Discover the Different Yoga Mat Materials: Which One Suits Your Practice? A Guide to Choosing the Best Material for Your Yoga Mat.

If you’re looking for a new yoga mat and want to make an environmentally conscious choice, you’ll be glad to know that there are plenty of sustainable options out there. Here are some of the most common sustainable yoga mat materials:

Natural rubberMade from a renewable resource, biodegradable, and often recyclable.
JuteA natural fiber that is biodegradable and often mixed with natural rubber.
Organic cottonGrown without harmful pesticides or chemicals and is biodegradable.
CorkA renewable resource that is antimicrobial and can be recycled.
Recycled plasticManufactured from recycled plastic bottles and is often recyclable.

Choosing a yoga mat made from sustainable materials not only helps to reduce the impact of production on the environment, but it also helps to support companies that are committed to sustainability. Additionally, many sustainable yoga mats are free from harmful chemicals and synthetic materials, making them a healthier choice for you as well.

Natural Rubber Yoga Mats

Natural rubber is one of the most popular materials for sustainable yoga mats. It’s made from the sap of rubber trees, making it a renewable resource. In addition, natural rubber is biodegradable and can often be recycled. Many natural rubber mats also have a non-slip surface, which makes them a great choice for those who need a little extra traction during their yoga practice.

Jute Yoga Mats

Jute is a natural fiber that is often mixed with natural rubber to create a sustainable yoga mat. Jute is biodegradable, renewable, and non-toxic. Many jute mats have a rough texture that provides good grip, but some people may find the texture uncomfortable. Jute mats are also often more affordable than other sustainable options.

Organic Cotton Yoga Mats

Organic cotton is another popular choice for sustainable yoga mats. Cotton is a renewable resource, and organic cotton is grown without the use of harmful pesticides or chemicals. Cotton mats are generally softer and more comfortable than rubber or jute mats, but they may not provide as much grip. Additionally, cotton may not be as durable as other materials.

Cork Yoga Mats

Cork is a renewable resource that is naturally antimicrobial, making it a great choice for those who are concerned about hygiene. Cork mats are often made from a combination of cork and natural rubber, providing a non-slip surface that is also sustainable. In addition, cork is naturally moisture-resistant, making it easy to clean and maintain.

Recycled Plastic Yoga Mats

Recycled plastic mats are often made from old plastic bottles, which helps to reduce waste and pollution. These mats are generally durable and provide good grip, but they may not be as biodegradable or sustainable as other options. Some recycled plastic mats may also contain harmful chemicals, so it’s important to do your research and choose a mat from a reputable manufacturer.

When choosing a sustainable yoga mat, it’s important to consider your own needs and preferences. Each material has its own advantages and disadvantages, so take the time to research and try out different options to find the one that works best for you.

Synthetic and Natural Materials Used in Yoga Mats

Yoga mats are essential for any yoga enthusiast, providing a comfortable surface to practice on while ensuring that you don’t slip or slide during your yoga routine. Yoga mats can be made from a wide range of materials, both natural and synthetic. In this article, we’ll explore the different materials used in yoga mats and their unique features.

Natural RubberEnvironmentally friendly, durable, non-slip, provides excellent cushioning and support
TPENon-toxic, recyclable, lightweight, non-slip
CorkEnvironmentally sustainable, anti-microbial, non-slip, provides excellent grip, lightweight
PVCDurable, affordable, non-slip, but not environmentally friendly
NBRSoft and comfortable, provides excellent cushioning and support, but not environmentally friendly
JuteNatural and eco-friendly, anti-microbial, non-slip, but less cushioned and absorbent than other materials
EVALightweight, washable, durable, but less stable and less supportive than other materials
CottonEnvironmentally friendly, soft and comfortable, but less durable and less supportive than other materials
Woolen MatsProvide excellent grip and cushioning, naturally insulating, but require special care for cleaning and can be quite expensive

Natural rubber is a popular material used in yoga mats because it is eco-friendly and provides excellent cushioning and support. TPE, or Thermoplastic Elastomers, is another environmentally friendly option that is recyclable and lightweight. Cork is also becoming a popular choice due to its sustainability and anti-microbial properties.

