Buying a new yoga mat

When I first started practicing yoga, it was exclusively in places where mats were provided. I never thought I needed my own mat, but one day I got stuck with a stinky one for a 75-minute class. Yuck.

I got my first mat for Christmas, as a gift from my parents. I was so excited!!

I love this picture - I look thrilled and Izzy looks confused.

When I started YogaFit training (nine months ago), I received a new mat. My treasured pink mat was relegated to “spare”, which I now loan to students in my private classes. I use my YogaFit mat exclusively, and it’s already flaking like crazy. Flaking isn’t a huge deal to me – my dog Rocky sheds a lot anyway, and the mat bits just come off when I lint roll my yoga clothes. But I think I spend enough time on the mat to justify buying one for the first time.

There are two big things to consider when purchasing a new mat.

First: how are you going to reuse your old one? Throwing it away means it will take a bajillion years to degrade in a landfill – if it ever does. Luckily, I have all sorts of yoga plans in my future which means I will be hanging on to both of my old mats for the time being. I know they will come in handy some day.

Second: what is most important to you when it comes to a mat? Stickiness? Attractiveness? Size? Brand? Price? Since this is the first time I get to research my own purchase, I’m taking the task very seriously. I’ve decided my two most important qualities are 1) Eco-Friendliness and 2) Stickiness. I want to make sure new my mat is made in the least harmful way possible, and I want it to actually stick to the floor. Otherwise, I won’t use it and no matter how Eco-Friendly it is, it’s wasteful if it sits in the corner.

Eco Yogini has written a lot about buying an eco-friendly yoga mat: here, here, and this post about ways to re-use your mat. The most important thing I’ve found is that just because a mat says it’s eco-friendly, doesn’t make it so. Some eco-friendly mats still use TPE (Thermal Plastic Elastomer), which we have reason to be wary of (check my links to EcoYogini for more).

The mat I am currently considering is prAna’s Natural Yoga Mat. It’s made of rubber, which is more sustainable than man-made plastic. prAna is famous for their Revolution Natural Sticky Mat, but it’s so large that I just can’t bring myself to buy it. I teach in relatively tight quarters twice a week and there’s just no room for it! The Natural Yoga Mat seems to be my best choice.

What decisions go into your yoga mat purchases? Do you have a Natural Yoga Mat by prAna? Any mat brands to avoid?

PS- more ways to reuse your mat here, here, here, here, and here. Now you have no excuses! : )

Namaste,
Jamie

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6 responses to “Buying a new yoga mat

  1. I have two yoga mats: the first one I bought from my first teacher who was selling them, and I still have it, I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to let go off it ;-)

    I bought the second one online a couple of years ago, I went for a thicker and a bit longer one then, and it’s possible to recycle it. I had the same criteria as you actually!

    I still use them both, the first one is in the living room, where I practice a little in the morning, so I don’t wake Lovely Boyfriend up. The second one is in the room I call the “whatever room”, which has become overtime my own private yoga studio but is next to the bedroom. When I go away on workshops or retreat, I’ll take either one or the other, no preference here.

    • I got my yoga mat cheap at BravadaWomen.com, they have the nicest and soft yoga clothes too! Love cute colors and styles :) Will keep my own yoga mat always (no sweat from others). Amy

  2. My first yoga mat was a cheap pvc one from target. I hated it, and was slipping all the time! I did some research and found a company called Jade. They make all natural yoga mats and plant a tree for every mat sold. I quickly purchased it and received it within a few days. I love it! No slip, great color. Exactly what I wanted!

    It did have a strong smell at first but it quickly went away.

  3. Rebel Road Sister- I have heard good things about Jade. I think I want to stick with prAna for now, but thanks for addressing the smell. I’m a little worried that with a rubber mat I’ll be constantly thinking of tires while I practice… : )

  4. Jaime,

    We are glad that you are considering a prAna mat. There are so many mats on the market that your kind words are important to us. We would like to offer you a discount on your mat if you are interested. Please contact me at the email provided if you have not already purchased your Natural Yoga Mat .

    Cheers!

  5. YAY!!! a new eco-mat. Sorry i’m late here (how come I didn’t know you switched url?? lol).

    I agree about the size thing. I love my new prana mat- but wow it’s a hummer haha.

    you’ll find something that works best for you. two of my friends have jade mats- the VERY important thing about rubber mats is letting them air out for at least 48 hours. at least.

    I hung mine on a chair for about three days. make sure it’s inside though, as rubber doesn’t like the sun… :)

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