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.
Have something to add? Please let us know. We'll continue to add to this list as we learn more.
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
Natural Rubber - Open Cell Natural Rubber
excellent traction - even when wet
higher cushioning factor
TPE - Thermal Plastic Elastomer (foam)
NO toxic materials during manufacturing
NO heavy metals
made primarily of carbon & hydrogen
NO latex or rubber
closed cell foam construction (no absorption of fluids - easier to keep clean)