What Are Yoga Mats Made Of? Best Materials+Recommendations

Today yoga mat manufacturers use a wide variety of materials to produce yoga mats. They divide into two big groups: natural and synthetic. Some yoga mats are made of the mix of natural and synthetic materials. This whole thing can be confusing.

So, what material are yoga mats made of?

To answer this question shortly, let’s say that yoga mats can be produced from Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC), Thermoplastic Elastomer (TPE), and Polymer Environmental Resin (PER). On the other hand, there are also natural materials such as cotton, jute, natural rubber, and cork.

This short guide will answer the questions

  • What material is used for yoga mats?
  • Which yoga mat material is the best?
  • What is the safest material for a yoga mat?

Before we start, let’s look into some yoga mat materials properties.

Yoga Mat Material Properties

Yoga mat materials have various properties that lead to them being more or less suitable for practicing yoga poses. Here are checkpoints you should consider before choosing a yoga mat.

Thickness

The more material is used to make the mat, the thicker it will be. Thicker mats allow more cushioning and comfort. But they are usually less portable.

Breathability

The density of the material defines its breathability. The denser the material, the less breathability it will have. The yoga mat with good breathability absorbs the body heat well and dissipates it fast. Here you’ll need to find the harmony between density and breathability.

Free of dangerous chemicals

Some cheap forms of PVC and EVA material bear risk to your health. Harmful chemicals are used in the synthesis of these substances. They may irritate the skin or release an odor that can cause allergies. So you’ll want your mat to be safe and made of non-harmful material.

Flexibility and weight

Flexible mats are easier to carry around and fold when it’s necessary. Some lightweight materials like cotton or TPE can make your yoga mat flexible enough.

Durability

The performance of your yoga mat is determined but its durability. And, of course, more durable mats last longer, which prevents your budget from any extra spending. Heat, water and abrasion resistance, tactile strength, and elasticity all define the durability of your mat. In addition, many synthetic materials like PVC, NBR, Polyurethane, TPE, and PER are all very durable.

Moisture absorption

This property is crucial when you sweat on your mat a lot. Some porous materials like cork and cotton provide enough moisture absorption for those who reside in regions with high moisture levels.

Types of Yoga Mat Materials With Pros and Cons

PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride) yoga mat

This material is pretty cheap and suitable for producing yoga mats. This synthetic plastic polymer, otherwise known as vinyl, makes yoga mats lightweight and easy to store. Still, the quality of PVC mat will vary depending on the manufacturer. Some companies produce low-cost mats that may not be safe for you to use if you have sensitive skin. Another type of PVS is Polymer Environmental Resin, known as an environmentally friendly type of PVC.

Pros Cons
  • Low cost
  • High durability
  • Easy to store
  • Sticky enough
  • Emits harmful odor
  • Can cause skin rashes

TPE (Thermoplastic Elastomer) yoga mat

Thermoplastic is a mix of thermoplastic and rubber, so it gets the best from both. It is recyclable, solid, flexible, and resists impact well as a thermoplastic. Plus, it’s very lightweight. But, on the other hand, it has elastomer properties such as heat resistance.

Pros Cons
  • Cost effective
  • Long-lasting and durable
  • Odorless
  • Travel-friendly because you can easily fold it
  • Doesn’t absorb moisture well
  • Sun-sensitive so you can’t practice or store under direct sun rays

 Natural Rubber and Polyurethane (PU) yoga mat

Yoga mats made of a mix of normal elastic and polyurethane material mix the surface and maintainability of regular materials and the strength and sturdiness of modern blending.

The normal elastic itself is an excellent material for a yoga mat like we have talked about before. However, polyurethane is basically biodegradable plastic. Presently adding Polyurethane to it improves the mat protection, adaptability, and pad, which are generally inaccessible with regular elastic. Adding Polyurethane likewise reduces down on the expense of unadulterated elastic.

Pros Cons
  • Highly biodegradable, needs 1-5 years to full dissolve
  • Combination of two material get perfect balance of softness and toughness.
  • Easy to clean
  • Perfect grip
  • The model is on the pricey side

Natural rubber yoga mat

Natural rubber is the cleanest material used to make yoga mats. This material is designed with organic polymer and some water. It has been known as a material for yoga mats even earlier than foam or PVC. The surface of such yoga mats may be hard, but that allows good grip properties instead. You should confuse this material with synthetically produced rubber, which is like a natural one.

Pros Cons
  • Environmental friendly
  • Offers good cushioning and is grippy enough
  • Can withstand wear and tear well
  • Provides good worth for its price
  • Are on the pricey side
  • Their thickness makes them difficult to take with you

Jute yoga mat

Jute is a natural material for yoga mats that don’t require much explanation. Since ancient time, it was used to produce carpets and rugs. However, when it comes to yoga mats, manufacturers tend to mix natural jute with some Polymer Environmental Resin for better flexibility of the yoga mat.

Pros Cons
  • Weather-resistant
  • Biodegradable
  • Highly durable
  • Offers proper grip and stability
  • Allows less cushioning than foam and PVC mats
  • Has low heat resistance

Cork yoga mat

Cork is relatively new when it comes to producing yoga mats. Because simply cork will literally slip the ground, all cork yoga mats are produced on the PTE or rubber base. The cork is fully natural because made of tree bark and comes with its pros and cons when you use it.

Pros Cons
  • Extra easy to clean
  • Comes from renewable source
  • Very breathable and absorbs the moisture well
  • Skin-friendly doesn’t cause any allergic reactions because its natural
  • The price is high compared to synthetic yoga mats
  • Has low flexibility which makes it hard to take the mat with you

Hemp+Cotton yoga mat

In fact, ancient yogis used cotton rugs for their practice. However, cotton is a too soft and not durable material for advanced yoga poses. That’s why the manufacturers mix it with hemp and add some rubber base for better contact with the ground.

Pros Cons
  • Fully natural, recyclable and biodegradable
  • Provide great moisture absorption
  • Super lightweight and can be easily carried around
  • Can be folded easily
  • Wear and tear resistance is very low, won’t serve you for years
  • Not cost-effective

About

Stephanie started her yoga journey back in 2018 in an Ashtanga class. She likes to experiment and try new challenging postures and yoga tricks. When off the mat, sharing yoga lifehacks is another thing to do. She believes that energy settled in a safe and physically correct form can make you feel better not only in your body but deep inside your soul too.