Yoga Mat is the one thing every yogi needs to perform their yoga workout. The material and quality of a yoga mat may determine the comfort and ease of practice, as well as one’s safety. Hence, we shall talk about what material is yoga mat made of.
Yoga mat is considered as an important part of yoga exercise for its function to offer cushioning for yoga practitioners when they pose on the floor. It is a common saying that proper preparation will lead to a better outcome and choosing the right yoga mat is no exception.
What is yoga mat?
Before we get into the different yoga mat materials, it is best if you first understand what is a yoga mat. Yoga mats are textured mats, whether synthetic or natural rubber, cotton or hemp, or fiber, that are used for practicing yoga.
They are generally dense in nature and are made up of biodegradable materials. This is the reason why they generally do not cause any harm to the environment when they are discarded, except those toxic and chemical rubbers or rubber-like, which did not undergo much quality control.
Yoga’s Popularity and the need for Cushion
Yoga is a popular activity across the world and a critical component of many people’s fitness routine. Yoga involves poses or postures that help practitioners increase flexibility, build strength and sometimes improve balance.
However, it is helpful to have a specific place to practice those poses because you need something like yoga mat. A yoga mat is a piece of padding used during the yoga practice.
It provides comfort, grip, cushioning and insulation too while doing various asanas. This article gives all insight into information related to what are yoga mats made of.
The Task of Buying Yoga Mat
Buying Yoga mat may be a meticulous task as one has to search a lot of shops to get the best deal. Even after getting it home, you might feel it is not worth what you’ve purchased. We shall provide you with the right information right here and now.
There are many different types and styles of yoga mats that have different uses, so knowing what your mat should be made of will be beneficial to your yoga practice. Yoga mats can be made from a variety of materials.
What material is yoga mat made of?
A variety of materials such as PVC, TPE, natural rubber, jute and cotton can be utilized to make yoga mats. The main idea behind these kinds of mats is that they are breathable, soaking up sweat, and supplying a non-slip surface.
Thus, we will dive into the world’s most popular yoga mats and see what you should look for when deciding on your next yoga mat.
Materials Yoga Mat are Made of, Among Others
The main purpose of the yoga mat is to protect your body from the floor and provide you with a good grip so you don’t slip during a pose. The top layer will provide this non-slip surface as well as cushioning between your body and the hard floor.
Material choices in yoga mats are based primarily on personal preference and type of surface being used. These mats come in a variety of textures, thicknesses, and materials.
Consequently, it is much better for us yogis or yoga practitioner to know what kind of yoga mat we are using for our workout.
PVC or Polyvinyl Chloride
Yoga mats made from either PVC or Polyvinyl chloride are called PVC mats. They have been the standard for manufacturers of yoga mat for quite a long time now. Flexibility, durability, and sustainability make PVC yoga mats an excellent option.
Although there are other raw yoga materials that are being used today, still, PVC mats share the pie of the market, as they are less expensive. This is the sticky, synthetic plastic material.
This type of yoga mat is popular among yoga studios and teachers because of its availability in colors and affordable cost. he PVC-based mats are commonly 1/8 inch (3 mm) or 5 mm thick, but can range up to three inches thick for comfort.
PVC mats are generally the most economical. As it is a synthetic material, yoga mats made of PVC are soft, durable, and lightweight. Nevertheless, PVC poses a threat to the environment because of the harmful wastes in its production stage. PVC is also non-biodegradable material.
|Low Cost and economical||Toxic|
|Flexible and durable||Non-biodegradable|
Plastic Elastomers or Thermoplastic Elastomers [TPE]
Yoga mats are typically made of Plastic elastomers (TPE). This is a natural or synthetic chemical that have properties combining properties of both plastics and rubbers. These products are generally heat-resistant and flexible, although some can become brittle in cold weather.
Their ability to withstand high temperatures makes them ideal for tasks like lining baking sheets in restaurants, where the heat-resistance prevents the utensils from melting onto the sheet.
As a material for the production of yoga mats, thermoplastic elastomers (TPE) is a class of copolymers or a physical mix of polymers (usually a plastic and a rubber) that consist of materials with both thermoplastic and elastomeric properties.
Thermoplastic Elastomers are a copolymer that is made from styrene-butadiene, ethylene-propylene and several types of other materials. These elastomers have properties of both thermoplastic and rubber with good wear resistance and outstanding thermal stability.-Yogkitgymfitness
They are typically soft, flexible, and elastic. These are also enough characteristics necessary to produce this exercise accessories called yoga mats. By nature, TPEs are thermoplastic materials that are made to imitate rubber-like items in their appearance, elasticity, and feel.
Studies have found TPE’s to have good hygienic qualities and biocompatibility, making them popular with both manufacturers and consumers of yoga mats. Such materials offer a lightweight feel.
