Yoga is a timeless workout from the orient, not only for the body but also the mind and soul. It requires very few accessories, unlike the traditional form of workouts. Among them, however, the mat is highly essential. It provides a good cushion for landing and pushing the body with the joints.Therefore, it is important to know what are yoga mats made of. 


In addition to that, it provides a good grip so that you do not fall while practicing an asana that demands good balance. Hence, you can start the yoga journey by getting a good mat which will suit your need perfectly.


What Are Yoga Mats Made Of?


To select a mat that is a perfect fit for your needs, you need to know what it is made of. There are some basic qualities a yoga mat must possess. These are, but not limited to the texture, stickiness, cushioning, eco-friendliness, and longevity.


You should keep all of that in mind while selecting a yoga mat. It actually varies from one material to another. So, if you want to avoid injury, learn a bit about them.


The thickness of a yoga mat plays a major role. If it is too thin, it can hurt your joints while practicing. On the other hand, if it has too much padding, you will lose balance. After this, the texture and the stickiness come into play. If the mat is stickier, it has more grip and you will not slip while practising a balancing position. 


On the other hand, if the texture is pointy, it can hurt your skin, causing rashes. The PVC mats have an average stickiness and thickness at a lower price range. However, they are not biodegradable and often people are allergic to them. 


Jute, cotton, or natural rubber are more environment-friendly options, but they cost a bit more. To make your decision on which mat to buy, we will discuss all the mat types based on which material they are made of.

5 Yoga Predominant Mat Materials;
Our Views On each Along With Pros And Cons



# 1 PVC Mats ( Sticky Mats)

These are the most common type of yoga mats you will find in the market, at a base price. These widely popular mats have a slightly sticky surface, which gives rise to the name.

Use these yoga mats at your home or carry them in the yoga studio- it will provide a good grip that is for sure. These are made up of PVC and plastic hybrids with polymers of chemical rubber.

Also, in case you are a beginner and looking for yoga mats, do not forget to checkout our post on Best Yoga Mat for Beginners.



Pros

  • The price point is the main USP for this type of yoga mat. These are widely popular, and you can get them anywhere at a bargain price.
  • It is easier to store, as it does not break down easily.
  • The natural sticky surface is really helpful when you try to practice bending or holding your position for a long time with one hand or leg only.
  • The thickness starts from 0.3 to 0.6 cm. The thicker they are, the more cushion they can provide for your landing. As a beginner, you can always get this one to start practicing.

Cons

  • The chemicals used sometimes may give rise to rashes, as they are not great for the skin.
  • The material is not bio-degradable, so when you cannot use it and throw it away, it directly harms the environment.


# 2 Plastic Elastomer Yoga Mats

Artificial yet environment-friendly- plastic elastomer yoga mat is an amazing product. It is free from commercially used toxic materials like PVC or latex etc. Also, the price is not too much for these products.


They provide great traction while doing yoga. Also, they are resistant to slip. If you have sensitive skin or any breathing problems, these mats will be a good option for you.


Pros

  • In this mat, the absorption of water and moisture is minimal, so you can clean it without breaking a sweat.
  • The price point is comparatively lower among the products with a less negative impact on the environment.

Cons

  • While storing this one, you have to keep it away from direct sunlight to make it last longer. Otherwise, the quality will degrade rapidly.
  • As the water absorption is less, it becomes a problem in areas with high moisture. The sweat sticks to the body, which may cause discomfort and balance trouble.


# 3 Natural Rubber Yoga Mats

If you wish to go all-natural, you can always opt for a natural rubber yoga mat. These mats were among the first kind of yoga products before the cheaper alternatives came to the light. If you wish to lessen your carbon footprint on mother earth and want to try a non-toxic alternative to the PVC mat, do try this one. Barring the price, all the other features are really great with this one.

There is a variation of this kind of mat, called the travel mats. These are ultrathin and foldable. So, if you plan to go out for longer than a weekend, you can pack it and take it away with you, so you can work out even on vacation, in the lap of nature.



Pros

  • It is made from biodegradable and recyclable materials.
  • The natural rubber provides better cushioning and better friction too so that you would not slip while practicing the advanced level poses.
  • The product is more durable too, so even you have to pay more upfront, and you will get your money’s worth.
  • You can easily pack the travel mats and take them to the holiday. This way, you will never miss a yoga session anywhere.

Cons

  • The price point is higher than the commonly available sticky or plastic elastomer yoga mats.
  • You cannot use these travel mats when you are back home, as they are too thin and much usage can break them easily.


# 4 Cotton and Hemp Yoga Mats

Good cushioning and a natural product- you cannot go wrong with cotton and hemp mats. You can use them until the very last day of their lifetime and then recycle them by yourself easily.

The mats made with cotton and hemp have many plus sides- they are soft, they absorb sweat easily. The hemp mats have somewhat of a longer life than the cotton mat due to their dense structure.

They have high elasticity and higher absorption power along with more warmth. As a whole, if you are an intermediate or expert, you can use these mats, especially in the case when you practice daily.

Also Read our Post on How To Wash Yoga Mats In The Washer? Also do checkout out our post on Best Cork Yoga Mats, in case you are interested. 


Pros

  • It is an easily recyclable natural product.
  • The sweat absorption level is great, so you can practice yoga comfortably at high moisture zones too.
  • You can wash them after every use and they dry fast. This makes these mats more hygienic than their competitors.

Cons

  • They are subjected to wear and tear easily. So, they will not last like a sticky or plastic yoga mat.


# 5 Jute Mats

For the eco-friendly yoga enthusiasts, there is another great option. When you choose to go green, do select a jute mat and you are on the right path for this goal.

It is one of the most favourite product among professional yoga enthusiasts. These mats are made from a natural fibre. Jute, the golden fibre from the birthplace of yoga, India, and its neighbours from south-east Asia has many great qualities.

Also, read our post on What Are Yoga Mats Made Of 


Pros

  • The mats are made from natural fibre, which is really great as a base for an eco-friendly workout like yoga.
  • It is really durable, with great tensile strength. The jute mats are absorbent and they offer far better grip than the competitors.
  • The material is naturally breathable, so it does not stink when you store it.
  • A jute mat is easy to wash and clean too.

Cons

  • The price point is higher, as it depends on the availability of natural fibre.
  • Often, you would find chemical fibre mixed with a jute mat if you are not careful enough.
  • Some people, especially beginners, do not like the texture of jute mats over the softer PVC alternatives.

Conclusion

You have a wide variety of yoga mats made of different materials to select from. Depending on your choice, health, and lifestyle, you can pick the one you love most. When selecting the one that will suit your need, keep in mind what kind of yoga you are going to practice.

If you are going to practice a classic yoga pose, you can go for anyone of them. On the other hand, for aerobics and athletic yoga, go for PVC or natural rubber mat. If you are conscious about the environmental impact, you can opt for the greener options.

Otherwise, you can start with a cheap PVC sticky option in the beginning, and then work your way up. If you take yoga seriously and practice it seriously, you can always select a jute or hemp option for a more aesthetic experience.

Do Not forget to check out our post on  Best Yoga Mats and Best Yoga Mat Brands.