Yoga is a healthy and affordable activity that can help you feel more relaxed, grounded, and energized. If you want to practice yoga regularly, though, it’s crucial to choose a non-toxic yoga mat made from sustainable materials like natural rubber or organic cotton. These materials are not only better for the environment than their alternatives, but they won’t release harmful chemicals into the air when you break a sweat on your yoga mat either.
In this article, we’ll look at some of the most popular non-toxic yoga mats on the market today, as well as what to watch out for when shopping for one on your own.
This post may contain affiliate links, which means I could be compensated if you decide to make a purchase. You can read my full disclosure here.
The Best Non-Toxic Yoga Mats
Organic Cotton Yoga Mats
This beautiful hand-woven organic cotton yoga rug from Jade is great for outdoor yoga, whether you’re on a sandy beach or out in the grass, and it’s lightweight to make traveling easy too.
If you’re at home, it will work nicely on carpet as well, but the brand does NOT recommend using it on its own if you’re on a hard surface like tile or hardwood floor. That being said, the texture is perfect for giving yourself a little extra traction during your regular workouts, so you can layer it over another mat that has a better floor grip to prevent slips.
What we really love about this yoga mat is that if you have a heavy sweat sesh or it gets a little too dirty when you’re outdoors, you can toss it in the washing machine afterward, and it will be as good as new! (Just make sure you hang it to dry to prevent shrinkage.)
The rugs are hand-woven in India, which keeps the traditional artform alive and supports families, and every purchase provides a week of meals to a child in need.
There are multiple colors to choose from, all of which are made from herbal dyes. The dyeing process is done in small batches, which gives them rich and beautiful color and is more eco-friendly and safe for people (both you and the workers too).
These rugs are absolutely beautiful, and they look nice enough to leave unrolled in the middle of your living room too, so don’t sweat it if you don’t have a chance to put it away after your morning salutations.
- Made in India
- 72″ length
- Made from 100% organic cotton
- Dyed with vegetables, which is more eco-friendly and non-toxic
- Appealing to the eye
- Great for outdoor yoga classes and beach yoga
- Supports small communities and families in India
- Not budget-friendly
- Slippery and not intended for use on hard surfaces
This organic cotton yoga mat from Live Well 360 is also hand-woven in India. It has a nice grip for your hands and feet, so you won’t have to worry about slipping while coming into or out of any poses, and it’s super lightweight (approximately 2lbs), so you can easily pack it in a bag and head to a beach yoga class.
Made from 100% organic cotton, you’ll feel good using this mat on a daily basis because it’s free from toxic chemicals. The cotton gives it a nice cushioned feel too, which makes it both comfortable and supportive for even the most difficult poses, whether you’re in the grass at a state park or on the carpet in your bedroom.
Like Jade’s rug, Live Well 360’s rug is also machine washable, making it easy to keep clean after a sweaty session. Organic cotton’s natural cooling properties give the mat enhanced breathability and moisture-wicking properties too.
The mat’s large size means you won’t have to worry about tripping over the edges while you’re holding a pose either, so your focus during class can stay where it should be instead of on your mat.
- Made in India
- 27″ x 78″
- 3mm thick
- 100% organic cotton
- Supports small rural communities in India
- Good for outdoor use
- Provides enough cushion to feel comfortable without requiring a ton of padding underneath you
- Machine washable
- Will slip around if used on hard flooring or surfaces
- Texture can be a bit distracting (not as easy to ground yourself)
Brentwood’s organic cotton yoga mat is just as durable and has a similar feel to the Live Well 360 rug, but the addition of natural latex gives it a better grip on hard surfaces like tile and hardwood.
The latex is FSC-certified, which is another big plus for this yoga mat. FSC, or the Forest Stewardship Council, is an independent organization that sets the highest global standards for responsible forestry. So, when you’re using a yoga mat that has the FSC certification seal, you know that the latex was sourced from forests that are managed in an environmentally friendly and socially responsible way.
It has a smooth texture that provides enough grip for your hands and feet so you won’t slip around while practicing any poses, and the 5mm thickness makes it comfortable to use, even when doing poses on your knees and forearms.
