For more than 5,000 years, the citizens of the Indian subcontinent have known something that Western Civilization has only relatively recently discovered: yoga is hugely beneficial to human well-being. Below, we look at one accessory you’d be wise to use: a yoga mat. And even better, how to choose and where to buy an eco-friendly, sustainable yoga mat. As a result, you can practice with the environment and sustainability in mind.
Whether a novice or a regular yogi, practicing yoga has numerous benefits. Yoga can help to increase flexibility, muscle tone, and cardigan health and decrease anxiety, weight, and depression.
Researchers have proven many of these attributes true. If you’ve been curious about yoga, this is an opportunity and invitation for you to pursue this life-changing, life-enhancing form of exercise. If you already practice yoga, you’ll know you can always discover more and keep learning.
You might also like our compilation of yoga quotes to hear more about what others say about the practice.
Yoga and meditation practice helps us center, gain perspective and stay healthy. One of the real beauties of yoga is the relative lack of equipment you need to practice: a meditative spot, silence or perhaps soft music, comfortably stretchable clothing, and a yoga mat.
As such, it’d be almost wrong to do so on top of a plastic mat with all its negative environmental impacts.
Therefore, here is our guide to the 10 best eco-friendly yoga mats and an explanation of why we chose them. Later, we cover tips and explore what you should look for in choosing your environmentally friendly yoga mat. And for the full sustainable kit, also check our guide to sustainable yoga props and accessories (other than mats).
This top-flight cork yoga mat is relatively thin and intended mainly for the more experienced yogi who prefers a solid grip over cushioning. JURU’s non-slip cork mat is perfect if you engage in lengthy, time-intensive training in a warm environment.
Due to its grip, wet or dry, this mat is ideal for sweating. It is standard size—6 feet x 2 feet—and made 100% of cork and natural tree rubber from cork oak forests in Kerala. The rubber underside grips prevent slipping, and you can reverse the eco-friendly mats according to your preference.
Like all yoga products constructed by JURU, they make their cork yoga mats in India. Each one comes with a sling so that you can wear it en route to yoga class.
Another reason advanced students and teachers will prefer these yoga mats is their number, 7. JURU designed the mat to make it possible for those who wish to pursue the ancient concept of the chakras and colors as bringers of enlightenment.
The chakras’ illustration on these eco-friendly yoga mats helps practitioners find perfect alignment regardless of enlightenment.
The Boho Yoga mat is 6 millimeters thick, nicely cushioned, and handmade in the US. It is lightweight, extremely durable, has natural anti-bacterial qualities, and is reversible.
They make MYSOLMAT yoga mats from TPE, or thermoplastic rubber, which is both biodegradable and recyclable. TPE’s environmental credentials come from requiring no compounding, reinforcing agents, or stabilizers.
Further, each yoga mat that MYSOLMAT makes out of TPE requires less energy to produce than traditional PVC mats. The Boho Mat is 100% free of PVC, latex, chloride, and heavy metal materials, ensuring they deliver non-toxic yoga mats. It also comes with a carrying strap.
The mat comes complete with a non-skid surface, echoing the best rubber qualities to stay in place regardless of movement and posture—this environmentally friendly sticky yoga mat for non-slip ships free from Austin, Texas, in the US.
The mat has accumulated all 5-Star reviews on Etsy at the time of writing. Several reviewers commented on how much they love the mat’s pattern. Several noted as well the rapid turnaround when it came to shipping products from the owner’s store, which happily contains a wide variety of yoga rugs in all sorts of patterns.
The Eason natural jute yoga mat is six inches longer than the standard 5’ 8” yoga mat. At 5 millimeters thick, it’s slightly less than 1/4 inch.
It comes in a variety of colors with a matching cotton carrying bag. Jute fiber, the raw material used to make the mat, is derived from the same plant from which they make burlap.
You might not know that Jute fiber is the second most-produced natural fiber after cotton. They widely use Jute where strength and durability are required, and to boot, it will absorb moisture naturally to keep your surface dry during yoga practice.
