21 July 2008

a better yoga mat

If you don't already know me, you probably wouldn't be surprised to learn that I do yoga. Aside from the physical health benefits, the mindfulness that comes from yoga practice naturally feeds a sustainable lifestyle.

When my old yoga mat got chewed up in the washing machine (woops!) I was happy to buy a new, eco-friendly one. The old one was made with PVC, one of those materials I try to avoid like the plague because it's plaguing people's health (its production causes a rare form of liver cancer).

Check out 50 ways to reuse your yoga mat here.

Earth Elements by Hugger Mugger is the one I bought. It's made from TPE (thermo plastic polymer), which is PVC-, chlorine- and latex-free. It's both decomposable and durable (how is that possible?) with a great grippy texture. Be aware that it does smell funny when you first get it, but that goes away with a couple days' airing out. (Available at Amazon and Barefoot Yoga Co.)

Manduka eKO Mat is made from 100% natural, non-Amazon forested rubber. It's also biodegradable and non-toxic.

Eco-friendly Reversible Mat by Gaiam is made from renewable resources. PVC- and latex-free.

The Original Eco Yoga Mat from Barefoot Yoga Co. is made of jute and natural rubber with no synthetic materials to be found. Hand washable and 100% biodegradable.

E.C.O. Sticky Mat by Prana, like the one I have, is made from TPE. PVC- and latex-free.

Barefoot Yoga Co. has a bunch of eco-friendly yoga mat options, and now through July 27th, get free shipping on orders $99 and over with promo code JULYFREE.

But if you want to splurge...

Go for the super-sustainable cork mat. From Korq ($200; Made in NYC) or Stilelibero (~$200 incl. shipping; from UK).

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