Yoga Mat Purchasing Guide

Yoga Mat Purchasing Guide






Natural. Nice density-not too hard, not too soft

Potential allergic reaction if sensitive to latex. Very heavy

Of all the mat types I’ve had, this one takes longest to dry. I once left it out for 5 days and still felt dampness on my feet when I stepped on it!


(Thermal Plastic Elastomer)

less environmentally

harmful than TPE.

Possibly PER&EVA

Open Celled TPE

mats can dry out over time.

Pick a mat cleaner with an oil base, not alcohol or witch hazel. To maintain the surface.


(Poly-Vinyl Chloride)


Sticky surface

Not eco-friendly.

Can’t be recycled or


Releases toxic chemicals & carcinogens in manufacturing process, & if mat is burned or buried.

(Don’t machine dry!)


If your mat was

fairly in expensive-think $10 Target special-it’s probably PVC


(Polymer Environmental Resin)

Similar to PVC but made without phthalates, a chemical softener associated with negative health effects in large quantities.

Has supposedly done well in biodegradability tests. But long-tern effects may still be unknown.

EVA (Ethylene-Vinyl Acetate)

Considered less toxic than other materials, but some are still on the fence about that.

Foam used in exercise mats, pilates, etc. Sometimes too squishy, not dense enough.

Jute, Hemp

Eco-friendly and absorbent


Cotton rug

Eco-friendly and absorbent, can be left out as a “rug”

Fibers can be either 

slippery or resistant

making footing 

uncertain in transitions.

This “mat” is

especially associated

with traditional 

Mysore & Ashtanga 

practices. Can be very 

slippery (think woven 

kitchen throw rugs.) 

Spritzing with a light 

Spritzing with a light 

Spritzing with a light 

If using on hard 

surface, spray the 

top to provide some 

stickiness for feet &hand


Some eco mats are made from a combination of the above , such as rubber & jute.

Note: Because yoga has become a billion dollar industry, the manufacturing processes of these materials is sometimes considered a “trade secret.” This means that the toxicity level, carcinogens released during manufacturing, sources& quality of materials, etc. are sometimes not really known, measured or verified.