Thermoplastic Elastomer (TPE) Mats are made from Polyethylene Foam and PVC from an outside plastic. It makes up 95% of the mat, but only acts as the cushion and does not wear out like rubber would. This specially formulated design of TPE is lightweight for easy carrying yet durable to provide a high-quality product. These yoga mats offer comfort, durability and maximum conductivity for consistent practice.-Yogkitgymfitness
|Good hygienic qualities||Low tensile strength|
|Better biocompatibility||Vulnerable to heat and direct sunlight|
|Lightweight||Indoor use preference|
|Durable and Flexible||Expensive than PVC|
Natural rubber is, likewise, used for high quality yoga mats. They can be skid-proof, but adheres better to the skin in most cases. Natural rubber is a biodegradable material that is mostly recyclable and biodegradable. However, it tends to be less durable than plastic.
Natural rubbers are often harvested from trees, including rubber trees (Hevea Brasiliensis), fruit bearing trees like the Jackfruit (Artocarpus heterophyllus) and Ficus elastic tree.-Yogkitgymfitness
Natural rubber is the best material for a yoga mat and most other exercise mats. It has been known for years for its quality. Recently, with the increase in environmental awareness and green movement, it has become very popular for that reason as well.
Consequently, natural rubber yoga mat is made from environmentally friendly and non-toxic materials. Natural rubbers are composed of polymers, elastomers, oils, resins, gums, or fatty acids derived from plants, wood or other sources.
Natural rubber, although more expensive, has the advantage of being more elastic and resistant to tearing and cracking from regular use. Natural rubber is generally considered as dense material, and it is often used in high-end yoga mats.
Yoga mats made of natural rubber have more elasticity and high energy return, allowing the feet and hands to be placed with more power in poses by turning out more easily. Rubber also absorbs vibrations well.
The disadvantage of rubber yoga mats is that they tend to be heavy and cost more than PVC or other synthetic materials. Some are thick and hard to curl.
|Skid proof, adheres better to the skin, non-toxic||Expensive|
|High-end yoga mat||Less durable than plastic|
|Resistant to tearing and cracking||Tends to be heavy|
|Elastic and biodegradable||Some are hard to curl|
Cotton and Hemp Yoga Mats
Yoga mats are one of the most important pieces of equipment for any yogi, as without a mat you cannot practice. There are multiple types of yoga mats that are made from different materials.
Cotton and Hemp Yoga mats are made of cotton and hemp fibers, which are usually natural and harmless. Such may be the best choice, indeed.
In addition, the fibers will not be bad for the body. The disadvantage may be the heavy weight of yoga mats. Hemp yoga mats should be dry when being used. Doing so, the same can last for a long time.
Similarly, hemp has an excellent moisture absorption properties, which can eliminate sweat and help keep the body temperature properly regulated during exercise.
Cotton and hemp yoga mats are 100% natural, making them a sustainable option for those who wish to buy eco-friendly mat products. While cotton is comfortable and provides a soft cushioning structure, it makes the mat heavy and bulky.
These mats also become slippery when they get wet. On the other hand, hemp material is durable but rough. It also tends to dry out quickly and can cause soreness in knees and joints. Be that as it may, these are still good eco-friendly option yoga mats.
|Natural and Toxic-free||Heavy and Bulky|
|Fibers, not bad for the body||Quickly dries out causing soreness to the knees and joints|
|Soft-cushioning structure||Slippery when they get wet|
Jute Yoga Mats
Yoga mats made of jute typically use a jute material for a natural, sustainable and durable mat. The jute naturally has anti-microbial properties and makes the ideal surface for practicing yoga.
Jute is a long, soft, shiny bast fiber that can be spun into coarse, strong threads. It is produced from flowering plants in the genus Corchorus, which is in the mallow family Malvaceae. The primary source of the fiber is Corchorus olitorius, but such fiber is considered inferior to that derived from Corchorus capsularis. “Jute” is the name of the plant or fiber used to make burlap, hessian or gunny cloth.Jute, Wikipedia-Wikipedia
Jute yoga mats are made out of natural fiber, it does not cause allergies. The sticky rug surface for yoga mats is latex-free.
These pieces of exercise accessories are strong and durable, easy to clean and wash. Dust, sweat, water and other liquids will not damage in time. They are lightweight and portable.
Jute Yoga mats are often used by people who prefer the organic feel of natural fibers. When in contact with perspiration or moisture, the fiber will not cause your body to experience static electricity.
Some jute mats have a multi-layer backing, most notably EVA [Ethylene Vinyl Acetate] foam rubber, to prevent slipping during hot yoga.
