Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Which mat is best for Astanga yoga?
Many people like the Premium Black Mat, but honestly, using the Mysore Practice Rug over any yoga mat available, is the ideal surface for Astanga yoga practice. It is the traditional cotton yoga mat, recommended by Pattabhi Jois, that is being used for Astanga Yoga practice in Mysore, India today. The nice thing about the Black Mat is that it is very dense and lays very flat and firm on any surface so it is good for stability in your practice.
Q: What is your best Yoga Mat?
The best mat is really determined by your personal preference, but here are some considerations:
The Premium Black Mat is the highest quality mat. It is firm, dense, and heavy (approximately 7 lbs. for the 71", 11 lbs. for the 100"). It will last longer than any other mat. It is preferred by many serious Yoga practitioners since it lays flat on any ground surface be it grass, sand, carpet, or hardwood floors.
Our Barefoot Hybrid Eco Mats stick firmly to the floor, and provide a great surface for Yoga. They are 1/8" thick, and come in many colors. The Hybrid mats are an eco-friendly alternative to the standard Sticky Mat used by many Yoga practitioners. You will get a long life out of this mat for a great, low price. The more the surface is worn in, the better the traction is, so you can say that these mats get better with age. Also see the Hybrid Nature Sticky Mat for unique colors and patterns.
The 1/4 Barefoot Hybrid Eco Mat is twice as thick as the regular Hybrid mat, but weighs only slightly more. It is not as dense as an 1/8 mat, but does provide better padding for knees and ankles. It comes in many colors, and is a wonderful mat. Also see the Hybrid Nature Ultra Mat for more colorful options.
The Nomad Travel Mat by prAna is a very thin mat which folds to fit easily into most suitcases. It is effective for motivating Yoga practice on trips, and is best for aligning yourself for standing poses. It is a good non-stick buffer between the floor and a Practice Rug, but is generally not recommended as the sole mat for your Yoga practice.
Q: What is the difference between a mat and rug?
Our Mysore Practice Rugs are made of 100% cotton and are excellent for achieving traction when you are slipping on your mat. Most practitioners of Ashtanga and Bikram yoga prefer the combination of both a sticky mat and a rug. Read more about the benefits of using a rug for your practice by clicking here.
Q: Why Buy an Eco Mat Instead of a Regular Yoga Mat?
We offer a wide range of Yoga Mats on our web site. As a company, we are committed to supporting the environmental movement so that we can contribute to a cleaner and healthier planet for all (see our Green Business Commitment).
Traditional mats can be an excellent surface for yoga practice. However, these mats are made from PVC's (polyvinyl chlorides) that release dioxins and other carcinogens into the atmosphere during manufacturing. Toxic additives migrate into their surroundings in the form of gas and small particles. Thousands and thousands of mats and other products are made with PVC, and none are biodegradable or recyclable. Hence the need for more eco-friendly alternatives.
Q: What's the Difference Between your Eco Mats?
The ORIGINAL ECO YOGA MAT is made of Jute and Natural Rubber. The Eco Yoga Mat is the only sticky mat which contains no synthetic materials of any kind. These are totally PVC free and the rubber offers an ultra slip-resistant surface. They are hand washable and 100% biodegradable. Because the Jute fabric helps to absorb sweat, the mat remains sticky even when wet. Some individuals are allergic to rubber (latex), though this mat attempts to minimize latex dust. Mats made of rubber may not last as long as synthetic mats, especially if they're exposed to the sun.
Our BAREFOOT YOGA HYBRID ECO MAT is made from PER (Polymer Environmental Resin). Whereas the feel and durability of this mat is similar to PVC mats, it is better for your health and for the environment. This mat contains none of PVCs toxic elements (no Phthalate, no Phenol, no Dioxins & Furans, and no Heavy Metals) and is latex free. It scores high in biodegradability tests breaking down into small pellets in a landfill.
The NATURAL JUTE AND PER ECO-FRIENDLY YOGA MAT is made from a combination of natural jute fibers and PER (Polymer Environmental Resin). The mat has a unique look and feel that comes from meshing jute fibers with PER. This mat has a very similar texture to the Prana mat.
The E.C.O MAT BY PRANA is made from TPE. It contains no PVCs and is latex free. The E.C.O mat provides the strength, durability and performance needed for the most rigorous and consistent of practices, yet uses no toxic materials in its production.
You might also want to consider one of the safest and most earth-friendly options --- a MYSORE YOGA PRACTICE RUG, made from 100% cotton and the first type of yoga mat to be used in India.
Q: How do I care for my mat?
Eliminating the residue on a new mat
Most yoga mats incur a thin residue during their production that can feel slippery when first using the mat. This “factory layer” can be wiped off with a wet rag, or will disappear over a breaking in period. This residue will clean off (it has nowhere to go but off!) when cleaning the mat. Please do not use a cleaning solution that is too soapy or the soap may create another slippery residue.
Sticky, Ultra, Travel and all ECO Mats
If your mat is lightly dirty, using a spray bottle or damp cloth, wet the soiled surface with water then wipe it dry with a clean terry cloth towel. Or consider using our Yoga Mat Cleansing Wipes or Yoga Mat Cleansing Spray. Both are natural products created specifically to help clean your mat and leave a fresh smell.
