I started practicing yoga in the 90s.
My first yoga class was a Vinyasa style of yoga called “Power Yoga” offered in a heated room about 82 degrees. Vinyasa is a dynamic style of yoga where poses flow together in a creative sequence often in sync with the breath.
Depending on the creativity and experience of the teacher, a Vinyasa style class can resemble a choreographed dance routine where one pose seamlessly blends with the next. Add a funky playlist, colorful walls, and the smell of incense, and you’re instantly transported to a different headspace. Power Yoga is a form of Vinyasa Yoga — on steroids.
This style of yoga offered enormous benefits for my twenty-year-old self. I got a workout and despite the intensity, always felt calm and centered, if not exhausted, by the end .
I was hooked.
My practice, perception, and attitude have shifted a bit over the course of 30 years. I still enjoy Vinyasa style yoga — only at a slower, gentler, more meditative pace. I do yoga more for the mental benefits now, but find moving on my mat an important piece of whole-body care.
The beautiful thing about yoga, is somehow the more you practice, the more conscious you become about others and the world around you… Yoga helps you live more mindfully, and this includes caring about where your toys, food, and clothing come from and how they’re made.
Which brings me to the point of this blog.
Why are yoga mats so expensive?
You can do yoga without a mat. You can do yoga on a bedspread, a beach towel, a rug or a chair. You can do yoga anywhere, so spending a lot of money on yoga gear isn’t necessary.
You can find cheaper yoga mats in your local department store or online. But if you plan to practice regularly, you may want to consider what your yoga mat is made out of.
You put your face on it after all!
The less expensive mats tend to be made out of materials like Poly Vinyl Chloride (PVC) which may not be the best thing for the environment, or for your body. These materials may include phthalates and other additives, which make them more difficult to recycle and may have toxic health risks.
I’d argue no mat or a cotton version is better than a toxic mat.
Eco-conscious companies that produce yoga mats take extra steps to ensure the materials used in their products meet the criteria for safety and (hopefully) biodegradability. Sustainable options cost more because they take more time and effort to produce. But they also tend to be higher end products.
So here’s the thing.
If you can afford it, why not invest in a mat you love and can feel good about using? One made from recycled materials and non-toxic chemicals — safe for your toddler to play on. One made, consciously, with the environment in mind.
If you spend a bit more, maybe you’ll cherish your mat and practice that much more. You can keep your mat in a special spot in your home — rolled up when not in use like a sacred thing which when “opened” magically transports you to a more peaceful place.
If you feel good about how your mat was made and the company that made it, you may decide the splurge was well worth it.
Below are some eco-conscious yoga gear companies who also put out fantastic products. This is not an all inclusive list and I don’t earn money if you buy from them.
Yoga Hustle — United States-based, woman-owned company. Third-tests their products to ensure safety and quality. Fun designs and themes. Sixty days (no questions asked) money-back guarantee. I own this mat.
Manduka — Solid company in business 25 years. Lifetime guarantee with conditions. Based in Germany.
Jade Yoga– Made in the United States. Plants a tree for every mat sold! I own a Jade mat.
Liforme —A London based company and certified B Corporation that donates 10% of profits to LiveForMore Foundation in addition to contributions to various non-profits.
Suga Mats — Mats made from recycled wetsuits! Based in United States. I’ve yet to try one, but am intrigued!
Yoga Tribe — Based in New Zealand. Sustainably made mats with 1 year warranty. $1 per sale goes to Tribe of Love Foundation.
Gaiam — An enterprise for yoga and fitness based in the United States. Less expensive eco yoga mat options.
These companies are doing great things, so I’m happy to support them. When you care more about the environment and the world you live in, you realize your decisions matter.
You do yoga to take care of yourself.
Why not take care of the planet at the same time?
(And if you don’t do yoga, let me help you get started;))
Photo credit: Mikhail Nilov from Pexels
8 thoughts on “Why are yoga mats so expensive?”
I loved your post! I’m a mom of four and teach yoga to kids and that’s why I too practice with and always recommend a yoga hustle mat. Their green approach and even more importantly their 3rd party testing gives me confidence that I’m doing the right thing by them. And the kids and I both love their beautiful designs!
Hi Mindy! Yes, it’s nice to feel confident kids can practice safely. Fun colors too;)
Such a helpful article! I am so excited that your pick is not only eco but female owned! I’m absolutely going to pick up a yoga hustle mat. I’ve been trying to decide what to treat myself with!
Thanks for reading Kat! They make a great product;)
Love the blog! Not a fan of Liforme. I think alignment points are so outdated considering we are all made in different shapes & sizes.
I tend to agree with you Pete. There is not perfect pose;)
As a yoga teacher, I always recommend investing in your equipment the same way you should invest in yourself. Obviously, you can only afford what you can afford. In my perfect world, if my student has the budget, I advise Yoga Hustle. I love the ethos, the green credentials and the quality. You just can’t get any better than the Yoga Hustle Mat grip. Otherwise, if its out of budget, save up and whatever you pick, check the ingredients/materials and if they do any outside testing for harmful baddies like lead.
Agreed Hannah:) Everyone deserves one good mat.