PVC and NBR are synthetic materials that are popular for their durability and affordability, however, they are not environmentally friendly. Jute is a natural, eco-friendly option that is anti-microbial and non-slip, but it may be less cushioned than other materials. EVA is lightweight and easy to clean, but it may be less supportive than other materials. Cotton is a natural, eco-friendly option, but it is less durable and less supportive than other materials. Woolen mats are a premium option, offering excellent grip and cushioning, but they require special care for cleaning and can be quite expensive.

Popular Yoga Mat Materials

Yoga mats are a necessary tool for any yogi or yogini. They provide a stable surface to practice on, help with grip, and can even help cushion joints during certain poses. But with so many materials to choose from, it can be overwhelming to figure out which one is right for you. Here are the most popular yoga mat materials and their benefits and drawbacks.

  • PVC: PVC, or polyvinyl chloride, is the most common yoga mat material on the market. It’s inexpensive, lightweight, and durable. However, PVC is not eco-friendly and can emit harmful chemicals during production and use.
  • Rubber: Natural rubber is a popular natural alternative to PVC. It’s eco-friendly, dense, and provides a firm grip. However, rubber mats can be heavy, expensive, and some people find the strong rubber smell off-putting.
  • Cork: Cork is a sustainable and biodegradable material that’s great for grip and durability. It’s also antimicrobial, so it resists bacteria and fungi. However, cork mats can be expensive and heavy.
  • Jute: Jute is another eco-friendly material that provides good grip and durability. It’s lightweight and biodegradable. However, some people find jute mats to be scratchy or uncomfortable.
  • Cotton: Cotton mats are a great natural option, but they don’t always provide the best grip. They’re lightweight and easy to clean, but can wear down quickly.
  • TPE: TPE, or thermoplastic elastomer, is a synthetic material that’s lightweight and eco-friendly. It’s also non-toxic and free of harmful chemicals. However, TPE mats may not provide the same level of support and grip as other materials.
  • EVA: EVA, or ethylene-vinyl acetate, is a foam-like material that’s soft and cushioned. It’s also lightweight and affordable. However, EVA mats can wear down quickly and may not provide as much stability as other materials.
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Based on these factors, it’s clear that natural materials like cork, jute, and cotton are the best options for eco-conscious yogis. Materials like cork, jute, natural rubber, and organic fibers provide a better grip and more comfort than synthetic options like PVC or TPE. Mats made from a combination of natural rubber and polyurethane are a good compromise between insulation, flexibility, and durability.

It’s important to consider your needs and preferences when choosing a yoga mat material. If you prioritize eco-friendliness and grip, cork or jute might be the best options for you. If you prefer a firm grip and don’t mind the strong rubber smell, a natural rubber mat could be the way to go. Whatever material you choose, make sure it’s comfortable, durable, and supports your practice.

Eco-Friendly Options for Yoga Mats

If you’re looking for a more environmentally conscious yoga mat, there are several options available. Eco-friendly yoga mats are made with materials that are better for the environment and your health. Here are some facts about eco-friendly yoga mats:

  • Natural materials like organic cotton and natural rubber, and alternative sustainable materials like cork, are used to make eco-friendly yoga mats.
  • Several brands offer sustainable yoga mats, including Scoria, Oko Living, Manduka, Sugamats, Yoga Tribe, Yoloha, Gaiam, Jade Yoga, Brentwood Home, Yogakargha, and Urbivore.
  • Two top picks for eco-friendly yoga mats are the Brentwood Home Organic Yoga Mat and Gurus Sweat Proof Durable Cork Yoga Mat.
  • Eco-friendly and non-toxic yoga mats are better for the environment and your health.
  • Earth Me mats are manufactured in a factory that works to the Kyoto Protocol and employs a green production concept to minimize environmental impact.
  • PVC yoga mats are traditionally used but are questionable due to their environmental impact and difficulty in recycling.
  • Eco-friendly mats made from TPE, natural rubber, organic cotton, and jute are recommended.
  • Jute mats are biodegradable, weather-resistant and have good grip but are expensive and not very flexible.
  • Cork mats are biodegradable and have good grip and cushion but are expensive and not weather-resistant.
  • Synthetic rubber is highly durable but has a prominent carbon footprint.
  • Natural rubber, made from rubber trees, is a better option than synthetic rubber.

