10 Best Eco Yoga Mats to Energize Your Practice [Nov 2019 Update]

These sustainable yoga mats are the best and environmentally friendly, too!

eco friendly yoga mats

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.

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could try out a bunch of different yoga mats before we commit to one?

Lucky for me, I’ve had a chance to do just that.

For that last 6 years, as I’ve travelled the world to teach yoga, I’ve visited about a hundred studios. In that time, I’ve had a chance to try out a:ll kinds of yoga mats, including thick cork mats, natural rubber mats, mats with fancy designs printed on them — not to mention my share of cheap mats that were falling apart.

Adventure Yoga Stephen Ewashkiw

Sometimes a yoga mat is not at all necessary; sometimes it is really nice to have one.

In this post, I’ll share what I’ve learned from:

  1. Trying all these mats.
  2. Talking to students and fellow teachers about their yoga mats
  3. Emailing with many of the most popular yoga mat manufacturers.

I’ll answer your questions about choosing the right yoga mat for your practice and share my thoughts on the best eco friendly yoga mats available right now. I also discuss a few popular mats that I encourage students to stay away from.

And if you’re wondering which yoga mat I use, don’t miss my post on the best yoga mats for travel, in which I put a range of travel yoga mats to the test and pick my favs.

You’ll also want to check our recommendations for the best yoga travel destinations in the world or find out more about Adventure Yoga, my very own style of yoga!

So read on for the…

9 Best Eco-Friendly Yoga Mats to Energize Your Practice

Our 3 Favourite Eco Yoga Mats
Stephen’s pickLiforme Yoga Mat
Best budget yoga matJade Harmony Yoga Mat
Best for hot yogaYoga Design Lab Combo Mat

Do You Even Need Your Own Yoga Mat?

You CAN practice yoga on any mat or with no mat at all. I have spent plenty of hours practicing on grass, on the beach, and on cold, hard hotel room floors.

When you’re just starting out, it’s a good idea to use the mats provided at your local studio, until you figure out what part yoga is going to play in your life.

Once you know that you want to practice regularly, a good mat of your own can make a huge difference to your practice.

To me, owning your own good quality yoga mat is about taking ownership of your own practice. Your yoga mat becomes a safe space where you can be fully engaged in developing your practice and yourself.

(Plus, it’s nice knowing that only your own sweaty hands and feet have touched it!)

So, while you don’t really need your own yoga mat, if you can afford one, it can make the difference between truly committing to your yoga practice and giving up after the first few months.

stephen doing yoga on the beach in germany

You can practice without a yoga mat but there’s something special about rolling out your own mat to practice on.

What Should You Look for in a Yoga Mat?

There are a few criteria that I look for when I’m trying out yoga mats. For this post, I’ve picked the best eco yoga mats based on these. I feel totally confident recommending any of them — if I was buying a yoga mat today, I would be happy with any on this list.

A good yoga mat is:

1. Environmentally friendly

As yogis, we should always be conscious of how the things we buy affect the planet and the people around us. Yes, your practice is for yourself, but it should also be about how you engage with the world. Choosing an eco friendly yoga mat is the first step in feeling good about your purchases and your yoga practice.

2. Comfortable and sticky

Depending on how often you practice, you could end up spending a lot of time on your yoga mat. Because of that, it’s important that the surface feels comfortable when you touch it with your bare skin. For most kinds of yoga, you’ll also want a sticky surface that helps keep you in place when you’re doing wide-legged poses, arm balances, and other balancing poses.

3. Durable and hard-wearing

How eco-friendly is a yoga mat that wears out after a year of practicing? If you have to replace your mat frequently, you’ll be adding to the environmental cost of manufacturing and to landfill as well.

Picking a mat that’s going to last will help you reduce your yoga mat’s carbon footprint. It also gives you a chance to really get comfortable on your mat — until it’s like a comfy sweatshirt that you’ll want to use again and again.

4. Ethically made

I do my best to only buy items that come from ethical, socially responsible companies. All of the mat manufacturers on this list have programs designed to give back something to the communities they operate in or to support yoga programs around the world.

Suga Yoga Mats

Best mat for surfer yogis
SugaMat, 2.27 kg (5 lb), 5 mm thick

eco friendly yoga mat suga

The Suga yoga mat is made from recycled wetsuits, reducing the waste that hits landills and putting it to use.

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.

Environmental impact

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.

Durability

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!

Check Prices & Reviews →

Yoga Design Lab

Best mat for hot & sweaty yogis
Yoga Design Lab Combo Mat, 1.86 kg (4.1 lb), 3 mm thick

yoga design lab gold eco friendly yoga mat

Part recycled water bottles, part natural rubber, Yoga Design Lab mats are all beautiful.

Environmental impact

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.

Durability

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.

For more details on Yoga Design Lab’s range of mats, don’t miss our in-depth review.

