I’ve been a full-time yoga teacher for more than 10 years — yoga mats have come a long way in that time! In this guide I pick the best eco friendly yoga mats and help you choose the right mat for your practice.
What’s in our guide to eco friendly yoga mats?
1. Suga Recycled Yoga Mats
2. Yoga Design Lab Mats
3. Yoloha Cork Yoga Mats
4. JadeYoga Natural Rubber Yoga Mats
5. Manduka Eco Friendly Yoga Mats
6. Liforme Eco Yoga Mats
7. lululemon athletica Yoga Mats
8. Why Not Buy Cheap Yoga Mats?
9. My Favourite Eco Friendly Yoga Mat
Students are always asking me what yoga mat I use.
Because I’m a full-time travelling yoga teacher, I travel with the Jade Voyager travel mat. But, unless you travel full-time like I do, you’ll probably want to invest in a thicker mat that you can use at home and in the yoga studio.
(Don’t miss: My recommendations of the best travel yoga mats to take on your adventures) →
You CAN practice yoga on any mat (or with no mat), but a good mat of your own can make a huge difference to your practice.
To me, owning your own yoga mat is about taking ownership of your own practice. Plus, only your own sweaty hands and feet touch it, so that’s way better than the “washed once a year” mat the studio might provide.
A good yoga mat is:
- Environmentally friendly
- Comfortable and sticky
- Durable and hard-wearing
- Ethically made
For this post, I’ve picked the best eco friendly yoga mats and then rated them on the criteria above. I feel totally confident recommending any of them — I think these are the best eco yoga mats available today.
Actually, scratch that. These are the best yoga mats in 2019.
However, they are not all equal nor is the same mat right for everyone.
So if you’re looking for an ethical yoga mat, read the reviews and pick the one that is best-suited to your needs and your practice!
At the end of this post, I reveal which mat I would buy if I was buying one today. Skip ahead to see my favourite eco yoga mat!
The Best Eco Friendly Yoga Mats to Energize Your Practice
Also, don’t miss these posts:
Suga Yoga Mats
SugaMat, 2.27 kg (5 lb), 5 mm thick, $79
Best mat for surfer yogis
This mat is new to our list in 2019 and though I haven’t had a chance to try it yet, reviews are overwhelmingly positive.
Using old non-recyclable non-biodegradable wetsuits as their manufacturing material, Suga takes what would otherwise be waste and turns it into yoga mats. We love this idea and the fact that you can recycle your Suga mat at the end of its life, too.
Mat stickiness & comfort
The 5mm Suga is thicker than a lot of yoga mats — it’s closer in density to Manduka or Lululemon mats and less squishy than a mat you might borrow at your local yoga studio.
A dense mat is great, because it gives you a firm base to really ground yourself in your standing poses and arm balances. It’s also less likely to cause wrist pain than a squishy mat. However, the density also makes it feel harder than the mats you might have used before.
As for stickiness, Suga prides itself on their design, claiming “they perform better than any mat on the market”, both wet and dry.
Suga offers a C2G option, which means “cradle to grave”; for a little extra cash they guarantee you a mat for life. If your mat ever wears out, send it to the company and they send you a brand new one. That indicates to me that the Suga team is very confident about the durability of their mats — no cheap yoga mat manufacturer would make that promise!
Find out More and Buy the Suga Yoga Mat
Yoga Design Lab
Combo Mat, 1.86 kg (4.1 lb), 3 mm thick, $68
Best mat for hot & sweaty yogis
This is another company we have to give props to for not only being environmentally aware, but actively using waste material in their manufacturing process. The cushiony base of the mats are made from natural tree rubber, while the soft upper layer is recycled plastic water bottles! I’m always impressed when manufacturers go the extra mile to actually remove waste from the environment and put it to good use.
Mat stickiness & comfort
Aside from being one of the most beautiful yoga mats on the market today, the Yoga Design Lab mats are soft and almost slightly fuzzy. While this doesn’t make for a very sticky mat if your hands and feet are dry, it’s perfect for hot yoga (or for super-sweaty yogis). The wetter the mat gets, the grippier it gets. It’s also absorbent, so you don’t need a yoga towel. As a bonus, the mat can be thrown in the washing machine, so all that sweat is easily washed away.
The Combo Mat provides a nice layer of padding which is not as hard as Lululemon or Manduka mats, but not as soft and squishy as JadeYoga mats. If you like a firm base beneath you but also have sensitive knees and spine, this might be the ideal balance.
We haven’t had our Yoga Design Lab mats long enough to know how durable they’ll be. However, so far, the mats seem pretty tough — albeit it’s doubtful they’re as tough as the PVC Manduka mats or the neoprene Suga mats.
