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Being sustainable is practically written into yoga philosophy. If you look at the Yoga Sutra, written by Patanjali (known as the father of yoga) over 2,000 years ago, you’ll find the 8 limbs of yoga which is an 8-step path to enlightenment.

In the 8 limbs, the first limb is Yama which sets out an ethical code for yogis. It includes ‘not harming others’ which can be widely interpreted to include the environment as well as other people.

One practical way we can do this is by purchasing sustainably, especially when it comes to your yoga mat. Having a clear conscience during yoga practice is key, so a mat that has harmed the environment isn’t going to help with this.

There are several eco-friendly yoga mats on the market, in this guide, I’ll break down my favorite ones and explain why they are great for yoga and great for the environment.

What Makes a Yoga Mat Eco-Friendly

So, you want an eco-friendly yoga mat, but what exactly does that mean? Well, here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Sustainable Production – This can encompass a variety of things such as carbon footprint, working conditions, etc, but mainly focuses on the material. When choosing a yoga mat material, look for materials that come from renewable sources such as plants (e.g. rubber, cork, etc) rather than plastics or polymers (e.g. PVC, TPE, etc) which are made from non-renewable sources.
  • Non-Toxic – You want to ensure that toxic chemicals are not released into the atmosphere during production. PVC is notorious for this but other plastic materials can be bad too.
  • Durability – First and foremost you want a mat that will last. Unfortunately, in our consumerist society, items are not well made so you have to replace them regularly which uses up even more resources.
  • Recyclable and/or Biodegradeable – When your mat does eventually reach the end of its life, as all products do, you want to ensure it won’t be a burden on the planet for years to come. Ideally, it will be recyclable so it can be turned into a new mat, but, if not, you want to ensure it will eventually biodegrade.

Plus, of course, you want a mat that is great for yoga, this includes grip, cushioning for your knees, not rolling up at the sides, the right about of absorbency, and having the correct size for your needs.

Find out more about choosing a yoga mat in my dedicated guide.


Best Eco-Friendly Yoga Mats

The best eco-friendly yoga mats are:

Below, you’ll find my full reviews of each recommendation along with my explanation of why it’s a sustainable yoga mat.

At the end of this article is a full comparison table with side-by-side features to compare!

Best Overall: Jade Harmony

Pros:

Firm and grippy
Made entirely from sustainable materials
Lightweight and easy to transport

Cons:

Open-cell design isn’t easy to clean
Contains latex

My top pick when it comes to sustainable yoga mats is the Jade Harmony. The mat is made entirely from natural rubber which is more sustainable than other yoga mat materials due to coming from a renewable source (rubber trees). It’s biodegradable, recyclable, and long-lasting.

The reason this is my favorite mat isn’t just because of its eco stats, it’s also really great for yoga. The mat is firm and grippy. It has an open-cell design which means it won’t get slippy when you sweat a lot and the structure gives the mat a nice amount of fluidity under your hand.

It’s 4.75mm thick which is the ideal thickness for an all-around yoga mat. It’s padded enough to provide cushion for your knees, whilst still being light enough to roll up and take to class with you.

At 4.3lbs for the standard (4.5lbs for the large), it’s one of the lightest here, except for the slimmer Manduka mats I’ll share later.

Jade seems to be a very ethical brand which is likely because the founder previously worked for the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency). They support numerous causes and plant a tree for every mat sold. Production is also US-based which means there’s a low carbon footprint (for US customers at least).

Why it’s good for the environment:

  • One tree planted for every mat sold
  • Made from rubber which is more sustainable than most materials
  • Made in the USA for low carbon footprint
  • Biodegradable
  • Recyclable
  • Durable

Runner Up: Hugger Mugger Para Rubber

Pros:

Abundance of cushioning for your knees
Made from natural rubber which is a sustainable material
Remains grippy when wet due to open cell design (although harder to clean)

Cons:

Fairly heavy – not great for transporting around
Contains latex

My runner-up eco-friendly yoga mat is the Hugger Mugger Para Rubber, it’s a bit of a mouthful to say the least!

It’s similar to the Jade Harmony in many ways. For example, it’s also made from natural rubber which is one of the more sustainable yoga mat materials and it has an open-cell structure which means that it absorbs sweat and moisture to remain grippy when wet.

However, it is 6mm thick which is the thickest of the mats and you can really feel the difference. It provides a lot of cushioning and much more support than the Jade Harmony above. However, this comes at the expense of weight because it’s also the heaviest mat here at 3kg (6.6lbs).

Rubber can be recycled and is biodegradable, plus Hugger Mugger guarantee that it does not come from the Amazon rainforest which can help alleviate your conscience.

