A Chemical-Free Yoga Practice

I feel like the common theme of these Alternative posts is "no more chemicals!" Which, it pretty much is the secret to greener goods - cut out the chemicals and choose natural materials.

Yogis, this week is for YOU!

Conventional yoga mats are cheaper and easy to find, but they are also loaded with chemicals, and made with PVC.

Considering yoga is all about mindful breath and mental clarity, it seems a bit counter-productive to be doing half-pigeon while inhaling a load of toxic fumes.

There's a wide range of eco-friendly yoga mats, including a wide range in price.

You can find an inexpensive chemical-free mat by looking for ones that don't have the plasticizing phthalates DEHP, DBP (also found in toxic nail polish...), BBP, DINP, DIDP and DNOP.

As a refresher, phthalates are mainly used to soften and increase the flexibility of plastic and vinyl, and they can have a negative effect on your health, especially through repeated exposure and ingestion. They're found in all sorts of items, from PVC products, to beauty products, toys, vinyl shower curtains, plastic wrap, wood finishes, insecticides and vinyl flooring. Not very comforting, right?


So, back to these eco-friendly yoga mats. (Could that sound MORE hippie-ish!? ) Many are made with jute, natural rubber, plant fibers or alternative plastics (which can be questionable but are said to be biodegradable at least). Come to think of it, it would be awesome if some yoga mats were made from rPET, or recycled soda and water bottles. They make umbrellas and clothing out of it. Scientists, work on a yoga mat! (I did find a yoga tote bag made of the material, at least.) Natural rubber is eco-friendly because it's derived from a renewable resource and it's biodegradable.

Some rubber mats can be bulkier and heavier than their conventional counterparts, so think about your main uses - whether you take it to the gym or do yoga at home. And the biggest downside to these eco-friendly yoga mats is how they tend to be less durable, which is the reason the conventional PVC ones are made in the first place - for durability. 

No matter what kind of mat you choose, make sure to keep it clean to avoid harboring bacteria.

Some brands to look at are:

More sources of information:

Now, I am off to find myself a new, green yoga mat for my own practice. Namaste.

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