The absorbency of the mat also makes it a good option for Bikram yoga, as you won’t have to worry about slipping or feeling uncomfortable as you sweat it out during your class.
The mat is also machine-washable, so keeping it clean is simple and easy, and it’s one of the few yoga mats on the market that are made from 100% GOTS-certified organic cotton, guaranteeing that it’s safe and non-toxic.
P.S. Brentwood Organic Non-Slip Yoga Mat is a part of the same family of companies as Avocado Green Mattresses, which is another of our top recommended products, whether you’re looking for a non-toxic crib mattress or a mattress for yourself.
- Made in India
- 71″ x 24″
- 5mm thick
- GOTS-certified organic cotton
- Recyclable and biodegradable
- Available in multiple colors
- Non-slip bottom
- Good for use on multiple surfaces, including indoor hard flooring
- Machine washable
- Heavier than other cotton yoga mats
Cork Yoga Mats
The original cork yoga mat from Yoloha is a great option that will keep you comfortable in any type of yoga class.
Cork provides a non-slip surface for your hands and feet, so you won’t have to worry about slipping around when attempting difficult poses, and it absorbs moisture when your feet start to sweat.
The cork surface also provides a nice cushioning effect, and the 6.5mm thickness makes it comfortable enough to use in all types of yoga, even when practicing on your knees or forearms.
There are three sizes to choose from too, so this one is a great choice if you’re tall. The extra-large 84″ x 30″ model is perfect for taller yogis who are looking for a larger mat that’s just as sustainable, non-toxic and comfortable as the smaller version.
The rubber bottom is made from 100% natural rubber without any PVC or plasticizers, which is better for you and for the environment.
In addition to making the mat itself from sustainable materials, Yoloha also helps local communities by donating yoga mats to various organizations.
- Made in the USA
- 6.5mm thick
- Comes in three different sizes, including an extra-large model for taller yogis
- Made from cork and natural rubber without any PVC or plasticizers
- Good for hard surfaces
- No color options available
- Cork and rubber are not as eco-friendly as organic cotton
Scoria mats are made from natural cork with a natural rubber bottom, which makes them great for practicing yoga on hard surfaces.
The rubber and cork are bonded together with water-based adhesive and high heat, so you don’t have to worry about harsh glues or chemicals being present in the mat.
This unique design gives this yoga mat a thin, flexible surface that will let you move more freely during your poses without sacrificing stability, and the cork also absorbs moisture so your feet won’t slip around, even when they start to sweat.
Scoria mats provide a non-slip surface that makes it safe to use for all types of yoga, and the 6mm thickness is also comfortable enough to support you when practicing poses on your forearms or knees.
The gorgeous artwork on Scoria’s mats is what will really catch your eye though. You can definitely find something that shows off your personality instead of just your practice. (Though they do sell basic non-designed mats as well.)
All of the designs are printed with safe water-based inks, so there are zero toxins involved in the process.
You may notice a rubber smell when you get one of these mats though. Don’t worry! It’s just the natural smell of the rubber. Air it out in a shaded outdoor area, and the scent will fade with time.
- 2-6mm, depending on your preference
- 59″ x 23″ (kids), 72″ x 24″ (regular), 80″ x 26″ (long)
- Cork and rubber are eco-friendly, safe materials
- Non-slip surface
- Artwork and designs are printed with safe water-based inks
- Smell of natural rubber may take some time to fade after unboxing the mat
- Higher price point
Natural Rubber Yoga Mats
No matter what type of yoga you practice, you’ll be able to use a Manduka Eko Series yoga mat. The unique design makes it usable for beginner yogis as well as those who have been practicing yoga for years.
The material is made from natural non-Amazonian rubber that’s free of toxic materials like PVC and AZO dyes, and it has a one-of-a-kind design that gives the mat a good grip while also providing cushion.
The surface is also slip-resistant, and the mat can be used on any hard surface. This is a great option for anyone who wants a durable eco-friendly yoga mat that will last for years without needing to be replaced.
