Friday, June 4, 2010

When a new Eco Yoga Mat is Necessary- Mr. Crumbles

I need a new yoga mat. Yep, I said it. It is time. Seriously, you should SEE my mat, pictures don't do it justice.

First things first: The most environmentally friendly thing you can do, as we've chatted about before, is to use the mat you have. Yes, it's sad that you didn't know how terrible PVC was when you bought your mat, we forgive you. Replacing a perfectly good mat with something 'greener' isn't really very eco at all. As much as possible, step out of the 'buy buy buy' hamster wheel and take a breath.

Alright, now that we've established that we need to use our mats until disintegration point... enter my crumbly mat. Let's name him 'Mr Crumbles' (I have no idea why  my mat is a 'him'....weird).

Mr. Crumbles has graced my practice since our last year in British Colombia (3 years now). About a year ago I noticed some pretty significant 'yoga love' marks, convenient discolorations where my hands and feet belonged. With some beautiful bloggy support, I decided that instead of following my immediate 'MUST BUY NEW MAT' urge, I would buck against the consumer brainwashing and accept them as evidence of my love for yoga.

A few months ago I noticed that Mr. Crumbles seemed to be a bit flakier than usual. He had a case of the dropsies and I had little green presents on my yoga clothing after each practice. I watched bits of Mr. Crumbles float away down the drain during his semi-regular bath.

 Mr. Crumbles' innerds... :(
Sadly, the lethal blow was 'The Great Canadian Yoga Stretch' and my month of daily yoga. Due to Mr. Crumbles need for *minimum* 48 hours drying time, no washing was had during the whole month (ew!!! I know). Last week I went to practice and noticed a peculiar white spot... it was a hole straight into Mr. Crumbles INNERDS! I was peering into his intestinal being... and worried what would happen with the necessary upcoming wash.

I began to make preparations for the eventual passing, inquiring into replacements (cold, I know).

Flaking away at the edges... 
Wednesday night I decided that I was too embarrassed to show up for my first Sivananda class with a stinky mat. I took a facecloth and my vinegar and water spray and gently tried to wipe it down.... and made the hole even larger! Mr. Crumbles no longer smells like rubber and goodness (puppy dog tails), but like gross icky sweat (trust me, having my forehead on the mat last night was revealing).

All this to say, that Mr. Crumbles will now be relegated to 'Guerrilla Yoga' duty and continue to be the rebel that he always wanted to be. Simply in the form of our attempts at stepping outside of the 'monetary yoga' box. Which is pretty darn rebel enough. :)

Upcoming; the drama of finding a new 'eco' mat....


article and photographs copyright of EcoYogini at


  1. I am really looking forward to seeing what mat you decide to buy. My mat is a year and a half old, Jade Yoga mat that I've used nearly and sometimes twice a day. It's been used outside and been washed a lot. So I am right there with you... needing a new mat; this one has lost its stickiness and has started to leave little crumbles as well :/

  2. @Rachael,
    Oh my- you have JUST influenced part of my decision!! and voiced part of my frustration. what's so eco, if the mat doesn't last more than 2 years???

    I was thinking of Jade, but no way am I going to buy a mat that will fade away in a few years....

  3. is a hard decision. I feel like a yoga mat whore. When I went to my teacher training two years ago, I treated myself to a Jade. I got the same one for the wonderful husband. Two years later, at about 10 practices a week, it is showing my love of yoga. It is stinky and you can see where my hands and feet usually are. With that said, I see a few more years of life in it. Plus, it is super cushy, nice on the joints when you're teaching multiple times a day on a hard floor.

    The first mat I ever bought was a HuggerMugger and it is still holding strong. It is dirty! You can definitely tell where my hands and feet are, but no flaking. And, the weird part? It is an aroma mat (weird, right?) and it still smells great! It always makes me nostalgic about those first few yoga classes.

    And, for Christmas, the wonderful husband gave me a Manduka mat. Pause for gasp. I haven't broken it in yet. But, it is cushy and seems so, super tough. Plus, it is like practicing on a Cadillac! It is so BIG. I'm only 5'2" (on a good day) so there is a lot of real estate to play on. I definitely know that this mat will last me *forever* (check back with me in 20 years).

    Sorry to be so long winded...but, choosing a mat is hard. I love to hear what others have to say.

    I'm excited to see what you pick.

  4. I wanted to stop by and thank you SO much for the comment - and good luck with the search!

    It will help me a great deal to know what mat you pick (and why)...there's a lot out there and a lot of money to be spent. Good luck with the search!

  5. My mat looks like that also. I despreately need a new one but I am so attached :(

  6. RIP Mr. Crumbles.

    I had a revelation. Actually I think I've noticed it for a while, but just started to bring my thoughts together now. When a yoga mat is rolled up, the bottom part that touches the dirty grimy floor is smooshed into the top layer where people do yoga. So people do yoga on the dirt and grime that was touching the floor! I'm going to patent a new eco mat that lasts forever, and folds into itself to keep the grime off, ha ha.