Although the jute material does not feel soft, it has good mechanical properties, so for this reason, it is an ideal type of yoga mat for practicing yoga. The disadvantages are the less durability of such mats, which will fully depend on proper care.
|Eco-friendly, easy to clean||Expensive|
|Made with natural fiber||Some jute yoga mats still has PVC or plastic|
|Perspiration friendly||Less durable|
|Does not cause allergies||Rough|
What is the best material for a yoga mat?
When you are on your mat, you want to feel comfortable, supported and grounded. If a yoga mat is too thin or too soft, your body may not have the support it needs. And if it is too hard, you will have difficulty relaxing into poses.
On the other hand, if a material is too heavy, it can cause you to sink into the mat and get off balance. So what should you look for in a yoga mat? The answer varies depending on your personal preferences and body type.
When it comes to buying a yoga mat, there are lots of options available. You will find mats made of different materials such as rubber, PVC, natural rubber and jute. As long as you can determine which material best suits your needs, you are free to buy any type of mat that you want.
Below are some worthwhile options for guidance.
The thickness of a yoga mat can range from about 1/16″ to over 1″. Some enthusiasts like extra-thick mats that add extra cushioning and stability, but these mats tend to be heavy. For most people, an average thickness of about 1/8″ will work best.
Yoga Mat Materials
Most yoga mats are made of PVC (polyvinyl chloride) or TPE (thermoplastic elastomers). These synthetic materials provide the grip needed to prevent slippage during a balancing pose and offer some cushioning in order to protect joints. They are easy to clean with soap and water.
Some people prefer natural rubber mats, jute, or cotton and hemp ones, for an environmental friendly preference. Some like it because they are high-end products.
As a starter or beginner in yoga, you may not want to put too much stress on your joints by using an extra thick and durable yoga mat. You may instead want to opt for a thinner material that will allow you to focus on the art of yoga without worrying about unnecessary pressure from your mat.
If you are likely to carry your yoga mat around with you when you go for a workout, then it would be wise to choose one that is relatively light but still tough enough for use on the ground. PVC and TPE are both durable and lightweight which makes them excellent choices for carrying around in a bag or backpack.
Yoga mats come in different styles and colors. If you want to make a fashion statement with your gear, then you may prefer the brightly colored mats which are usually made from PVC or TPE. These mats can be easily designed. Hence, varieties of designs are available in the market.
Is Foam Yoga Mat Toxic?
Foam yoga mat is a popular choice for the people who practice yoga as well. However, there are some concerns about the material that this type of yoga mat is made from.
The good news is that you will find companies that make eco-friendly and non-toxic yoga mats. When you buy these mats, you can be sure that you are going to get a product that will not cause any harm to your health.
The biggest concern people have with foam yoga mats is the fact that they contain chemicals and other toxic substances. The foam itself may contain harmful substances without the manufacturers even knowing it. This is why you need to do your own research before you purchase a yoga mat of this kind.
Standard polyurethane foam (the same material in bike seats and sofa cushions) is made from petroleum-based chemicals that are generally considered safe. Some yoga mats are made with natural rubber latex, which has some people concerned about allergic reactions, but a small percentage of the population is allergic to latex. There’s also some concern that the chemical softeners added to the foam could be released into the air and cause respiratory problems. However, it’s unclear whether this is actually an issue with standard polyurethane foams.-Yogkitgymfitness
When talking about the toxicity of foam yoga mat, probably, the first thing that comes to mind is the smell. Some mats have an off-gassing smell that some people are sensitive to and find unpleasant.
The smell doesn’t go completely away, but does dissipate over time. This is also a prime consideration in purchasing a yoga mat.
As yoga has increased in popularity over the years, so has its accessories. Yoga mats are one of the most popular items, when we dive into yoga. They are used in practice (and in class) to offer a little bit of extra cushioning and support under your body.
Yoga mats can be made from a variety of different materials, including but not limited to: rubber, cork, jute, cotton and synthetic. The most common material used for yoga mats is PVC (polyvinyl chloride), which is also the least expensive option.
PVC has been linked to a number of health concerns such as skin sensitization and contact dermatitis, a skin reaction that affects people who come into direct contact with the allergen or irritant. Rubber, specifically synthetic ones, has been connected to allergies and irritation as well.
Cotton is a natural fiber that is biodegradable and sustainable when disposed of properly. It is also naturally anti-microbial and anti-fungal and will not retain odors like some other materials will.
Jute is another natural material that is biodegradable and produces very little waste when it is disposed of properly. This is an eco-friendly material for yoga mats.
Thus, when getting a yoga mat for your serious yoga practice, you should consider the relative advantages and disadvantages of the type of mat that you will eventually consider, in addition to its health impact as regards the material constitution of the same.