designs on each mat using eco-friendly inks.
Measurements: 73” x 26” and 4.5 mm
Do you have a mantra or inspiring prayer that you like to focus on during your yoga practice? The Samadhi Initiative will print customized sayings on your mat. Samadhi’s mats are specifically designed for hot yoga. Like all cork yoga mats, they’re naturally anti-microbial and easy to clean. In addition, they’re 100% recyclable.
Measurements: 72” x 24” x 5.5 mm
Jute Yoga Mats
Like cork, jute is a natural material that’s both durable and antimicrobial, making it a great material for yoga mats. The jute and hemp yoga mats you see in this post are made with a blend of hemp or jute and a synthetic material called PER, which is more environmentally friendly than PVC.
The production of PER releases little to no harmful emissions when it’s being produced. And, it doesn’t emit other toxins or carcinogens over time when the material is being used. Furthermore, PER doesn’t require phthalate plasticizers to achieve the flexibility required in a yoga mat. And even better, PER can be repeatedly recycled.
Designed in Australia, Ajna’s eco-friendly jute yoga mats are non-toxic and free of harmful chemicals. And for every mat they sell, Anja plants a tree.
Measurements: 72” x 5 mm
Sattva’s eco-friendly yoga mats are non-toxic and free of latex, glues, phthalates, and PVC. Made with all-natural materials, they’re completely biodegradable. To create their eco yoga mats, Sattva weaves organic jute and hemp and bonds it with a 100% natural tree rubber backing.
This yoga mat is non-slip for an ideal grip, even if you’re sweating in hot yoga class. It’s easy to clean too. Elephant, phoenix, and “B Kind” designs available and they’re printed with non-toxic ink that won’t fade over time.
Sattva’s lightweight organic, jute, hemp, and natural tree rubber yoga mat is designed for all types of yoga, but especially long hot yoga sessions. It’s absorbent, non-slip, non-toxic, and antimicrobial. Plus, it’s completely biodegradable.
Maji Sports’ jute yoga mats are made with all-natural, sustainable jute fibers and PER, an eco-friendly alternative to PVC.
Measurements: 68” x 24” x 4.5 mm
Available in multiple colors.
Gaiam’s jute yoga mats are also blended with PER, a more environmentally-friendly PVC substitute. Lightweight and durable, they’re perfect for travel or extended sessions as you expand your practice.
Measurements: 68” x 24” x 5 mm
Natural Rubber Yoga Mats
Like cork, natural rubber is an ideal material for yoga mats, and not to mention – flip flops, as I wrote about in my post about eco-friendly flip flops. Unlike synthetic rubber, natural rubber is harvested from rubber trees.
The rubber harvesting process can be done sustainably and involves tapping into the tree to remove the sap from the bark, which does not harm the tree. Thus, buying products made from natural rubber helps to keep rubber tree forests from being cut down.
Manduka is a well-known yoga accessories brand, so I was happy to see they make eco-friendly yoga mats. These mats are made with biodegradable, non-Amazon harvested natural tree rubber. And they’re 99% latex-free.
Measurements: 71” x 26” x 5 mm and 79” x 26” x 5 mm
Available in multiple colors.
This natural rubber and towel combo yoga mat is machine washable, so it’s perfect for hot yoga sessions, camping trips, or wherever else your adventures take you.
And it gets better: With every yoga you purchase, Zura will plant a tree.
Measurements: 71” x 26” x 3.5 mm
For the most radical poses, this natural rubber tree mat has you covered. It’s 100% non-toxic and latex- and PVC-free It has a thin top layer that wicks away sweat, providing a strong grip and a slip-free surface.
Measurements: 72.8” x 26.8” x 4.5 mm and 84.2” x 26.8” x 4.5 mm
Jade Yoga is another known yoga accessories brand. Their natural rubber mats have exceptional grip for safety during even the most intense poses. They’re made in the USA, and through Jade’s partnership with Trees for the Future, they plant a tree for every yoga mat they sell.
Available in multiple colors
Recycled Yoga Mats
A combo yoga mat and towel, this eco-friendly mat combines a non-slip natural rubber backing and a micro-fiber top that’s made with recycled plastic bottles. It’s machine washable, making it perfect for Bikram, the beach, and outdoor adventures. Be sure to check out all of the fun, colorful designs printed with non-fade inks. With every purchase, Yoga Design donates $1 to youth yoga programs.
If you love the ocean, this may be the yoga mat for you. Suga Mats are made with 100% recycled surfing wetsuits. Plus, they’re made in the USA, adhering to strict environmental and labor standards.
These recycled yoga mats have been designed for ideal density, tackiness, elasticity, durability, and liquid permeability. The recycled wetsuit material is composed of a closed-cell foam, so these mats won’t attract dirt, dust, or bacteria from yoga studio floors. They’re also super easy to clean.
In addition to yoga mats, recycled wetsuits also make great laptop sleeves. You can see some in my post on eco-friendly laptop cases.
An eco-conscious company, Suga is a member of 1% for the Planet, which means they donate 1% of gross sales to environmental nonprofits.
Measurements: 72” x 25” x 5 mm
If you enjoy looking at colorful, artistic designs during your practice, check out these recycled rubber yoga mats by N.J. East Coasters. They’re handmade in the USA with recycled rubber and cellular vinyl, which is free of BPAs, phthalates, and latex. Plus, they’re extra-cushioned, at 0.25″ thick.
Measurements: 72” x 24” x 6 mm
For every eco yoga mat they make, Yogitoes reclaims eight discarded plastic bottles and prevents them from entering landfills or polluting the ocean. These colorful recycled yoga mats are a mat-towel combo and they’re machine washable.
Measurements: 68″ x 24″