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Yoga Mat Materials

What are yoga mats made of?

Yoga mats are made with a wide variety of materials.  The standard sticky yoga mat is made with a PVC material, but nowadays you also have your choice of sustainable, non-toxic materials.  Unfortunately, these yoga mats are usually identified with hard-to-understand acronyms.  We have decided to list the common yoga mat materials to help define the acronym and list some of their pros and cons.

PVC - Polyvinyl Chloride

  • environmental toxin/toxic plastic/carcinogen
  • dioxins/carcinogens (by-products during manufacturing)
  • plasticizers (to make elastic) includes lead, cadmium, phthalates.  Plasticizers offgas/leach during use.
  • when PVC burns in landfills, they release toxins
  • not recyclable

Natural Rubber

  • durable with proper care
  • excellent traction - even when wet
  • higher cushioning factor
  • biodegradeable
  • NO pvc
  • Jade Mats use Open Cell Natural Rubber
    • draws perspiration away from surface of mat
  • Manduka eKo Mats use Closed Cell Natural Rubber
    • does not allow bacteria to absorb into mat

TPE - Thermal Plastic Elastomer (foam)

  • NO toxic materials during manufacturing
  • NO pvc
  • NO heavy metals
  • made primarily of carbon & hydrogen
  • NO latex or rubber
  • closed cell foam construction (no absorption of fluids - easier to keep clean)
  • lightweight mats

PER - Polymer Environmental Resin

  • NO phthalates
  • NO heavy metals
  • NO latex
  • NO toxic materials during manufacturing
  • NO dioxins, furans, phenal
  • method of production is non-toxic
  • static free and restitant to mildew

NBR - Nitrile Butadiene Rubber (buna-N)

  • NO phthalates
  • NO heavy metals
  • NO pvc
  • non-slip
  • no smell (need to try to verify this statement)

EVA - Ethylene Vinyl Acetate

  • high bouncing
  • biodegradeable
  • recyclable
  • non-toxic
  • NO phthalates
  • skidproof / sticky
  • lightweight mats
  • NOTE:  we have foam rollers and yoga blocks made of EVA foam


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