These non-toxic yoga mats are also biodegradable, making them a great eco-friendly option for those looking for a yoga mat that won’t damage the environment, and they are 99% latex-free.
What’s more is that Manduka has partnered with The Renewal Workshop to repurpose your old yoga mats. All you have to do is add the LiveOn Program Kit to your cart when you purchase a new mat, and they’ll send you a prepaid shipping label to send them your old mat (of any brand or material). From there, your old mat will either be repaired and donated to communities and organizations in need or downcycled and repurposed into other products (if it’s beyond repair).
The Eko series has three options for thickness and weight, each of which has multiple size options, so you’re sure to find one that works perfectly for you.
If you take your yoga classes online or do most of your yoga workouts at home, the original Eko will be great because it’s thick and well-cushioned, but it’s a bit heavy to tote around to classes at your local studio.
For travel, we recommend the Eko SUPERLITE because it folds down easily to fit in a bag or to carry by hand. This mat is super thin though, so be aware that it won’t provide a ton of cushion if your poses involve resting on your joints. That being said, the thinness is perfect for grounding yourself and for meditation too.
EKO – 5mm – 71″ x 24″ or 79″ x 24″
EKO LITE – 4mm – 71″ x 24″ or 79″ x 24″
EKO SUPERLITE – 1.5mm – 71″ x 24″ or 79″ x 24″
- Made from natural rubber with no PVC or plasticizers
- Natural rubber is non-slip, good for hard surfaces and gives your joints some cushion
- Re-purpose your old mat with the LiveOn Program Kit
- Multiple sizes and options to choose from
- Many colors available
- SUPERLITE is great for travel
- EKO and EKO LITE are heavy (6-8lbs) and not ideal for traveling
- May have a natural rubber smell (the company recommends airing it out in a shaded outdoor area, but the smell will fade with time)
Are Yoga Mats Toxic?
The simple answer is that yes, some yoga mats are toxic to you and/or the environment, but not all of them. The main reason why you should be concerned about toxicity in your yoga mat is because these products are ending up in landfills, where they have the potential to leach harmful chemicals into the ground and into the air around us.
As consumers, we should be purchasing more eco-friendly products because we want to protect our families and our planet from these harmful effects.
Why Does My Yoga Mat Have a P65 Warning?
You may have noticed a California Proposition 65 warning label on your yoga mat. This warning label is required for products that contain a chemical known to the state of California to cause cancer or reproductive toxicity.
In this case, your yoga mat is most likely made from PVC material, which contains a number of chemicals, including dioxins (which we talk more about in our article about non-toxic diapers) and phthalates, which manufacturers add into yoga mats to make them more flexible.
Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)
Many companies use PVC in order to make yoga mats durable and cost-effective. Unfortunately, PVC is a leading cause of toxicity in our air because it contains harmful chemicals like phthalates that are known to be carcinogenic.
When exposed to high temperatures, PVC may off-gas phthalates, which is a major problem if you enjoy hot yoga. In fact, a 2018 study found phthalate concentration in the air increased when the room temperature was 104-degrees. When your environment is too warm, the chemicals inside your PVC yoga mat could potentially be entering your respiratory system as you inhale.
PVC may also contain low levels of lead, which can be even more dangerous than phthalates. Lead has been linked to brain damage, behavioral problems, neurological symptoms, and developmental effects in both children and adults.
It’s also worth noting here that PVC is not biodegradable, so once your yoga mat is in the landfill, it will stay there, leaching chemicals into our soil and air.
Don’t fret if you already have a PVC yoga mat though. You can recycle it, but check with your local waste management facilities to see if they’ll take it. If not, you can use Manduka’s LiveOn program to put it to good use.
How to Find Non-Toxic Yoga Mats
Look for Natural Materials
Organic cotton, natural rubber, and cork are all-natural materials that companies may use to make yoga mats.
This is a natural fabric that’s typically grown without harsh chemicals or synthetic fertilizers. If you choose an organic cotton mat, it is likely non-toxic and free of polluting chemicals—a definite win for your health and the environment.