When purchasing an eco-friendly yoga mat, it’s important to consider the materials used and how they are manufactured. Opting for a mat made with natural and sustainable materials can greatly reduce your carbon footprint while still providing a comfortable and supportive surface for your practice.

Properties to Consider When Choosing Yoga Mat Material

When selecting a yoga mat, it’s important to consider several properties that can impact the comfort, safety, and environmental impact of the mat. Factors such as tactile texture, thickness, breathability, durability, eco-friendliness, flexibility, moisture absorption, and insulation are all important considerations. In this article, we will explore the different types of yoga mat materials available and their pros and cons, to help you make an informed decision about which material suits your needs and priorities.

Tactile Texture

The tactile texture of the mat can affect your grip during yoga practice. Some materials, such as PVC, offer a smooth surface that may be slick and prone to slipping if your hands or feet are sweaty. Natural materials, such as rubber and cork, tend to have a more textured surface that provides better traction. When choosing a yoga mat material, consider whether a smooth or textured surface suits your grip preferences and the style of yoga you practice.


The thickness of a yoga mat can impact its comfort and support for joints. A thicker mat, such as 6mm or 8mm, can offer more cushioning and support for sensitive areas, such as knees and wrists. However, thicker mats may also make balancing poses more challenging, and may not be suitable for travel or storage in small spaces. Alternatively, thinner mats, such as 3mm or 4mm, are more lightweight and easily portable, but may provide less cushioning for sensitive joints.


Some yoga mat materials, such as PVC, may be less breathable, leading to a build-up of sweat and bacteria over time. Natural materials, such as rubber or cork, tend to offer greater breathability, allowing air to circulate and helping to prevent odors and infections. Consider your personal preferences for breathability and hygiene when selecting a mat material.

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Free of Harmful Chemicals

Many yoga mats are made with synthetic materials that may contain harmful chemicals, such as phthalates, latex, or heavy metals. These chemicals can be absorbed into the skin and respiratory system during yoga practice, potentially causing health problems. When selecting a mat material, look for labels that indicate the mat is free of harmful chemicals, or opt for natural materials that are less likely to contain toxins.


The durability of a yoga mat can impact its longevity and value. Some materials, such as PVC or TPE, may be more durable and able to withstand heavy use, while others, such as natural rubber or cork, may be more prone to wear and tear over time. Consider your frequency of use and budget when selecting a mat material.


Many yoga practitioners prioritize eco-friendliness and sustainability when selecting a mat material. Synthetic materials, such as PVC or TPE, may not be biodegradable and may be made with environmentally damaging processes. On the other hand, natural materials, such as rubber or cork, are often sustainably sourced and biodegradable. Consider your personal values and priorities when selecting a mat material that aligns with your environmental goals.


The flexibility of a yoga mat can impact your ability to store and transport it. Some materials, such as PVC or TPE, may be more flexible and able to roll up tightly for storage or travel, while others, such as natural rubber or cork, may be more rigid and difficult to pack. Consider your needs for portability and storage when selecting a mat material.

Moisture Absorption

During yoga practice, sweat can accumulate on the mat, leading to slipperiness and reduced grip. Some materials, such as natural rubber or cork, have better moisture absorption capabilities and can help to prevent slipping. Others, such as PVC or TPE, may require the use of a towel or the application of powder to improve grip. Consider your need for moisture absorption when selecting a mat material.


The insulation properties of a yoga mat can make a difference in the comfort and warmth of your practice. Some materials, such as PVC or TPE, may offer greater insulation qualities that help to trap heat and maintain body temperature during a cold room or outdoor practice. However, these materials may also retain odor and be less breathable. Natural materials, such as rubber or cork, may be less insulating but more breathable and odor-resistant. Consider your needs for insulation when selecting a mat material.

If you’re someone who cares about the environment and sustainability, then you might be interested in purchasing a yoga mat that aligns with your values. Fortunately, there are several brands that offer sustainable yoga mats made out of eco-friendly materials that are durable and comfortable to practice on.