Jute makes an excellent raw material for yoga mats that get lugged around and exercised upon. They’ve utilized an eco-friendly foam on the mat’s underside in place of rubber or synthetics to make it less likely to slip during exercise—no plastics or phthalates here.
In preparing their jute yoga mats for sales and shipping, the merchant has been highly conscious of maintaining the best hygiene practices. Therefore, all the items for purchase have been handled with sanitary gloves after their final washing and bleaching.
They make each item free of chemical additives. The mats ship free in the US from Foley, Alabama, and arrive in about a week.
Like Eason mats, SUGA’s recycled, environmentally friendly yoga mat is 5 millimeters thick and 6’ long. However, that’s where the similarity ends since they make SUGA’s mats from materials sourced from 100% recycled neoprene wetsuits.
These yoga mats are unique in the yoga world in several ways. Their construction involves “closed-cell foam,” which essentially means that the rubber-like construction won’t pick up dirt and bacteria from the yoga studio floor. Therefore, these make an excellent yoga mat for use pretty much anywhere.
Plus, each SUGA eco-friendly yoga mat is straightforward to clean. And they specially design them to be durable, sticky, dense, flexible, and water-soluble (Hey, they’re recycled wetsuits !).
They developed these mats with high-compression yoga positions in mind. You probably won’t be surprised to learn that these mats were the brainchild of a surfer/yogi who was looking for a perfect yoga mat and, at the same time, wanted to find a good reason to recycle old wetsuits.
The result, of course, is these environmentally friendly yoga mats from SUGA. Who knew a beautiful yoga mat could come from old wet suits?
Liforme is one of the most highly rated yoga mats for the eco-friendly, serious yogi. Owners regularly describe these as perfect for hot yoga because of their excellent grip, perfect for hot, sweaty classes. It comes in four colors: gray, blue, pink, and green.
Liforme yoga mats are made of eco-polyurethane and natural rubber tapped from rubber trees. As a result of their natural rubber construction, they will completely biodegrade in a landfill for excellent environmentally friendly qualities.
They make natural rubber yoga mats from non-toxic material and have a proprietary “AlignForMe” system that establishes a proper alignment position for users while ensuring great grip. This alignment system has demonstrated its usefulness in preventing injury and helping users attain heightened yoga ability.
Liforme is a multinational company that has developed and sold yoga mats worldwide. Their yoga mats carry the reputation of being both well-cushioned and highly sticky.
Owners regard their high-performance mat choice as game-changing. One of the greatest testimonials to the Liforme Original Yoga Mat is the volume of reviews on Amazon and the excellent 87% 5-star rating given to the mat by over 1300 purchasers.
Whether you practice slow meditation, teach, or are a seasoned yoga professional, you can’t go wrong with Liforme eco-rubber mats. In fact, they even claim these sustainable yoga mats transform your practice.
If you want to be sure you absolutely have an eco-friendly mat unlike any other in the world, you can order a custom-made environmentally-friendly mat from Yoga Photo Mats. You send the merchant your horizontal photo or illustration, which they then transfer to a 70” long, 24” wide, 1/4” thick flexible mat made of biodegradable, non-toxic chemicals and materials.
Your photo will be transferred with waterproof, lightweight ink that is exceedingly durable, as well as being UV cured, and free of heavy metals.
If you like the idea but don’t have an image you want to use, you can visit the merchant’s website, who is a commercial photographer and yogi, in addition to making these mats. Yoga Photo Mats has accumulated plenty of 5-star reviews from those who have used it to purchase one-of-a-kind yoga mats.
Going back to yoga’s original source for a very traditional organic mat, you can choose an organic cotton yoga mat from Abhinehkrats manufactured and shipped (free and quickly) from Ghaziabad, India. This mat is more extensive and thicker than the standard sizes one would expect in the US. It is 26” wide and a full 74” long.
The mat is handwoven by Indian artisans with all-natural cotton fiber. The manufacturing process of weaving these natural yoga mats requires three days. You can wash them and even expect them to outlast plastic or silicone mats.
