Thursday, January 22, 2009

Rubber Trees- Oh Frank Sinatra you were SO right!

Friends of mine want to buy new yoga mats and didn't want to spend 85$ on a manduka mat... their question: "what's the best eco-mat option?". Although I don't gnaw on my yoga mat, I'm really skeptical of PVC's alternative: TPE. (see previous post here) So right now that leaves natural rubber- it will last longer, perform better and can be sustainably harvested from rubber trees. The only downside- natural rubber mats aren't recomended to be used in the direct sunlight. Sigh- WHEN will I find the perfect eco-outside yoga mat??

Gaiam does offer a few different rubber alternatives: but they don't have third party, or any party for that matter, informing us how the rubber is harvested, how "natural" it really is and the percentage of latex to bind the rubber together. They have an "earth lovers mat" that's made from recycled materials and natural rubber- although I'm not sure about the stickiness, and exactly what the recycled materials are- call me a skeptic. Plus it's kinda poo coloured... eww.

Jade on the other hand- offers ONLY natural rubber mats. The Yoga Loft sells them and I got a chance to touch one and smell it (twice!!). It did smell slightly like rubber (compared to the strong smell my Lotus Wear mat!). A few washes and air dried should help with the smell. They explain how the rubber is "tapped" from the rubber tree like maple syrup (this Canadian girl totally gets THAT reference!), the percentage of rubber vs latex, where the mats are made (USA-they resisted the China trend) and they give 25 different ways to reuse your old mat!

The Kicker: you buy a mat- they PLANT A TREE! Enough said. Oh- and they are affordable too, from 59.95$ up! YAY. :)


  1. This is helpful as I am going to be looking for a new mat soon, and would like to try and go the more natural route. My current mat is second hand, and has served me well. It is a lululemon eco mat which has begun to break down, leaving crumbs all over my pants every time I use it. Hopefully my next mat will be a little less apt to disintegrate all over me.

  2. i have the manduka eko (the heavier one) in the green color. i LOVE this mat. the smell got better after a couple of cleanings and i just wash my hands (or use purel) after i practice or teach because the smell still seems to stick to my hands a bit.

    as for the color wear, i kinda like it. it isn't drastic yet but i think of it like this .... long ago in martial arts everyone started out with a white belt. you got a "black belt" by practicing so much that your white belt got dingier and dirtier and therefor darker. the discoloration on my mat is just a reminder of how much quality time i've had with it.

    on another note, what is your opinion of jute mats? i know i adore my mat but i'd like to be informed in a few areas when my students are ready to move on from their cheap, environmentally evil starter mat. thanks for the post.

  3. Mekare: that's fantastic that you love your manduka eko mat!! and I also LOVE your reasoning for the fading- what a beautiful explanation. I would much prefer fading over flaking any day!

    Thanks for reminding me about the natural fibers mats- I've heard of them but I haven't ever actually seen one in real life... I'll definitely look into it! :)

    ps- your knitted things are SUPER cute!! :)


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