Yoga Mats: Sustainable vs. Toxic

Yoga mats - Toxic vs Sustainable

Before I discovered the uplifting benefits of the downward dog, I thought I was doing the right thing to keep my body in balance.

      To be honest, before my first eye-opening injury, I didn’t think much at all about bodily maintenance. But at this moment, my post-injury self wishes I could hop in a time machine and go whack my pre-injury self across the head with a yoga mat. Maybe you know the feeling.

I made the common mistake of living by a “don’t fix it if it ain’t broke” philosophy. This mindset is easy to slip into nowadays. As busy as our lives are, it’s difficult to maintain perspective of everything around us. So we stick with what appears to work, even when things are going horribly wrong just out of view.
In the yoga world, what appears to work is so called “sticky mats.” Most of the 20 million yogis in the U.S. have them. [1] They’re popular, they’re cheap, and they’re grippy enough to keep your triangle pose from collapsing in a painful way. They appear to work, so why fix them? Let’s all take some time to inhale, exhale, and bend down to examine what’s right under our feet.

Your average yoga mat is made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) mixed with a cocktail of additives called plasticizers, which make the PVC soft and sticky. The most common plasticizers contain heavy metals like lead and cadmium, and a class of chemicals called phthalates. Phthalates mimic estrogen and disrupt the endocrine system, among many other health problems. Phthalates are easily released into the environment, especially as plastics age, because they don’t bond well to plastics. [2] Phthalates accumulate in the body and are suspected to cause developmental defects in unborn infants. A recent study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that five percent of women between age 20 and 40 had up to 45 times more phthalates in their bodies than researchers initially hypothesized. Phthalate levels were 20 times higher in women of child-bearing age than the rest of the population. [3]

PVC itself is extremely toxic, although bewilderingly prevalent. The EPA classifies vinyl chloride as a Class A human carcinogen. Long-term exposure has been shown to “increase the risk of a rare form of liver cancer in humans.” There is even such a thing called “vinyl chloride disease” in manufacturing workers, which is characterized by numbness and changes in bone structure in the fingers, joint and muscle pain, and scleroderma-like skin changes, among other things. [4]

The good news is that there is a non-toxic alternative that is better for the environment and for all human beings involved, including you. Yoloha sustainable yoga mats are made with recycled materials and non-toxic Greenguard adhesives. They are assembled in the U.S., where sustainability, quality and safety can be ensured. The cork and rubber used in Yoloha mats are repurposed waste products, and their durability ensures that these mats stay out of a landfill for many years. With a Yoloha mat, you can finally take a deep breath, look down, and know exactly what’s under your feet.

1. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/06/american-yoga_n_2251360.html
2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phthalate
3. http://environment.about.com/od/healthenvironment/a/phthalates.htm
4. http://www.epa.gov/ttn/atw/hlthef/vinylchl.html

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *