The Best Non-Toxic Yoga Mats
Whether you’re practicing sun salutations or doing crunches, you’re probably spending a lot of time on your yoga mat. Exercise and yoga are great for your health, but breathing in toxic fumes from a PVC yoga mat is not. From natural rubber to cork, non-toxic yoga mats are better for your health and the environment. Make the switch to a non-toxic yoga mat now!
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Since we don’t plan on heading back to the gym anytime soon, our whole family is doing online workouts and yoga routines at home. We don’t have enough yoga mats to go around (and the ones we have are breaking down – see image below), so I ordered a few more mats to try. In the past I’ve bought the cheapest mats I could find at TJ Maxx or Marshalls, but I learned there are lots of toxic chemicals that go into making the cheapest yoga mats. A non-toxic yoga mat will cost you considerably more money than a cheap one. But considering the harmful chemicals that are in most yoga mats, I’m willing to make the switch. Read on to find out more about how the chemicals in cheap yoga mats can affect your overall health.
Yoga mats, especially the $12 ones you get at TJ Maxx, are most commonly made from PVC, aka Polyvinyl Chloride. The plastic is made soft and pliable from the addition of phthalates. Phthalates are added to all sorts of common household items like cosmetics, containers for food and drinks and baby toys. Phthalates have been linked to a variety of health concerns, including endocrine disruption, impacts to reproductive systems and some forms of cancer (1, 2).
PVC may also contain traces of the endocrine-disrupting chemical Bisphenol-A (BPA). A 2018 study linked BPA with significant changes in insulin response levels (3), and a 2019 study found a positive association between BPA and coronary heart disease (4). As another added health risk, toxic metals are used as stabilizers in PVC, including lead, a neurotoxin, and cadmium, a carcinogen (5).
Aside from the human health impacts, PVC is an environmental pollutant. During various stages of PVC production and disposal, dioxins and mercury are released into our air, water and soil (6). Dioxin is a well-known carcinogen and can affect the reproductive, immune, endocrine and neurological systems (7).
This is enough to convince me to switch out all of our PVC yoga mats for alternative, PVC-free options. Luckily there are brands that use non-toxic and eco-friendly materials in the construction of their yoga mats.
Basically Perfect Cork Yoga Mat
- Size: 72”x24”, 5mm, 6.4 lbs
- Cost: $70
- My Take: Although I don’t have this mat, I like the materials used. It’s also very reasonably priced.
- From the Basically Perfect website: Made from 100% natural, sustainably-sourced cork and tree rubber. Non-toxic, free of phthalates, PVC, TPE, foam, adhesives and harsh chemicals. Unrivaled grip. Earthy and grounding feel. Non-slip cork texture will get even grippier with sweat. No yoga towel needed. Ideal for hot yoga. Self-sanitizing and naturally antimicrobial. Surface stays fresh, free of germs and bacteria. No odor.
Oko Living Cotton Yoga Mat
- Size: 70″x 25″, 5mm thick
- Cost: $162-$174
- My Take: If you want to skip the natural rubber mats and use organic cotton, this is the mat for you. It does have a natural rubber backing for non-slip grip, and textured channels on top so your hands and feet won’t slip.
- From the Oko Living website: Each mat is handloomed 100% raw organic cotton and plant dyed using an ancient process that preserves the bioactive medicinal qualities of the plants. You will love the soft, cushy feel, herbal aroma and natural beauty of this mat. Includes FREE Case and Laundry Soap Nuts.