Organic Yoga Mats - Choose The Best
How would you know?
What Makes a Yoga Mat Organic?
I am a strict vegetarian, I only eat organic food, and I buy clothes made from organic fabrics, so it stands to reason that I would also use such a yoga mat.
But what does organic mean?
Unfortunately there is no recognized US or International standard when it comes to labelling a fabric or textile as organic. However, if a foodstuff in the US carries an USDA Organic logo it will have been inspected and certified as organic by a USDA agent.
Interestingly, this can mean that if you see a cotton fabric that is certified organic it is probably because the organic cotton seeds and cotton oils are foodstuffs, and so the certification is down to this. What it doesn't tell you though, is how the cotton was processed into a textile after it was certified. So, potentially the “organic” cotton could have been treated with all manner of chemicals and heavy metal dyes.
It is therefore very important that you fully check what materials your organic mat is made from and what the manufacturing processes involved. The minimum we should expect from an organic textile or yoga mat is that it has been farmed responsibly and grown sustainably.
There are very few organic mats on the market. I use a Yoga-Mad Organic Cotton Yoga Mat. It is part of their Natural range and is made in India from 100% certified organic cotton that is natural and unbleached. It is hand woven in a coarse weave with an embroidered Om design. As with all cotton yoga mats, the grip increases as it becomes wet or moist, which is why it is ideal for hot yogas such as Ashtanga. At 2m by 70cm it is the perfect size for me, especially when I'm in a Power yoga class.
Another organic mat is the Rawganiques 100% hemp yoga mat, which is made from organic hemp that is grown in Europe. There are no harsh chemicals or heavy metals used in its production – each one is handmade and so they are all unique and have a certain non-uniform charm with variations in texture and shape. It is available in five natural colors: burgundy, Earth brown, forest green, indigo blue or licorice black. At under $50 this is a bargain organic yoga mat.
Traditional Indian dhurries, (the brightly woven mats that are so popular at present), will often say that they are made from organically grown materials, but I am put off by the dyeing and manufacturing that is involved. To me they are not a “true” organic mat. There are some exceptions though, so be careful to take note of the manufacturers descriptions and claims.
There are plenty of yoga clothes and other yoga accessories that are also made from organic cotton, so you can can work-out in perfect harmony with your organic mat. And, I believe for the sake of the planet and future generations that it is worth making the extra effort to source and use a true organic yoga mat.