I haven’t done yoga for a few years and just started getting back into it after my newfound hatred of PVC. I was smelling my very old mat in class in the dreaded Pigeon Pose and instead of smelling like feet as you might suspect, it still smells of plastic. This mat is like 10 years old and it’s still offgassing. Anytime something smells of plastic, (vinyl shower curtains are a great example), it likely contains PVC, the Poison Plastic.
Isn’t it ironic that we try to take care of ourselves by doing yoga and then we’re not only poisoning ourselves, but also the Earth with our mats? Even the Gaiam mat which has been rid of toxins, is still made of PVC.
As we’ve discussed, chemicals used and released in the PVC (polyvinyl chloride) lifecycle include pthalates (carcinogen), dioxin (carcinogen), and vinyl chloride (carcinogen). In adults, the Poison Plastic has been linked to birth defects, cancer (particularly breast cancer), endocrine system disruption, reproductive impairment, and immune system suppression. Clearly, you don’t want to spend a lot of quality time with any PVC product, particularly not your yoga mat.
What Can You Do?
- You can invest in an EcoYoga mat. These are a little expensive and are made in the UK, but you can order them online and your health is worth it
- You can invest in a Blue Lotus mat
- You can buy a cotton yoga mat (ouch, my hipbones hurt just thinking about it)
- You can practice on a wool rug or another eco-friendly rug without a PVC backing
- Look for a mat that says both PVC and phthalate free, and let me know if you find other options
- You can turn your old yoga mat into an Earthship