Scoria offers yoga mats made out of natural rubber and cork. With unique designs and patterns, Scoria’s mats are a great choice for those looking for a bit of style in their practice. Their mats also come with a mat cleaner made out of essential oils.

Oko Living

Oko Living creates mats made out of biodegradable natural tree rubber and a suede-like material made from recycled plastic bottles. Their mats are also extra thick and cushiony, making them perfect for those with joint pain or anyone looking for extra comfort during practice.


Manduka has a line of EKO mats that are made out of natural rubber and are eco-friendly. These mats have a textured surface that provides extra grip, making them ideal for hot yoga classes where sweating can make mats slippery. Manduka also offers a closed-loop recycling program for their mats, so you can feel good about disposing of them in a responsible way.


Sugamats are made out of biodegradable and sustainably sourced natural Tree Rubber and come in a variety of beautiful designs created with water-based ink. Additionally, they contribute to reforestation programs with every purchase made.

Yoga Tribe

Yoga Tribe’s mats are made out of all-natural tree rubber and have non-toxic inks for the designs on them. They also come with a carrying strap made from 100% recycled materials.


Yoloha offers yoga mats made from cork and natural rubber. These mats are also machine washable, making them easy to clean and maintain. Yoloha’s mats come in both regular and extra thick sizes.


Gaiam has a variety of sustainable mat options featuring materials such as natural tree rubber, cork, and jute. Their mats come in a variety of sizes, making them perfect for beginners and advanced practitioners alike.

Jade Yoga

Jade Yoga’s environmentally friendly mats are made of natural rubber and come in a variety of colors and designs. The company also plants a tree for every mat sold, so you can feel good about supporting their brand.

Brentwood Home

Brentwood Home’s yoga mats are made from natural cork and organic cotton. Their mats are antimicrobial, so they don’t absorb sweat, which also makes them easy to clean. Plus, they come with a carrying strap made from recycled materials.


Yogakargha’s mats are made from natural tree rubber, cork and microfiber. Their designs are printed with water-based inks and mats are free from toxic substances​. They also come with a carrying strap made from A-zip wallet, a zero-waste product made from upcycled materials.


Urbivore mats are made out of a blend of natural rubber and vegan suede made from recycled plastic bottles. These mats are unique because they feature positive affirmations that motivate you during your practice. They also offer a recycling program for the mats when they are no longer usable.

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When choosing a sustainable yoga mat, it’s important to consider your needs as well as the materials that the mat is made of. These brands offer a variety of options that not only align with your values, but also provide comfort and support during your yoga practice.

Health and Environmental Risks Associated with Some Yoga Mat Materials

Choosing the right yoga mat can be a daunting task, especially when considering the health and environmental risks associated with some materials. Here are some important facts to keep in mind:

MaterialHealth RisksEnvironmental Impact
Synthetic RubberCan be treated with toxic chemicals like VOCsMay not be biodegradable
PVCContains phthalates, a known carcinogen called vinyl chloride, and other toxic chemicalsUnable to biodegrade and poses a threat to the environment
Polymer Environmental Resin (PER)Not a great option for a non-toxic yoga matMay not be biodegradable and poses a threat to the environment
Thermoplastic Elastomers (TPE)Treated with antimicrobials, adhesives, colored dyes, and flame retardants that can emit VOCsMay not be biodegradable and poses a threat to the environment
NBRCost-effective but not eco-friendlyMay not be biodegradable and poses a threat to the environment

Low-cost yoga mats made from PVC are often treated with chemicals that can harm your health. PVC contains phthalates, a chemical associated with hormonal disruption, and heavy metals like lead and cadmium. In addition, PVC is made with a known carcinogen called vinyl chloride.

In warm conditions, phthalates can leach out of the yoga mat, cling to dust particles, and get inhaled, posing a danger to hot yoga practitioners. Furthermore, VOCs present in some yoga mats can cause negative health impacts, including respiratory and neurological problems.

Fortunately, there are some eco-friendly options available on the market. Manduka offers the most sustainable PVC yoga mat on the market, but it’s not entirely non-toxic. Lululemon yoga mats may also contain toxic chemicals.

