Yoga – a way to look inward and master the mind and body, and evolve into a state of constant meditation. This method of self-exploration, relies heavily on raising our perception and receptivity.
Traditionally yogis used “asans” or seats to practice their sadhana predominantly made out of grass, animal skin, cotton or silk. Today we refer to them as yoga mats, and they are predominantly made out of PVC, PER, TPE, rubber and cork. Each material yielding its own set of benefits depending on the kind of practice and the kind of grip we are looking for. There is one vital drawback though, and this drawback is insulation! One thing we don’t want happening during our practice, to disconnect from the Earth and weaken our receptivity.

Unlike eco-friendly yoga mats, which are often made with synthetic but degradable materials, natural yoga mats are made with 100% natural biodegradable materials like grass and cotton, which are traditionally known for allowing free flow of energy, the more intense we become, the more receptive we become. This property makes natural yoga mats an added source of support for the disciple and also for the planet because we are investing in something that will return to Earth naturally. Each mat is handcrafted, fully natural and made unique to the purpose of yoga, intimately supporting the yogis’ practice.

Returning to the topic of synthetic materials modern day yoga mats are made out of, PVC – a popular choice, is a versatile material used for many different applications across industries, but as we pay more attention to the its lifecycle we see how this material could potentially cause more harm than good.

PVC has been labelled the “most toxic plastic” by the Healthy Child Healthy World and vinyl chloride, the chemical used to make PVC, has been labelled a human carcinogen by the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer. According to a study by “The Center for Health, Environment, and Justice”, PVC is held responsible for many tumors and fetal malformations.

The reason being, its high chlorine content creates toxic pollutants called dioxins. Anyone who has ever used a PVC mat can vouch for the “off-gassing” or leakage of the chemicals into the air, which is evident in its strong pungent smell. This off-gassing continues even in landfills, as the toxic dioxins and phthalates seep into the soil, contaminating water bodies. Attempts to recycle PVC fail as well, since the additives used in the manufacturing process to make it resistant and flexible contaminate the whole recycling process. Many consumers may not be aware that the “3” symbol affixed to plastic means PVC, and recycling such products isn’t feasible as they would result in unusable containers. In fact, a single PVC bottle can contaminate a recycling process of 100,000 PET bottles.

While embarking on a journey to connect with the cosmos, our faculties of mind, body and energies need to work at their optimum. After all, that is all we have with us as human beings, and what we trying to achieve through any spiritual practice or any practice aimed at our well-being is just this, that we make our faculties in the best possible way, according to our own abilities. So, choosing a mat that supports good health, connectivity and vibrancy comes naturally. A yoga mat is a tool, the abode of our practices, and definitely not a space for breeding disease. Not for ourselves or for the beings around us.

With an easy yet impactful choice we can create a solid foundation where we support the well-being of our planet and of the future generations by taking care of our well-being.

This post was upcycled from Nishchala Crafts.

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