If your mat becomes very dirty, wash it in a tub of cool water and mild detergent. These mats are NOT machine washable. Use only a small amount of soap because any residue may cause your mat to become slippery when it is wet with perspiration. Rub mat with a soft cloth or let soak. Rinse thoroughly.
To hasten the mat's drying time, lay it on a dry towel and roll the mat and towel together like a sleeping bag. Step on the rolled up mat and towel to squeeze most of the water from your mat into the towel. Unroll your mat and hang it to air dry.
With use and washing your mat should become softer and stickier.
Premium Black Mat
Unlike most yoga mats, the black mat has a top and bottom surface. The top has a fabric-like finish. The bottom is smooth. Either side is useable, depending on personal preference.
If you store your mat rolled up, try rolling it so the surface you use is to the outside. This keeps the corners of the mat flat on the floor when practicing.
Both surfaces, prior to use, have a thin film which wears off after several sessions. Like most mats, there is a "breaking-in" period where rubber "smell" diminishes and the surface becomes more tackible. We have users who report that leaving the mat out in the sun for a day helps remove the "new" odor and breakdown the film.
To clean your mat or speed up the break-in period, a non-solvent type household cleaner and a damp cloth handles most situations.
These mats are NOT machine washable.
Q: What Can I Do With My Mat When it Wears Out?
A: Don't throw it away! Here are many creative suggestions from Yogis on how to reuse your old yoga mat:
While taking my dog to the vet or groomer or just for a ride with the top down, I noticed her feet would scratch the leather going around curves. So I decided to take an old yoga mat and roll it out over the back seat of my car. Wha la! She is comfy and can do her own version of downward dog without scratching my seats!
L. S., Powell, OH
Drop off your old mat at an animal rescue group. Most of these places need soft, durable mats, rugs, towels, & blankets to line crates. The poor helpless and homeless animals need comfort too!
P. O., Highland Park, NJ
My children love play dough! This mat will be excellent for play dough and other messy projects because it will make cleaning up a lot easier.
F. F., Owings Mills, MD
My old yoga mat makes a great liner under my house plants. It protects my rug from water marks great. You can even cut it to fit each plant!
D. T., Battle Ground, WA
Use it to smother weeds in your garden. Just place the mat over a section of your garden and the mat and the sun's heat will smother weeds and their seeds. Then when it is time to sew your seeds just remove the mat and move it to another spot in your garden.
J. M., Woodbury, CT
Cut the mat into squares and use them as "bases" while playing baseball with the kids. Easy to carry and easy to clean!
J. C., New York, NY
I made one of those garden knee pads to kneel on by cutting the mat into even sections and binding the ends with twine.
K. F., Manassas, VA
Shred and use for jungle gym at the end of the slide. Ooh, comfy landings!
R. N., Minneapolis, MN
Grip pads to open jars.
A. F., Grapevine, TX
Cut to size and use as foot pads for the bottom of furniture that is on a wood or ceramic floor. Glue on pieces with a non-toxic adhesive. One mat will go a long way!
E. W., Tampa, FL
I like to use my mat at soccer games or anywhere I need to sit. It keeps me from sitting in the wet grass, mud, or bird poop on a bench. I can just hose it off and let it dry.
C. G., Westminster, CA
Camping Mat. Just place it under your sleeping bag for extra padding when enjoying the outdoors. It reduces pack load for those who like to do yoga on camping trips.
S. F., Brooklyn, NY
When traveling with your infant it's a great idea to take an old mat along for safe bath time. Simply place it on the bottom of the tub and you don't have to worry about your little one slipping around!
K. S., Spearfish, SD
No more messy packing peanuts! Old yoga mats get a new life as a protector of valuables while moving or shipping. Perfect for glassware or anything else that you don't want chipped, broken, or otherwise damaged. Simply cut into the appropriate sizes, wrap and voila!
J. F., Dexter, MI
My sweet dog is 13 years old now and cold wooden floors don't do much for her joints. My old exercise mat makes an instant pad for her when we're a floor away from her usual sleeping spot.
V. R., Irvington, NY
My pet carriers get sticky mats so my pets have good footing when being transported to the vet, especially my cats who can more easily slide around . The mat pieces give them great footing.
S. L., Indianapolis, IN
Make children's toys: Cut circles out and make frisbees; cut holes and create masks, hats, costumes and props; cut into shapes and letters for tub and pool toys.
R. N., Minneapolis, MN
Work on your car to avoid high maintenance costs? My dad loves to use one to make the concrete just a little warmer and more bearable. Hose it off afterward to keep it clean.
C. R., Baltimore, MD
Cut to fit closet floors or place in foyers as a place for muddy shoes
J. F., Fort Myers, FL
For garage music studios hang and tack against walls for a nice aesthetic effect while also providing sound-proofing. It can also be tacked to the back of an upright piano for the same purposes.
C. A., Long Beach, CA
Give to nursing homes for people to have next to their beds so they don't slip while getting in and out of bed.
P. W., Kennedyville, MD
Keeping an old yoga mat in the car is great for those spur of the moment picnics, keeping groceries from sliding around in the trunk, a padded seat at a sports game or a myriad of other uses limited only to your imagination.
K. H., Lancaster, CA