Over 5,000 years ago, Rishis documented their practices and beliefs surrounding yoga in the Upanishads. Today, over 36 million people practice yoga, and it makes sense that those who seek balance in mind and body also seek it in nature—through sustainable shopping for eco-friendly yoga mats and other practice essentials.
Not only does yoga improve flexibility, but it also cultivates a greater sense of connection to the self and the world at large. With sustainability in mind, we rounded up the five best eco-friendly yoga mats for your daily flow.
Best Eco-Friendly Yoga Mats: Our Recommendations
Best Overall: Hugger Mugger Earth Elements Yoga MatMost Recommended By Instructors: Manduka eKO Lite Yoga MatBest Recycled Mat: SUGA Recycled Wetsuit Yoga MatMost Socially Conscious Company: Liforme Love Yoga MatBest Biodegradable Mat: 2nd Wind Yoga Mat
Each product featured here has been independently selected by the writer. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.
Why Switch to an Eco-Friendly Yoga Mat?
What is the best material for a yoga mat? If you’re eco-conscious, it isn’t polyvinyl chloride (PVC), which is typically used to make flexible, firm and sticky yoga mats. It’s also the third highest produced synthetic plastic polymer made in the world, with over 40 million tons of PVC produced annually, according to Ullman’s Encyclopedia of Industrial Chemistry.
However, you may find that some greener yoga product companies do include PVC in their materials, just not as much. PVC is difficult to recycle, and its lifetime recyclability is limited. The greener companies that make yoga mats with PVC are thoughtful enough to take back each yoga mat for recycling once its life cycle is complete. Other companies that repurpose difficult-to-recycle materials also often take this approach.
When looking for an eco-friendly yoga mat, consider one made of sustainable cork, recycled natural tree rubber and other recycled materials. Avoid chemically treated yoga mats.
5 Best Eco-Friendly Yoga Mats
Best Overall: Hugger Mugger Earth Elements Yoga Mat
Biodegradable, toxin-free and recyclable, the Hugger Mugger brand of yoga mats stands out. The company prides itself on being one of the first to manufacture sustainable yoga mats from thermoplastic elastomers (TPE), which can be recycled after use. It’s a trusted brand that many yoga enthusiasts keep coming back to over the years.
The Earth Elements line has a closed-cell construction that’s grippy and prevents the accumulation of sweat and odor. Many reviewers like the feel of the lightweight yet high-performance yoga mats from Hugger Mugger. The mats come in sky blue and teal onyx colorways.
Customer Rating: 4.5 out 5 stars with about 75 Amazon ratings
Standout Review: “This has been my primary mat for 8 years; after using the first one for over 6 years, I bought a second one, as the first one had started to wear a bit. Even so, the older one still is a functional mat and is used for play at home.” — Niehaus via Amazon
Why Buy: Need a biodegradable mat that will hold up for several years with care? This one stands out for long-term use and is lightweight enough for those looking for a travel yoga mat, according to reviewers.
Most Recommended By Instructors: Manduka eKO Lite Yoga Mat
Manduka is committed to manufacturing eco-friendlier yoga mats that are designed to last. Manduka’s eKO Mats are made from biodegradable natural tree rubber and manufactured with zero waste and no harmful plasticizers.
While its PRO mats are manufactured from PVC, Manduka takes back all yoga mats through its Live On program, breaking them down and recycling them. The company ensures that all of its mats are created without toxic chemicals and dyes, and they’re often recommended by yoga teachers.
Customer Rating: 4.7 out of 5 stars with almost 250 Amazon ratings
Standout Review: “Although these mats are expensive, they’re totally worth the investment. I always feel stable when I get on this mat. My hands and feet do not slide, especially when I am flowing hard and sweating.” — Dee via Amazon
Why Buy: Want to revamp your yoga routine with eco-friendlier mats and accessories? Manduka is a top brand chosen by yoga instructors around the world. Customer reviews note you should air out the mat after opening it but that it’s light and supportive.
Best Recycled Mat: SUGA Recycled Wetsuit Yoga Mat
Suga, a California-based yoga mat company, makes mats with recycled neoprene wetsuits, reducing environmental impacts with its designs. The company’s process stops wetsuits from entering landfills, and you get a quality yoga mat made from donated materials. If you are a diver or surfer, you can donate your wetsuit at one of the company’s partner stores to receive a 10% discount on your next purchase. For every wetsuit recycled, roughly one SugaMat is created.
