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Buying Eco-Friendly Yoga Props

Updated on October 8, 2014

Eco Yoga Props: Mats, Blocks, Straps, Blankets

Are you in the market for new yoga props and equipment? And do you consider yourself environmentally-minded? "Going green", and choosing well-made eco-friendly yoga props will help minimize the production of materials that are harmful to people and to the environment.

The most commonly used yoga props include mats, blocks, straps, and blankets. Much of the yoga equipment you can choose is made from materials that aren't particularly friendly to the environment during production. For instance, the cheapest and most common yoga mats are made from PVC (polyvinyl chloride), which during production releases toxic material and carcinogens. It's also not easily recyclable.

When it's time for you to buy new yoga props consider items that are healthier for the planet while you practice yoga to promote your own health and well-being.

I've included here a few recommendations for the best earth-friendly yoga props that I could find.

Image of my favorite yoga mat, the Jade Harmony Yoga Professional Mat.

Eco-Friendly Yoga Mats

If you practice yoga, you know that a yoga mat is the most essential piece of equipment that you'll use for your practice.

It's easy to find inexpensive yoga mats, but the majority of these low-cost mats are made from PVC (polyvinyl chloride). PVC is one of the most commonly-used synthetic materials, but it's also been called a major environmental health disaster because of the toxic byproducts that are produced during its manufacture.

You want your practice of yoga to help heal the earth, not to add more harmful toxins to the environment!

Best Eco Yoga Mats

Natural rubber yoga mats are my top choice

Natural Rubber Yoga Mats are made from a sustainable resource, and are biodegradable. These are not recommended if you're allergic to latex, or if you're very sensitive to the smell of rubber, but otherwise natural rubber yoga mats are my top eco-friendly choice. These three mats have at least a 4 out of 5 star rating by customers on Amazon.

Jade Harmony Professional Yoga MatCHECK PRICE

Manduka eKO 5mm Natural Rubber Yoga MatCHECK PRICE

Gaiam Sol Shakti Mat (4 mm) Natural rubberCHECK PRICE

Eco Yoga Mats From Synthetic Materials - TPE and PER

The yoga mats featured here are made from man-made materials that are PVC-free and latex-free. They're usually less expensive than the natural rubber yoga mats.

TPE (ThermoPlastic Elastomer) yoga mats are less expensive than natural rubber mats and are recyclable under heat and pressure. No toxic materials are used during production, and the waste material from production is recycled back through the production process. I have a few TPE yoga mats in my yoga studio, which many of my students prefer over the thinner mats I also provide. They've stood up well to frequent use.

PER (Polymer Environmental-friendly Resin) yoga mats are also considered more environmentally sound than the usual PVC mats. PER is produced from PVC but there are extra steps during the production which eliminates the release of toxic chemicals. PER has little to no harmful emissions even when burned, and it can be recycled more easily than PVC.

These four mats all have at least a 4 out of 5 star approval rating on Amazon.

Read More About Eco-Friendly Yoga Mats

Read about the pros and cons of various eco yoga mats and the materials they're made of in Best Eco-Friendly Yoga Mats. My favorite yoga mat (and the one I've been using for over 2 years now) is the Jade Harmony Professional Yoga mat, made from natural rubber.

Best Eco-Friendly Yoga Mats
An Eco-friendly Yoga Mat is a yoga mat that's made from materials that aren't toxic to people or the environment. Some eco-friendly yoga mats are made from r...

Jade Harmony Professional Yoga Mat
As a yoga teacher, and as someone who's trying to make more environmentally-friendly choices in the way I live, I've put much thought into what type of yoga ...

Eco Yoga Blocks

Eco-friendly yoga blocks are made from natural sustainable materials such as cork, bamboo, or balsa wood, or from non-toxic EVA foam.

Natural, sustainable materials:

  • Cork is from the bark of the cork oak tree, and is a quickly renewable resource since only the bark of the tree is used, and new bark grows after harvesting.
  • Bamboo is a very fast-growing grass, and can be harvested every 3 - 5 years. Bamboo is as strong as oak, and bamboo products are known for their durability..
  • Balsa is a soft wood, and also grows very quickly, making it another good sustainable resource.

Synthetic, non-toxic material:

  • EVA foam is a synthetic material that is non-toxic and is considered safe enough to be used for baby teethers, baby toys, and for equipment used in neonatal intensive care units. Unlike PVCs, EVA doesn't use chlorine or plasticizers in its production, both of which lead to the emission of toxic materials. EVA foam is a good choice for eco yoga blocks.

Cork Yoga Blocks

My Favorite Eco-Friendly Yoga Blocks

I prefer cork yoga blocks over other materials, and they're the only kind of blocks I use in my yoga studio. The blocks are light-weight, and durable, and I've never had a problem with any of them during the 6 years we've been using them. Cork has antimicrobial properties, which is a great benefit to yoga studios where many people will be using the equipment.

Cork blocks usually come in either 3" or 4" widths.. Here are my recommendations for buying your own cork yoga blocks. Price ranges from $13 - $20 per block. You'll want two!

Hugger Mugger Cork Yoga BlockCHECK PRICE

Yoga Monster Cork Yoga Blocks, 2 sizesCHECK PRICE

YogaAccessories (TM) 4'' Cork Yoga BlockCHECK PRICE

Bamboo and Balsa Wood Yoga Blocks

Good quality bamboo yoga blocks are a little more expensive than cork yoga blocks -- $20 - $25. Don't buy the cheaper bamboo blocks because they may warp and break, according to different reviews. The balsa wood block by Jade Yoga comes in two different sizes and two different densities, and costs $18 - $23.

EVA Foam Yoga Block - The environmentally safer foam block

I only found one yoga block that specifically says it's made of EVA foam. Most other foam yoga blocks are made of polystyrene, which is a material that may contribute to environmental and health concerns.

Eco Conscious Yoga Straps

Yoga straps in general are relatively eco-friendly, but you can go a step further and buy yoga straps that are made from organic cotton, natural unbleached cotton, or hemp. I recommend that you buy a strap with a metal buckle rather than a plastic buckle. Metal buckles are more durable, and more environmentally friendly than plastic buckles.

Manduka Natural Unbleached Cotton StrapCHECK PRICE

Aurorae 8-Foot Natural Unbleached CottonCHECK PRICE

Gaiam - Eco Yoga Straps 6' Organic CottonCHECK PRICE

Eco Friendly Yoga Blankets

The most environmentally-friendly yoga blankets would include natural wool blankets, chemical-free 100% cotton blankets, and blankets made from recycled fibers.

I prefer the colorful patterned cotton blankets made from recycled fibers, but you can't specify colors in the patterned blankets shown in the option below. Wool is very supportive, but some of us find it too scratchy.

Have you started using eco yoga props?

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    • KarenHC profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from U.S.

      @SmartYoga: The Manduka is a very high quality mat -- heavy, but as you say will last for a long, long time.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      I have a Manduka mat, it's PVC but is manufactured in an eco-friendly way which feels great. It also doesn't wear out, so I don't have to throw away mats as they wear out... Thanks for a great overview, I'll definitely get more eco friendly stuff as I go!


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