As far as durability goes, organic cotton yoga mats typically have a shorter lifespan than other types of mats. Be prepared to spend more on an organic cotton mat as well because they are often made with specialty materials and use hand-stitched techniques, which can increase the price tag.
Some of our favorite yoga mats are made of natural rubber. This rubber is often called eco-friendly or sustainable because the harvesting process doesn’t damage the tree’s natural habitat. In fact, the trees can be tapped multiple times throughout their lifetime.
One downside to natural rubber yoga mats is that they may have a rubber smell when you first unpack them. It can take some people by surprise because they think it’s a heavy chemical smell. But this smell typically dissipates after a few days or weeks of use.
Another thing to consider with natural rubber mats is that they tend to be on the heavier side, so they’re not ideal for traveling.
Of course, not all rubber is natural, so be sure to look for “natural rubber” on the label if you’re shopping for a non-toxic yoga mat made from this material.
Cork is sustainable, durable, and provides the cushioning you need for different poses. Cork is flexible and comes from a renewable tree resource, making it the perfect “green” material for your yoga mat.
Cork makes an excellent yoga mat because it can help prevent slipping, provide extra cushioning, and absorb moisture. Its function makes it an eco-friendly choice for your yoga practice.
Find a Yoga Mat that’s Phthalate-Free
Phthalates can potentially lead to certain health problems, so if you’re looking for a non-toxic yoga mat that doesn’t have them, just look for “phthalate-free” on the label.
That being said, it’s important to note that some mats may be a bit greenwashed, and though they don’t have phthalates, they may contain other harmful materials.
Look for a Recyclable or Biodegradable Yoga Mat
When you’re buying something like a yoga mat, it’s important to consider the environmental impact. If you purchase a non-toxic yoga mat that can’t be recycled or easily broken down, you could be adding to our landfills and continuing the production of other harmful chemicals.
The best non-toxic yoga mats are environmentally sustainable and non-toxic. If you can find a yoga mat that’s recyclable or biodegradable, it will make less of an impact on the environment.
Other Things to Consider When Buying Non-Toxic Yoga Mats
Your Yoga Style
Do you like Bikram yoga, or are you more of an Ashtanga person? Do you hit the beach with your yoga mat, or do you prefer solid indoor ground?
You’ll want to choose a mat that’s appropriate for your style of yoga. For example, if you practice hot yoga, you’ll need something with the maximum amount of grip possible. If you like beach yoga, you’ll want a more flexible material, like the organic cotton rugs I mentioned above.
The thickness of a yoga mat can also impact your yoga practice. A thicker mat may be better for those who have knee problems or other joint issues, while a thinner mat may be better for those who do a lot of balance poses because they’ll be more stable and grounding.
You’ll want to choose a yoga mat based on your personal preference, so keep the thickness (which is usually shown in millimeters) in mind when you’re comparing various types of mats.
The grip of your yoga mat can influence your practice. If you have a hard time with sweaty palms or need more support, choose a mat that has more grip and texture.
If you’re just starting out or doing a lot of sitting poses, you’ll probably not need much to no grip. That being said, other people may enjoy the extra “stickiness” from a mat that has more traction and texture.
Obviously, an important thing to consider when shopping for a new yoga mat is your budget. You’ll be able to find non-toxic yoga mats at different price points, so you should be able to find something that works for your finances.
Before shopping around, make a list of your priorities. If you’d like to purchase something eco-friendly and sustainable, you’ll need to make a little extra room in your budget than if you’re looking for something that’s purely affordable.
How Often Will You Use Your Yoga Mat?
Your yoga mat is an investment, and you’ll want to choose something that can stand up to your practice. Do you practice yoga daily? Once a week? Once a month?
If you only use your mat occasionally, you can probably get away with spending less money. However, if you’re looking for something that will last longer and support your practice over the years, it may be better to choose something that has more durability and is made with high-quality materials.
As you can see, there are many things to consider when looking for a non-toxic yoga mat. However, if you prioritize finding something that’s environmentally sustainable and doesn’t contain harmful chemicals, you should be able to find the perfect yoga mat for your needs.