This Eco-Friendly Yoga Mat Can Handle Your Sweatiest Downward Dog
Just like doing a trust fall with your co-worker in a team-building exercise, you need to wholeheartedly believe your yoga mat can support you during a Vinyasa class in desert-level heat. The mat needs to be grippy enough that you won’t nose dive into the floor mid-downward dog (thanks @ sweaty palms) and have enough cushion that your knees don’t feel like they’re resting on a boulder while in child’s pose.
But the yoga mat you picked off the sale rack might not be able to give you that safety guarantee. One that can? The Jade Harmony Yoga Mat (Buy It, $85, amazon.com). Made from grippy natural rubber, the 3/16-inch-thick yoga mat was specifically designed to disrupt the industry full of super slippery mats way back in 2000. Twenty years later, the Jade Harmony Yoga Mat has built a cult-following and gathered nearly 2,500 perfect reviews on Amazon. And for good reason, too: The Jade yoga mat offers long-lasting traction that’s simply unbeatable by other lookalikes on the market. (Related: The Best Yoga Mats for Hot Yoga)
"I've been using Jade Yoga mats since 2012 when doing heated Vinyasa upward of 10 hours a week," wrote one five-star reviewer. "I tried every other ‘sticky’ mat out there, but when you're in 100+ degree rooms doing a 90-minute flow and sweating like Nick Miller trying to keep a secret...Jade mats are the only ones that will keep you from slipping."
What’s more, the Jade Harmony Yoga Mat provides enough stability as you settle into your tree pose while still cushioning your joints while you relax in Savasana. "It is also very thin but surprisingly cushy," wrote another shopper who gave the mat a perfect review. "It feels great on the knee joints, which is a sensitive spot for me that I've always had to either fold my other mats or put a towel under my knees, not this mat!"
But this rubber yoga mat doesn’t just help you get through a slow flow without major injury — it also has a smaller environmental impact than PVC mats, which make up one-third of the global yoga mat market and are sold by popular yoga gear retailers like Gaiam and Target, according to a report by Allied Market Research. These plastic mats contain added chemicals, including phthalates and BPA (bisphenol A), to give the material its signature softness and flexibility, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine. While those are highly sought-after qualities in a yoga mat, these features can come at a cost depending on the materials used to make them happen.
Since the phthalates aren’t chemically bonded to the plastic, they can leach out of PVC products and make their way into the environment, contaminating water sources and soil used for agriculture, according to an article published in the journal Ecological Chemistry and Engineering. This release can occur during the manufacturing stage, with day-to-day use, and even while the product sits in a landfill, per the journal. Then, when unwanted PVC products are sent to the incinerator at waste treatment plants, they produce dioxins (toxic chemical compounds) that contribute to global pollution, according to the California Environmental Protection Agency.
As if the pollution wasn’t troublesome enough, the chemicals released during PVC production, use, and disposal are bioaccumulative, meaning they build up within organisms over time with frequent exposure. In some animals, certain phthalates impair the development of internal reproductive organs, even at very low levels, and they can have toxic effects on organisms living in water — including algae, crustaceans, and fish — after just a single exposure, according to the journal. Few studies have looked at the health impacts of phthalates on humans, but lab research with animals has found a link between exposure and reproductive and developmental health issues, such as reproductive and genital defects, early onset of puberty, and more, according to the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. (BTW, you can make your yoga apparel collection even more sustainable by following these shopping tips.)
With the Jade Yoga Harmony Mat, you don’t need to worry about creating any undue harm on the planet. The eco-friendly yoga mat is free of PVC and synthetic rubber, the latter of which is derived from polluting crude oil, and is instead crafted entirely with natural rubber, a renewable resource made from the latex sap of the rubber tree. Plus, Jade Yoga is partnered with Trees for the Future, a nonprofit working with farmers in sub-Saharan Africa to sustainably revitalize their degraded land, which helps increase their income and food security along the way. For every mat sold, Jade Yoga helps plant a tree to offset some of its environmental impact — and it’s planted more than one million saplings since 2006.
And at just $85, the cost of this eco-friendly yoga mat is a steal compared to the price the planet would pay for you to practice on a PVC option. After all, Mother Earth could use just as much TLC as you do.