If it ever wears out or you just want another yoga mat, send your used one back to Suga for recycling. Suga also supports 1% for the Planet, so a portion of all sales goes to environmental nonprofits.
Customer Rating: 4.4 out 5 stars with over 70 Amazon ratings
Standout Review: “I love this mat for hot yoga — no need for bringing a towel to cover your mat! This is thicker and slightly heavier than other mats I’ve used, but I love how it feels. I feel extra grounded when using this mat. It looks super cool, too, and I enjoy seeing the small bits of really colorful wetsuits. I saw the comment about crumbles, cleaned it with a microfiber cloth before using it and didn’t have any issues.” — #1 Customerrrr via Amazon
Why Buy: Prefer a thicker yoga mat made by a company that perpetually recycles its mats? Neoprene is made from petroleum and can’t be recycled, but Suga set up a successful system that benefits both the yoga practitioner and the planet.
Most Socially Conscious Company: Liforme Love Yoga Mat
Designed under the premise of “Good for you, Good for the planet,” Liforme mats are non-toxic, PVC-free and biodegrade within one to five years. The brand prides itself on being eco-friendly, ethical, and socially just. As such, it makes its mats with the highest-quality materials and focuses on charitable giving with each purchase.
Liforme donates 5% of sales from two of its yoga mat collections and has raised over $200,000 for charity partner Friends of the Earth. It also supports social justice causes like women and children’s rights, racial diversity, and LGBTQ+ rights.
Liforme’s AlignForMe System helps yogis navigate the mat and is perfect for beginners or at-home practicing. The mats are also slightly larger and longer than the average yoga mat. Many reviews applaud the grip of this mat’s material, which resists the slips of sweaty feet and hands.
Customer Rating: 4.6 out of almost 5 stars with almost 190 Amazon ratings
Standout Review: “I practice a heated vinyasa flow, and am generally dripping sweat within the first 10 mins. I have used Yogitoes towels for the past 10 years but always found the grip to slip. I am happy to report that the Liforme mat has so far withstood the sweatiest of classes.” — Amanda via Amazon
Why Buy: You want a sustainable yoga mat that breaks down like it says it does and gives back to the community like it says it does. Or maybe you get really sweaty during yoga (raising my hand here) and need a mat that can handle that and more.
Best Biodegradable Mat: 2nd Wind Yoga Mat
No glue, latex, PVC or toxins present here — just biodegradable eco-goodness. 2nd Wind is based in Rhode Island and is renowned for its intricate and sustainable yoga mats, which are made with 100% natural cork and rubber and are decorated with water-based ink. Let’s just say the Root to Rise design will inspire your morning flow.
Many 2nd Wind yoga mats have a natural rubber face for support, but this particular model has a towel heat-pressed to its rubber base for added grip. Instead of having to purchase a secondary yoga mat cover, these mats help prevent slipping with their soft surface.
Customer Rating: 3.3 out of 5 stars with under 10 Amazon ratings
Standout Review: “I love the design and silky feel, but it is a bit too slippery for down dog poses.” — Lok Wong via Amazon
Why Buy: Your yoga practice is an art form, and you want a high-quality, latex-free mat that reflects that. This natural rubber yoga mat also lowers your environmental footprint with its eco-friendly materials.
FAQ: Eco-Friendly Yoga Mats
What should I look for when buying a yoga mat?
When shopping for an eco-friendly yoga mat, avoid chemically treated mats or mats made with PVC. Look for more natural and sustainable materials, such as cork yoga mats or those made with another recycled material. If the material cannot be recycled naturally, ensure the brand has a take-back option for its yoga mats.
As always, check whether the yoga mat you’re considering has your preferred texture for grip and cushioning for support. Thicker yoga mats provide more therapeutic support but may be harder to travel with.
How do you clean an eco-friendly yoga mat?
Most manufacturers suggest cleaning your mat at least every five uses. Avoid using harsh chemicals to clean your yoga mat. A clean cotton towel and a few drops of natural dish soap diluted with water make for thorough, non-toxic yoga mat cleaning.
Some yoga practitioners prefer using diluted essential oils to clean their yoga mats. Be careful if you try this, as you may have a sensitivity to essential oils.
Are yoga mats bad for the environment?
Yoga mats made from PVC are difficult to recycle and, if they are, can only be recycled so many times. Choosing a more sustainable material that is biodegradable is less harmful to the environment.
Read More at EcoWatch