The longer you use them, the softer the pleasantly natural surface becomes. There is an eco-friendly, non-slip backing made of natural rubber as well. You can expect delivery of these non-toxic mats within two to three weeks of the order date.
The Yoloha Aura mat offers several options. Most importantly, unlike plastic yoga mats, they are all eco-friendly. The product is an extremely lightweight mat with marvelous cushioning and sticking power, for which natural cork is famous. While designed with the veteran yogi in mind, novices will find it tremendously enjoyable. Its durability means it will remain with you as you transition from beginner to expert.
The cork surface comes from sustainable, recyclable, and renewable cork oak trees. They don’t harvest cork by cutting down trees; rather, the tree’s bark is peeled from it every nine years.
The cork yoga mat itself is naturally anti-microbial to keep the germs away along your yoga journey. Beyond this, this yoga mat has no latex, PVC, or non-toxic foaming agents or chemicals of any kind in its materials. The eco-foam bottom of the mat is closed-cell to avoid gathering dust.
Finding a one-of-a-kind yoga mat as attractive and completely functional as the Yogo Design Lab Mat would be tough. This eco-friendly mat comes in four different colors with exquisite Indian designs on the exercise surface.
The mat is 71” long, 24” wide, and 5 millimeters thick. Even rolled up on its carrying strap, the mat is eye-catching. Made of natural rubber materials, it is non-toxic and odor-free.
The rubber itself is ethically sourced natural tree rubber. Of course, being made of all-natural rubber materials, a renewable resource, they’re also PVC and plastic-free, unlike some other synthetic rubber mats you might find out there.
Buy one of these natural rubber yoga mats from Yoga Design Lab, and they give $1 from every purchase to help support yoga programs for young people in the US.
The Yoga Design Lab Mat was an inspiration for founder Chad Turner while vacationing in Bali. He envisioned creating a beautiful exercise mat that would be useful and appealing to beginning students and meet the advanced yogi’s needs.
Turner moved to Bali to breathe life into his vision for his products, which became the highly-regarded Yoga Design mat.
Jade yoga fusion mats combine all of the sustainability qualities you might look for in a new mat with grip and padding. Furthermore, in various colors to suit your style, these foldable mats made from natural rubber from real rubber trees look the part.
Even better, Jade Yoga plants a tree for all eco-friendly yoga mats Jade sells. Naturally organic and phthalates and PVC-free, Jade Yoga notes their care for the planet and the communities they operate in, having donated over $100K to ovarian cancer causes.
Another popular line is their jade yoga harmony mat, similarly made from natural rubber, and lighter weight than other mats for easier carry to and from classes.
Produced in the US, these Jade yoga mats make a great sustainable option, and we commend any business that plants trees for the future as a great way to demonstrate genuine care for the environment. Plus it aids your purchase in becoming climate-neutral.
As a result, when you buy one of these Jade natural rubber mats, you won’t have to worry quite as much about the carbon cost of shipping because they plant one tree for you to give back for each Jade mat sold. Guilt-free yoga practice awaits upon one of the best yoga mats available.
Our final selection is the Maji Sports Premium Mat, made of jute and PER polymer blend. Instead of natural rubber and jute, they use PER, an environmentally sound resin or synthetic rubber that is highly durable, lightweight, and has excellent stickiness.
Unlike many yoga mats made from synthetic materials, the jute fibers they use are naturally antimicrobial, making them especially well-suited for those who have sweaty workout sessions, perfect for your hot yoga class. This yoga mat is phthalate and toxin-free.
This jute yoga mat is a standard size: 2” x 5’8” and 4.5 millimeters thick. Delivered from Gardena, California, your new mat ships free throughout the US within three weeks from the date of order.
Maji Sports has received 10 5-star reviews for this jute fiber product. Characteristic comments from reviewers include descriptions of the mat’s attractiveness and, in particular, the way it stays put throughout exercise on a smooth or carpeted floor, making it perfect for hot yoga classes.