Check Reviews & Buy the Yoga Design Lab Combo Mat
Yoloha Cork Yoga Mats
Yoloha Aura Yoga Mat, 1.27 kg (2.8 lb), 6 mm thick, $79
Yoloha Native Yoga Mat, 1.8 kg (4 lb), 5mm, $139
Best natural yoga mat
Cork yoga mats are super on-trend for 2019. Cork is the bark from cork trees and is harvested by hand, allowing the trees to live for hundreds of years. That makes it an environmentally friendly and renewable resource, so if you’re looking for the best sustainable yoga mat, this might be the one.
The Yoloha team takes their commitment to the environment one step further by making sure all their shipments are made in recycled or recyclable cardboard and paper — no single-use plastic is involved. So, if your goal is to get a plastic-free yoga mat, look into Yoloha.
Mat stickiness & comfort
This is another new mat on our list, and another I haven’t had a chance to try. However, from all reports, cork is the ultimate when it comes to stickiness, performing well in both wet and dry situations.
Though these mats have a deceptively smooth surface, they are ultra-absorbent and no slip, according to lots of rave reviews. As a bonus, cork is naturally anti-microbial, meaning you can stop worrying about what’s breeding in your mat!
If you’re looking for a super-cushiony cork yoga mat, choose the Yoloha Aura, which is Yoloha’s thickest mat.
They make floors out of cork. If that’s not enough said, then here’s a little more. If you’re naturally hard on yoga mats then choose the Yoloha Native Yoga Mat, which is a blend of recycled cork and recycled rubber. This makes it super-tough — but also keeps it lighter than many of the other toughest mats out there.
Check Reviews & Buy Yoloha Cork Yoga Mats
JadeYoga Natural Rubber Yoga Mat
Jade Harmony Yoga Mat, 1.8kg, 4.7mm, $80
Best mat for beginning yogis
This is the original eco yoga mat. JadeYoga makes all their mats from natural rubber, a renewable resource that contains no PVC, EVA, heavy metals, or synthetic rubber. These are non-plastic yoga mats and might be the best natural rubber yoga mats available.
If you want the best natural yoga mat, JadeYoga’s mats are a great choice.
Mat stickiness & comfort
JadeYoga mats are soft and sticky right from the start. They are made from natural rubber and feel very different from a PVC mat — there is a little less support there but they’re also more forgiving to the touch. If you have serious issues with pain when making contact with the ground, the Jade Harmony might not provide enough cushioning for you. But for most yogis, it offers a nice balance between cushioning and connection to the ground.
The Jade Harmony comes in three lengths — 68, 71, & 74 inches — so if you need a long yoga mat you’re in luck.
My very first mat was a Jade mat and though I loved it at first, it wore out within a year. That was almost a decade ago though. Current students who practice on the mat tell me that it is tougher now. You might want to steer clear if you are very rough on your mat or if you practice a LOT, but for a lighter touch, the Jade Harmony makes a great mat.
It’s also a great beginner yoga mat, since it’s less expensive than the other mats I recommend.
Where to Buy Jade Yoga Mats
(Don’t miss: Our picks of the best eco retreats to restore your mojo) →
Manduka Yoga Mats
Manduka PRO, 3.6kg, 6mm, $110
Manduka PROlite, 1.8kg, 4.7mm, $80
Best yoga mat for extra comfort
Manduka are fairly open about their environmental efforts and have showed a dedication to consistently improving their line of environmentally friendly yoga mats.
Manduka now manufactures all their PRO mats with an emissions-free process. (Their other mats are made in a zero-waste facility while the LiveOn beginners yoga mat is recyclable).
The PRO mats are made from the high quality PVC and guaranteed for life.
Manduka admits that in general PVC is not environmentally friendly, as it seeps toxins into landfills. However, they strive to limit the toxins (there will always be some residual toxins, heavy metals specifically, but they are phthalate-free and latex-free).
Mat stickiness & comfort
The Manduka PRO is an extra thick yoga mat, so is very cushiony. If you have lots of bony bits that stick out, or sensitive knees, the PRO is a good choice for comfort. It is also stable and non-stretchy which helps when you’re trying to really root down with your hands or feet.
If you want a grippy, non slip yoga mat, the Manduka PRO is a good one to consider.
Manduka states that because the Manduka PRO is guaranteed for life, you can donate it to someone who can’t afford a mat or to your local studio should you want to buy a new mat. But there is a downside. The PRO is so rugged that if it does end up in landfill, where a lot of mats go to die, it will take eons to decompose. In my opinion that’s not ideal.