Why it’s good for the environment:

  • Made from non-amazon rubber which is more sustainable than most materials
  • Biodegradable
  • Recyclable
  • Long-Lasting

Best for Classes: Manduka eKO Lite

Pros:

Made from sustainably sourced natural-rubber
Does not absorb odors so it’s easy to clean
Ideal size and weight for transporting around

Cons:

Less padding for your knees than previous mats
Can get slippy if you sweat a lot

Next up we have Manduka’s eco-friendly yoga mat range, the eKO. Unlike their more popular Manduka Pro range which is made with PVC, the eKO range is made from natural rubber.

I’ve featured the ‘lite’ version here because at 4mm it’s ideal if you need something to carry with you such as to a yoga class, whilst still providing a good amount of padding. Unlike the previous all-natural rubber mats (Jade and Hugger Mugger), this one has a closed-cell structure. This means that it will not absorb any moisture.

There are pros and cons to this, for example, if you get really sweaty it can become slippy, however, it’s also much easier to clean and does not absorb odors.

One other thing I love about Manduka which is great for the environment is their ‘almost perfect’ range. This is where they sell off mats that don’t quite meet their manufacturing specs but are still good enough to be used. Unfortunately, the eKO line isn’t yet available via almost perfect though.

Another thing that Manduka is known for is their lifetime guarantee, however, if you look at the small print, unfortunately this doesn’t apply to the eKO series.

Why it’s good for the environment:

  • Made from non-amazon rubber which is more sustainable than most materials
  • Biodegradable
  • Recyclable
  • Durable

Best for Travel: Manduka eKO Superlite

Pros:

Made from eco-friendly natural rubber that is not from the Amazon
One of the slimmest mats around, ideal for taking on vacation
Very affordable

Cons:

Thinner mats such as this can wear more easily
Can become slippy when wet

Next up we have the Manudka eKO Superlite. I won’t go into too much detail on this mat as its credentials are fairly similar to the eKO Lite above.

However, the main difference is how easy it is to transport around. At just 1.5mm thick and weighing 1kg, it’s one of the slimmest and lightest yoga mats I’ve seen.

This means it’s super easy for taking to class and could even be rolled up to put in your hand luggage and take on vacation.

However, one thing to keep in mind with slimmer mats is that they tend to wear more easily, especially around areas where you put your hands for upward dog and near the edges.

This means that thinner mats aren’t ideal for heavy usage. I’d recommend having a mat like this for travel and a thicker mat for home or regular classes.

Why it’s good for the environment:

  • Made from non-amazon rubber which is more sustainable than most materials
  • Biodegradable
  • Recyclable
  • Durable

Best for Grip: Lululemon Reversible (Textured)

Pros:

Textured surface is super grippy for holding difficult poses with ease
Open cell structure makes it very well cushioned
Biodegradable and recyclable

Cons:

Polyurethane comes from a non-renewable source
Can absorb odors easily

If you’re after a really good grip, I recommend the eco-friendly lululemon reversible mat with the textured top. It provides good traction, even whilst wet.

The lululemon at is made from a natural rubber base with a polyurethane surface. Similar to the Manduka eKO, the Lululemon mats have an open-cell design so that they can absorb some sweat and still maintain a positive experience.

However, Lululemon have also used an antimicrobial additive that prevents the growth of mold, bacteria, and fungi which can be a problem with open-cell mats if not kept clean.

As mentioned before, natural rubber is a sustainable material, so what about polyurethane?

Well, although not technically a plastic, polyurethane is a polymer so it is derived from oil which is a non-sustainable source. However, it’s much more sustainable than PVC as it can biodegrade in landfills as outlined in this report from Imperial College London.

Aside from the product material, Lululemon seems to be an ethical manufacturer, with minimal and fully recyclable packaging and supporting organizations such as ‘Peace on Purpose’. There are also several different colors to choose from so you’ll find something to fit your mood.

A couple of things to keep in mind are that the mat has a strong smell when it first arrives, this should wear off after some use. Also, it contains latex so best avoided if this gives you a reaction.

Why it’s good for the environment:

  • The bottom layer is made from natural rubber (although the top surface is polyurethane)
  • Minimal and fully recyclable packaging

Best for Beginners: Liforme

Pros:

‘AlignForMe’ lines are great for beginners
Very durable
One of the largest mats on the market

Cons:

Top surface isn’t made from sustainable materials although the base is
Premium price

Next up we have Liforme which is one of my favorite brands for beginners, particularly due to the alignment lines on the mat but more on that in a moment.

The materials used are reasonably sustainable with a natural rubber base and a polyurethane surface similar to the Lululemon mat (see above review for description of what this is).