If you’re looking for a more affordable and eco-friendly option, the Gaiam Cork Yoga Mat is worth considering. It has a natural cork upper and a non-slip TPE rubber backing. Cork is a renewable material that is harvested without harming the trees, making it a sustainable choice for both your health and the environment.

Remember to read the labels and do your research thoroughly before purchasing a yoga mat to ensure that it’s safe for you and the environment.

Tips for Choosing the Right Yoga Mat Material

Yoga is a practice that requires focus, concentration, and a lot of physical activity. Choosing the right yoga mat material can make or break the experience. Here are some tips to help you choose the right yoga mat material:

  • Consider your practice, budget, and lifestyle: There are a variety of yoga mat materials available, each with their own benefits and drawbacks. Consider what type of yoga you practice, how often you practice, and how much you are willing to spend on a mat.
  • Ask for recommendations: If you are new to yoga, consider asking your teacher or yoga studio for recommendations on the best yoga mat materials.
  • Select a material based on your preferences: The best yoga mat material depends on your individual preferences and priorities. What works for one person may not work for another.

Synthetic Rubber Mats

Synthetic rubber mats are a popular choice because of their affordability and durability. They are lightweight and easy to carry around. However, synthetic rubber mats require gentle care and cannot be submerged in water or left in direct sunlight.

EVA Mats

EVA mats are made of foam-like material, are lightweight, and affordable. They are a good option for beginners or occasional yogis. However, they are not as long-lasting as other materials and may not provide enough support for more advanced poses.

Rubber and Cork Mats

Rubber and cork are eco-friendly options that provide great grip and stability. They are also durable, but may not last as long as PVC mats. Cork mats are softer and more comfortable than rubber mats, but may not provide enough grip for some poses.

Materials to Avoid

Many modern yoga mats contain toxins and carcinogens. Avoid mats made from PVC, phthalates, and latex. These materials can be harmful to both you and the environment.

Other Considerations

In addition to the material of the mat, there are other factors to consider when choosing a yoga mat. The size of the mat should be chosen based on your height and comfort level. The traction and texture of the mat should be sticky and provide good grip, especially for more advanced or challenging poses. It is also important to choose a material based on the type of yoga practiced and personal preferences.

Maintenance and Care for Yoga Mats

As with any type of equipment, proper care of your yoga mat is essential to ensure its longevity. To keep your mat in top condition, you should perform regular maintenance and cleaning, especially if you use it frequently or sweat profusely during your yoga sessions.

Here are some tips and guidelines to help you maintain and care for your yoga mat:

  • Check the care instructions: Before cleaning your mat, it is important to read the care instructions provided by the manufacturer. Different materials may have different cleaning requirements, and some mats may not be suitable for machine washing.
  • Use non-toxic cleaning solutions: Harsh chemicals and detergents can damage or degrade the surface of your yoga mat. Use a solution of warm water and mild soap, or a specially formulated yoga mat cleaner, to clean your mat without compromising its quality or safety.
  • Consider natural materials: If you have a mat made of natural materials like cork or rubber, you may need to take extra care when cleaning it. Avoid using abrasive brushes or sponges, and instead use a soft damp cloth to gently wipe the surface of the mat.
  • Regularly wipe down your mat: To prevent the buildup of sweat, dirt, and bacteria on your mat, wipe it down regularly after each use. You can use a damp cloth, a vinegar solution, or a mat-specific cleaning spray to remove any dirt or stains.
  • Avoid direct sunlight: Excessive exposure to sunlight can cause your mat to fade or warp over time. Store your mat in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight when not in use.
  • Replace your mat when necessary: Even with proper care and maintenance, yoga mats will eventually wear out and lose their grip and stability. Regularly inspect your mat for signs of wear and tear, such as holes, cracks, or peeling, and replace it when necessary to ensure your safety and comfort during your yoga practice.

By following these simple guidelines for maintaining and cleaning your yoga mat, you can ensure that it remains durable, safe, and comfortable for all of your yoga sessions. With regular care and attention, your yoga mat can provide years of support and stability for your practice.

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