Manduka offers an extra long yoga mat option, too. At 85 inches it’s perfect for you super tall yogis out there!
Where to Buy Manduka Yoga Mats
(Did you know? You can get 30 days of free online yoga at Yogaia + Manduka where Stephen is a teacher) →
Liforme Yoga Mat
Liforme Yoga Mat, 2.5kg, 4.2mm, $150
Best mat for alignment junkies
Before launching their revolutionary ethical yoga mat onto the world, Liforme did years of research into the best practices, and sourcing the best materials. They created close partnerships with manufacturers and created one of the most environmentally friendly yoga mats on the market.
“The main thing is the biodegradability of the mat and the issues with certain other mats. For me, this is the single biggest ‘ethical con’ out there. Those very heavy duty PVC materials, apart from being potentially harmful, take far too long to degrade when they end up (as they inevitably will) in landfills,” Liforme founder James Armitage told me.
Liforme is certainly producing some of the best high-performance biodegradable yoga mats out there.
Mat stickiness & comfort
I love the feel and stickiness of the Liforme mat. It’s comfortable, forgiving, and the surface just feels good under my hands and feet. It is a totally no slip yoga mat and doesn’t take any time to wear in — it’s sticky right from the start.
Plus, the patterns printed on the surface of the mat are a huge help with alignment. I really love the ability to see so clearly how my hands and feet line up. Practicing on this mat is a great experience all around.
If you need a big yoga mat, the Liforme Yoga Mat is a little bigger than most, at 73 inches long and 27 inches wide.
There’s a fine balance when it comes to mat durability. You want it to last for several years of practice, because buying a new mat frequently causes extra manufacturing waste and more landfill. However, you don’t want it to exist long after humans have left the planet.
The company was very responsive when I reached out to them to ask about their mats.
“We are proud of how durable the material is, even though they are clearly not meant to last a lifetime. That should be a selling point, not the other way round. Once discarded, all the materials we use in our Liforme mat will degrade within a few years in normal soil conditions,” Liforme founder James Armitage told me.
P.S. Lots of people think it’s called the Lifeform yoga mat, but that’s putting the “e” in the wrong place!
Check Reviews & Buy the Liforme Yoga Mat
(Don’t miss: Our guide to the best destinations for yoga travel) →
lululemon athletica Yoga Mat
Though I used to recommend lululemon yoga mats and still really love how they feel to practice on, I can’t in good conscience continue to recommend them. Lululemon is not very open about their environmental record and I suspect there’s a reason for that — so if you’re looking for a truly eco friendly yoga mat, skip lululemon and explore the other mats on this list.
Why Not Buy Cheap Yoga Mats?
The $5-15 mat at your local TK / TJ Maxx / Winners or other discount retailer is always an option if you’re on a tight budget. These mats are usually made of cheap, questionable material, so keep that in mind. You’ll be putting your bare skin on the mat several times a week, so you don’t want it to be made with toxic material.
Keep in mind, too, that cheap mats start to disintegrate really quickly, so the money you “save” initially will likely get sucked up by buying new mats every few months.
And of course, the harm to the environment from this kind of “disposable” mat is terrible.
And my Favourite Eco Friendly Yoga Mat is…
If money and weight weren’t deciding factors for me, the Liforme Yoga Mat would be my mat of choice right now.
Every time I have tried out a Liforme yoga mat I have found it really supportive. I feel stable, yet mobile, the mat is sticky, and the alignment lines are a great idea. Plus the work the company has done to create the most environmentally and ethically sound mat they can is fantastic. I would love to practice on this every day.
If you decide to invest in this mat, I hope you love it as much as I do.
(Don’t miss: If you need a travel yoga mat, check out my favourites →)
Just one final reminder. No matter what mat you use, the important thing is to practice. Even the best mat won’t help you if it stays rolled up in the corner of your living room. Plus, a mat you buy and never use is the least eco-friendly option of all!
So unroll your mat, stop, drop, and yoga!
I hope this guide helps you choose the best eco friendly yoga mat for your practice. If you choose one on this list or have another favourite, let us know in the comments below.
♥ Happy mindful adventures, Stephen & Jane
It’s easy to help us keep this blog going! Some of the links in this post are our personal affiliate links. If you book or buy something using one of the links in this post we’ll earn a small fee at no extra cost to you. Of course we would never recommend anything we didn’t 100% believe in! Huge thanks in advance! –S&J
Hi, I’m Stephen, full-time travelling yoga teacher & founder of Adventure Yoga. I’ve taught yoga in 25 countries and have had adventures in 50! At My Five Acres, we inspire you to live your most adventurous life and help you to travel more and more mindfully.