Find it! Natural yoga gearPerhaps the single best thing you can do to honor your body and the environment while practicing yoga is to make the switch from a traditional so-called sticky mat to a natural PVC-free yoga mat. Look instead for gear made with natural rubber, jute, dried grass, organic cotton, or thermal plastic elastomer (TPE), a biodegradable compound made of carbon and hydrogen that's reportedly more eco-friendly. Also explore cork yoga blocks and highly-biodegradable soaps like castile.
Buying natural yoga gear help you go green because
- You won't be supporting the production of eco-unfriendly PVC.
- They're made with sustainable ingredients that easily decompose.
Like conventional yoga mats, most yoga tools and accessories, such as blocks, are made from PVC-containing foam or toxic plastics. Environmentally-friendly yoga blocks are made from materials such as cork (a sustainable, easily recycled material), or bamboo (a rapidly-renewable, biodegradable resource).
Yoga enthusiasts often invest in specialized mat-cleaning products, but these, too have eco-consequences. Synthetic detergents used to clean yoga mats may contain chemical cleaning agents like alkylphenol ethoxylates (APEs) that are not easily biodegradable. APEs are among the most widely used groups of surfactants, with about half a million tons produced annually worldwide. The EPA has identified APEs as endocrine disrupters which can affect the reproductive systems of birds and mammals and disrupt the ability of some fish to reproduce, and measurable levels of APEs have been found in some lakes and streams.
- The Green Yoga Association: is a consortium of yoga studios that are dedicated to fostering ecological consciousness in the yoga community, and provides a list of green yoga resources.
- Idealbite - Tired of slip-sliding on your so-called sticky mat? Use a yoga rug or a naturally-made mat instead
- Friends of the Earth - An Environmental Assessment of Alkylphenol Ethoxylates and Alkylphenols
- American Chemical Society Publications - European Bans on Surfactant Trigger Transatlantic Debate
- US Department of Agriculture - Atmospheric Processes of Agricultural Pollutants that Affect Air and Water Quality