Liforme call it eco-polyurethane because it is biodegradable and does not release toxins although this can be said about any polyurethane. Liforme yoga mats are biodegradable and will decompose in 1-5 years in a normal landfill.

One of the big selling points about the Liforme yoga mat is the alignment lines on it. The mats go further than any others with lines to keep your hands and feet aligned and 45-degree lines to align your back heel when in standing yoga poses.

If you don’t want lines all over your mat, there’s also a paired back version with just the essential lines. Similar to the Lululemon mat, this also contains latex.

The Liforme mat only comes in one size, but at 185cm (73”), it’s one of the largest mats on the market. This means it’s suitable for tall people, or even if you’re not too tall, it ensures people don’t come too close to you in classes which can be a pain.

Why it’s good for the environment:

  • Bottom layer is made from natural rubber (although the top surface is polyurethane)
  • Comes in recyclable packaging
  • Biodegradeable

Best Cork Mat: Yoloha Original

Pros:

Cork becomes more grippy when wet so it’s ideal for hot yoga
Naturally antibacterial so doesn’t require frequent cleaning
Does not absorb any nasty odors

Cons:

Most expensive of those shared here
Not entirely made from sustainable materials

This next mat is very different from the previous ones because it’s a cork yoga mat.

The top of the mat is made from cork which comes from the bark of a cork oak tree. Unlike other wood materials, the tree is not cut down during harvesting, instead, the cork is stripped every 9 years and allowed to grow back. Cork is renewable, biodegradable, and recyclable.

The benefits of a cork yoga mat are that they become more grippy as they get wetter which makes them ideal for people who sweat a lot or hot yoga, plus they are naturally antibacterial and don’t absorb odors.

Only the top 2mm of the mat are cork, the bottom 4mm is made from TPE. Although this is more sustainable than materials such as PVC since it is biodegradable and recyclable, it is derived from non-renewable sources.

One of the benefits of TPE as a base is that it doesn’t contain latex-like all of the previous mats I’ve recommended, so this would be a good choice for anyone who has reactions to latex.

Why it’s good for the environment:

  • The top is made from cork which is a sustainable material (although the base is TPE which is not)
  • Recyclable
  • Biodegradeable

Best Rug: Hugger Mugger Cotton Yoga Rug

Pros:

The traditional way to do practice Ashtanga
Cotton is generally very sustainable
Very affordable

Cons:

Less padding than a standard yoga mat
Not as much grip (although this shouldn’t be a problem for experienced yogis)

My final recommendation is the Hugger Mugger cotton yoga rug which is made from, you guessed it, 100% cotton. This is considered to be a yoga rug rather than a yoga mat because it doesn’t have the sticky surface that mats do.

The two are very different so I’d recommend you read my guide to yoga rugs vs yoga mats for a detailed overview of the differences.

Like rubber, cotton is also a highly sustainable material because it comes from renewable sources, is biodegradable, and can be recycled.

Like all materials, cotton has its downsides. The cotton used here isn’t organic so pesticides may be used and the crops can use significant water resources in the countries where it is grown.

Unlike the yoga mats shared earlier, yoga rugs such as this do not provide as much grip or padding for your knees. However, they can make it easier to scoot your feet across the floor during movements.

Yoga rugs are a more traditional choice since they were used long before sticky mats were invented and their cotton material makes you feel closer to nature.

Why it’s good for the environment:

  • Cotton is a sustainable material
  • Recyclable
  • Biodegradeable

Comparison Table

MatJade harmonyHugger MuggerManduka eKO LiteManduka eKO SuperliteLululemon Reversible (Textured)LiformeYoloha OriginalHugger Mugger Cotton Rug
LengthS: 173cm (68”)
L: 180cm (71”)
178cm (70”)180cm (71”)180cm (71”)180 (71”)185cm (73”)S: 183cm (72")
L: 203cm (80")
(74”)
Width61cm (24”)61cm (24”)61cm (24”)61cm (24”)66cm (26”)68cm (27”)66cm (26”)71cm (28”)
Weight1.95kg (4.3 lbs)3kg (6.6lbs)2.25kg (5lbs)1kg (2.2lbs)2.38 kg (5.24 lbs)2.5kg (5.5lbs)1.1kg (2.5lbs)1.3kg (2.8lbs)
Thickness4.75mm6mm4mm1.5mm5mm4.2mm6mm3mm
MaterialNatural rubberNatural RubberNatural rubberNatural rubberRubber base with polyurethane topRubber base and polyurethaneTPE base and cork topCotton
Price$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$
Where to BuyAmazonAmazonAmazonAmazonLululemonAmazonAmazonAmazon