We’d like to frame the question of how to select the right eco-friendly mat for your needs in two ways. First up is the simple, practical question of what you need a yoga mat to be. Second, knowing what to look for and avoid when selecting your yoga mat to last is essential.
The standard size of a yoga mat is 68 inches (5’ 8”) long and 24 inches (2’) wide. These dimensions vary widely, though this size mat is just right for most yogi forms and positions. It gets complicated when it comes to thickness—partly because suppliers measure yoga mats differently. A standard thickness mat is 1/8 inch thick. If measured in millimeters, that is just over 3 millimeters.
The thickness you choose for your eco-friendly yoga mat may depend on the degree of cushioning you need for comfort or the construction material. A thinner mat, often preferred by instructors and veteran yogis, is 1/16 inch, or about 1.5 millimeters. A thick mat would be 1/4 inch or just over 6 millimeters, providing more cushioning for your joints.
Beyond choosing the size and thickness of your mat, you’ll want to select the surface you’ll be experiencing. Do you like it smooth or ribbed? Would you prefer it to be non-wettable (your sweat will stay on the mat's surface) or wettable (where water absorbs into the mat)?
This choice is important for a couple of reasons. You’re more likely to slip on a non-wettable surface. Another aspect of this has to do with the quality of stickiness. However, this isn’t about whether the mat sticks to you. But instead, if it stays in place while you are changing positions.
Note that the rubber smell of new mats, which some people find off-putting, disappears quite quickly after a few uses.
Choosing a good yoga mat made of the right sustainable materials is especially important for being eco-friendly. This is mainly because they make most yoga mats in use and for sale from polyvinyl chloride (PVC).
PVC is a plastic made from petroleum. As such, a PVC yoga mat does not biodegrade, and it isn’t recyclable. So, if you want to live sustainably, plastic-free, and with minimal carbon and environmental footprint, we recommend you avoid choosing PVC yoga mats.
When choosing your yoga mat from the list above for the best environmentally friendly creds, all of the above possess a decent measure; look for natural materials, like cork and rubber, and sustainable and ethical sourcing.
We’ve called out the environmental creds for each of our choices above. The best will always be entirely natural and made from eco-friendly materials, which in turn means they’ll also biodegrade at the end of their useful life, leaving no harm.
Some innovators also use materials like plant foam for an organic and latex-free cushion. While water-based inks prevent metals and polymers on the surface, better for human health and the planet.
Look for certifications such as the global organic textile standard (GOTS), FSC, and PEFC or Realcork for cork products.
However, you’ll also find above a selection that includes eco-foams and polymer environmental resin for the essential sticky back, which stack up well too. Further, it's always worth noting that if you have an old yoga mat that is still usable, the best choice for the environment is to continue using it.
Related read: Is rubber biodegradable?
Yoga is one of those remarkable human practices that have remained uplifting and holistic since before the advent of modern history. While the various forms of yoga have adapted and evolved, it has remained essentially what it has always been: a holistic series of serene exercises for the development of an individual physically, emotionally, intellectually, and spiritually.
Given the distinctive nature of yoga, it is only fitting that we should approach it with the sort of respect that we can reveal when conducting ourselves in the most sustainable manner.
By all means, let us express our admiration for yoga, our love of the environment, and our desire to perpetuate our fellow human beings by going forward ecologically sustainably. As yoga teachers might share, we can do this by pursuing the practice of yoga with a plastic-free, zero-waste, non-toxic yoga mat.
We hope you’ve enjoyed our selection of everything from cork mats to high-quality natural rubber yoga mats or those made from recycled materials.
Whether seeking a perfect layer for quiet meditation or a sweaty session, you’ll find one of the mats above made from sustainable materials right for your yoga session.
Jen’s a passionate environmentalist and sustainability expert. With a science degree from Babcock University Jen loves applying her research skills to craft editorial that connects with our global changemaker and readership audiences centered around topics including zero waste, sustainability, climate change, and biodiversity.
Elsewhere Jen’s interests include the role that future technology and data have in helping us solve some of the planet’s biggest challenges.