You hear so much about eco products and materials now a days that it is hard to separate fact from fiction. To know what eco yoga mat materials are truly not harmful to you and the environment vs. those that are merely presented that way can be a little challenging. But that is what this article is here to help you out with.
First off, the important thing to recognize is your own needs. If you are doing regular yoga likely a rubbery mat that offers you adherence, shock absorption and support is the best way to go. Where as in hot yoga you have to think about sweat absorbency and traction. Secondly you want to make sure that the natural materials can support you to the degree that you need while simultaneously not harming you or the environment. The good news is we do have sufficient options to cover both your needs and the environments at once.
The natural materials that you want to look for are rubber, jute and organic cotton, and if possible sourced from conscious companies that consider people and the earth as well. Second to this completely natural compounds sourced from Mother Nature herself all renewable and biodegradable are a few man made compounds that are ok. I say ok because they are designed to be friendlier but no one does it as well as Mother Nature. These are TPE and PER. Thermo Plastic Elastomer as well as Polymer Environmental Resins. Although these are man made, they do account for the environment in their recyclability and biodegradability. After this the option that is on the table is PVC, which should really be avoided at all costs.
If you are into hot yoga you will definitely want to consider an organic cotton yoga mat or yoga rug. Instead of a Bikram yoga mat towel these are all natural, super absorbent as well as breathable. You can also layer these right over top of any other kind of rubber mat for extra support.
That summarizes the materials available from best to worst. Do your best to find the middle ground of meeting your needs while accounting for the environmental factors as well. If you take both into account you will feel satisfied on every level with your choice.