Check Prices & Reviews →

UK & EU readers check prices here →

Yoloha Cork Yoga Mats

Best natural yoga mat
Yoloha Aura Yoga Mat, 1.27 kg (2.8 lb), 6 mm thick
Yoloha Native Yoga Mat, 1.8 kg (4 lb), 5mm

eco friendly yoga mat suga

Uncork your potential on a super sticky, renewable cork yoga mat from Yoloha.

Environmental impact

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.

Durability

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 Prices & Reviews →

JadeYoga Natural Rubber Yoga Mat

Best mat for beginners and budgets
Jade Harmony Yoga Mat, 1.8kg, 4.7mm

green and blue jade harmony yoga mats

JadeYoga is an environmentally friendly yoga mat pioneer and their mats are still some of the best.

Environmental impact

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.

Durability

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.

Check Prices & Reviews →

UK & EU readers check prices here →

JURU Cork Yoga Mat

Best mat for the all-natural crowd
Mandala Cork Yoga Mat, 2.5 kg (5.5 lb), 3 mm thick

juru eco friendly cork yoga mat

The cork yoga mat from JURU is made with sustainable cork from Portugal.

Environmental impact

The cork for these mats is sourced from Portugal without cutting down trees and Juru also incorporates natural rubber sap from Kerala. As a bonus, cork is naturally antimicrobial so it kills any germs that might get on it.

JURU also works to provide a safe and healthy environment for their employees, provide one month of holidays for festivities for their staff, and ensure comfortable work conditions when the heat gets excessive (as it regularly does in India). We approve!

Mat stickiness & comfort

When I was teaching yoga at the Four Seasons in Bali (I just love saying that) I got to use the JURU Mandala Cork Yoga Mat and loved practicing on it.

I found the grip to be just right for me, it doesn’t slip on the studio floor, and it provides the perfect amount of protection from for my ageing knees. But it’s not too soft, which means it provides a solid enough practice surface that my wrists don’t hurt after doing lots of arm balances. Win win!

Durability

The JURU cork mat seems really solid and it would take some doing to destroy one of these. I have washed them with water and hung them to dry in the intense Bali heat and they come out looking new again.

The company believes in their mat so much that it comes with a lifetime guarantee.

JURU provides free shipping in India, so it’s ideal for any Indian yogis looking for an eco-friendly mat.

Check Prices & Reviews →

Manduka Yoga Mats

Best yoga mat for extra comfort
Manduka PRO, 3.6kg, 6mm
Manduka PROlite, 1.8kg, 4.7mm

green blue and brown yoga mats by manduka

Manduka’s eco yoga mats offer lots of support for yogis who want extra cushioning.

Environmental impact

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.

Durability

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!

Check Prices & Reviews →

Liforme Yoga Mat

Best mat for alignment junkies
Liforme Yoga Mat, 2.5kg, 4.2mm

woman doing yoga on a pink liforme yoga mat

This is the yoga mat I would use every day if I could.

Environmental impact

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.

Durability

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 Prices & Reviews →

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.

cheap yoga mat

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…

Our 3 Favourite Eco Yoga Mats
Stephen’s pickLiforme Yoga Mat
Best budget yoga matJade Harmony Yoga Mat
Best for hot yogaYoga Design Lab Combo Mat

If money and weight weren’t deciding factors for me, the Liforme Yoga Mat would be my mat of choice right now.

woman doing yoga on a pink liforme yoga mat

This is the yoga mat I would use every day if I could.

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.

Buy the Liforme Yoga Mat →

A Final Reminder About Eco Friendly Yoga Mats

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

Find the eco friendly yoga mat that's right for your practice. I'm a full-time travelling yoga teacher and recommend my favourites. Click to find yours. #yoga #yogamats #ecofriendly #mindful #myfiveacres

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12 comments

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  3. Comment by Ajay Verma

    Ajay Verma November 11, 2018 at 9:40 am

    Wow! the mats look really very classy and as I like to be fit I would like to purchase one for me and would also like to suggest it to my friends. Keep posting such helpful articles.

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  6. Comment by Olivia Morris

    Olivia Morris October 23, 2018 at 5:30 am

    Thanks for the blog. This definitely helped me to choose a perfect yoga mat.

  7. Comment by Shilpa

    Shilpa June 28, 2018 at 12:16 am

    Hi, Nice post. Thanks for sharing with us. I suggest you should try eco-friendly mat that is made up of with jute and natural rubber i.e. JURU yoga mat. This is organic substance and good for health.

  8. Comment by yogamats

    yogamats May 23, 2018 at 12:50 am

    Thank you for sharing such an informative post about Yoga Mats…..

    At Gravolite we also offers Yoga Mats at very affordable prices. For more info you can also visit:- http:- http://www.yogamatsindia.com/ OR call us at toll-free no : 8010991166.

  9. Comment by visik kumar

    visik kumar May 16, 2018 at 2:28 am

    Thanks For Blog Informastion

    Yoga Mats Wholesaler in India is a Sanskrit word which prefer to the practice of spiritual meditation exercise for full development of human body and this practice needs anti-skid surface / Yoga Mats. We are yoga mats wholesaler, supplier, manufacturer and exporter in all over India. For more details visit yogamatsindia.com

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