I loved being on A Healthy You with Carol Alt last week. It makes me a little crazy that most people practice yoga for their health, but very few people think about what their yoga mats are made of. Carol, however, did wonder if her mat was bad for her.
In fact, it probably was. Most yoga mats – even some of the most expensive ones on the market – are still made with PVC (a carcinogen) and contain phthalates (which have been banned in toys due to adverse health effects since 2008). The best way to avoid PVC, phthalates and other nasty chemicals when you practice yoga is to use a natural mat, so Carol invited me on her show to talk about some of the natural options out there.
We looked at four mats:
(1) Cotton: A very soft mat made of and stuffed with cotton. This mat is very comfortable and great for meditation and floor poses. It can also be rolled up to be used as a bolster.
(2) Rice straw: This was a beautifully woven mat that might remind you of one of those straw beach mats. Again a great mat for meditation and floor poses.
(3) Latex: This mat was made with latex tapped from a rubber tree. It was more like a traditional yoga mat that you might see in your yoga class – with nice grip and cushion, so it would be appropriate for a wider range of yoga poses.
(4) Rubber: This mat from Jade is made with natural rubber from a rubber tree. Unlike the latex mats, it does not have the latex proteins that cause problems for people with allergies. The Jade Rubber mat has great grip and cushion, is made in the US and Jade plants a tree with every mat sold.
The Jade mat was recently named Editors Choice by Outdoor Gear Lab and Best Fitness Product of 2014 by Vegan Health and Fitness Magazine, but all four of these mats get you away from PVC and phthalates and into natural products. And, if you are practicing yoga for your health, wouldn’t it make sense to have a mat that doesn’t contain dangerous chemicals?
By: Dean Jerrehian
JadeYoga, a division of Jade Industries, Inc.