Vitality, Adventure, Yoga and Fun!

Pillow Talk

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OK, well not REALLY pillow talk.

But let’s talk yoga mats. Other than the sheets on our bed, paying attention to what we’re rolling around on is important to us yogis. Several years ago we started hearing about how nasty our yoga mats are. Namely, they’re nasty because they are made of PVC (polyvinyl chloride) a non-biodegradable environmental toxin. Ick. I could go on and on about what that means for our yoga practice, but if you just google PVC + yoga mats, you can do your own research.

Now, I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve been using the same, $20 Gaiam yoga mat I bought at Target for five years. :::shudders at the thought:::: It was affordable, and orange and had beautiful floral prints all over it. And I’m sure contained PVC. But I never thought twice about it. Until I started yoga teacher training.

And let me tell you, you aren’t COOL in the YTT world until you have a high quality, “serious” yoga mat. On Day Two our teacher mentioned something about “cheap Target mats” in such a way that we all began anxiously squirming around, trying to hide the fact that we all actually own them. Oh, the horror.

Slowly, over the past 6 weeks of YTT, I’ve noticed a trend…. there is a sharply declining population of brightly colored and patterned yoga mats. They’ve been replaced by serious, neutral-colored mats. As a group, we’ve become serious yogis with serious mats ;). (Said trend is soon to be followed by mala beads- already they’re popping up left and right in class as well)

But it was only a matter of time before I took advantage of our YTT student discount and bought myself a Jade mat.


Now, there are a lot of high quality, environmentally friendly yoga mats on the market. Jade yoga mats are sustainably made from renewable sources of natural rubber in the United States. And even cooler, Jade Yoga plants one tree for every mat sold. Now that’s some savasana you can feel good about! Of course, this one set me back about $60, even with my discount, but hey, I’m freeing my conscience.

When I rolled into my first class with my new Jade mat, I felt cool. I was now a serious, non-PVC-breathing, Earth-loving yogi.

But the real magic (ie: not ego-driven) happened when I began practicing. Having a high quality mat has really already improved my practice. I feel solid and supported from asana to asana. I’m not sliding around as much and my tender knee caps feel nice and cushy. Investment well worth it- I’m officially converted.

Of course, the ultimate environmentally friendly yogi choice is to use Mother Nature herself- I came across this photo from a few years ago in San Diego in which I happily used the sand as my mat.


But not everyone has a beach to practice on. So go get yourself a new mat if you wish- and be sure to donate your old one to a local animal shelter- those little buddies need some comfy support too!


Author: vitadventure

30-something psychotherapist, yoga teacher, wife, shelter dog "Mom", yogi, traveler, wine and food lover

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