    Good luck in your search, I hope you find a great replacement!!!

  7. Namaste to you for making this decision so thoughtfully, and to Mr. Crumbles for his years of faithful service. I have but two words for you: Manduka eKo. Yes, it's expensive, and I've only had it for a year, but it is rock-solid, wipes down easily (dries overnight!), and is practically non-slip. Plus, it's rubber and I believe it's one of the greenest mats on the market. My instructor abuses his Manduka Black Mat like crazy, and it is none the worse for wear. That one's not as eco-friendly, but Manduka makes some hardcore mats. Good luck!

  8. Poor Mr. Crumbles, he served you well!

  9. oh this post made me laugh - I love thinking of your mat as "Mr. Crumbles"! good luck on your search!

  10. Go Manduka. It'll last forever, or so I hear. My Black Mat changed my practice, changed my life.

  11. I love my Jade Yoga mat, I was very hesitant to pay so much for a mat but eager to get away from the plasticy ones for eco and health reasons. It is super sticky, cushiony yet firm.

    I love that the colour is rich but not too bright, I love that they plant trees and I'd rather have natural rubber crumbles than plastic crumbles when that time comes.

    I don't mind that it's faded a bit where my hands and feet are, but I could imagine for Ashtanga or any vigorous vinyasa type practice this would be more of an issue.

    The original manduka mats definitely last forever and a day but not so eco and seem kinda hard to me - and dust prone - but probably very easy to wipe the dust off because they are also quite smooth and flat. The eko-manduka mats look nice but I don't know about longevity.

    So many options out there (the gecko mat looks interesting but don't know if the materials are eco or just the manufacturing) Can't wait to see what you choose. Good luck!

  12. Best of luck with finding a new and effective mat. Linda from Linda's Yoga Journey did mention a mat she has used for years, but I can't remember what it was now!

    Somehow I've ended up with three mats, but mostly use my (supposedly eco but, whatever!) Lulu mat. I've had it about four years now and it totally flakes. Not to mention the cat claw marks it now has, courtesy of my little meow friend :)

    And I agree - use until it's falling apart. We don't always have to have the new and improved/better etc model when what we have still works fine!

  13. Hi,
    I got curious about eco yoga mats. I have 2 purple sticky ones that are pretty good condition but I went looking on google for eco friendly mats. I found this cool review of several of them:

  14. I wonder if there is some clever crafty person on Etsy who can weave you one out of something eco and sustainable, and make it beautiful at the same time?

    Apparently you can order things to your specification, and haggle the price beforehand, so you don't get a shock.

    Just a suggestion.

  15. Definitely keep me posted! My mat is starting to look pretty shabby, especially with the UV from all my outdoor practice this year!

  16. I about fell off my chair laughing at this post. It is so funny! Mr. Crumbles, and his intestines! Who knew anyone could so perfectly personify a yoga mat?! Love it!

    Good for you for wearing him down to his innards, like we should do with everything we own. And for continuing to use him for a purpose that he'll be well-suited for! Can't wait to hear about your new one, too.

  17. Cannot wait to find out what you buy and your reviews!
    I have a Mrs.Crumbles and she too is headed for a retirement sadly!

    I have been putting off buying forever and really want to fnd the best ,cheapest,longest lasting, cushioney,non stinky mat in Halifax.

    Help us out Ms. EcoYogini!!!!


    I've used the Original Eco Mat for years. IMHO, it's the best eco mat out there. It lasted me through 4 trips to India and India beats the hell out of stuff. It was literally decomposing before my eyes so on my last trip I left it in Africa with my friend.

    bought a new one when I returned, and I love it, but it's not as light (weight wise) as the old one.

  19. I've had a manduka since late 2006, one of the original purple "PROlite"s. It is still in amazing shape, and after breaking it in, I'm pleased with the texture/feel & smell. Back then only the PRO and the PROlite were offered, so I don't know about the eKO line..... if my yoga mat does outlive me, then what? might yoga mats become family treasures handed down??? hmm....

    also, saw what T wrote- you're totally right! I got my mat in the extra long length, and I do fold it in half and then roll it, so the bottom floor part never touches the practice side. I didn't think it up myself, but learned it from my teacher :)

  20. really? people fold their mats in half and then roll them up?? I didn't know this was a technique- but makes perfect sense, like T. said- ew grodie floor stuff...

    hmm I will have to keep that in mind.

    @Linda-Sama: thanks for the link to your mat, I've seen it before but had forgotten about this option. :)

    I also struggle with the whole 'black mats will be the last mat you ever buy... but they last forever' type deal.


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