When you go to a yoga class, the sea of mats laid out on the floor is usually pretty boring. Plain blue, black, and purple aren't exactly an expression of your unique personalty, so why not design your own? At yogamatic.com, you can upload any photo or drawing and it will be made into a 100 percent biodegradable foam mat. You'll also receive a mat bag and a good feeling knowing that a percentage of the price ($85) goes to Global Green, a non-profit focused on preventing climate change. It's a great way to inspire your yoga practice while doing something that supports the Earth.
When it comes to yoga mats, Manduka is hands down my absolute favorite brand, and I never practice without my Black Mat PRO. It's durable, thick, and firm, and still looks exactly the same as the day I bought it. It's heavy, though, weighing in at seven pounds, and doesn't come cheap at the steep price of $85 (although it's worth every penny).
If you're looking for a thinner, lighter, and less-expensive mat, then you'll love its new eKO Lite Mat ($42). It weighs 3.5 pounds, so it travels easily, but the best part is that it's environmentally friendly. This Manduka mat is made from non-Amazon harvested, natural tree rubber. It contains no PVC or toxic plasticizers, and will leave no footprint in landfills. This mat has a wonderfully grippy surface and doesn't lose its stickiness even when I sweat. Plus, the material won't flake or disintegrate with use, so you'll have this mat for years to come. I think the mat's endurance makes it environmentally friendly as well.
There's something even more special about this green eKO Lite Mat. To find out the details read more
Since Summer is fast approaching, I have been thinking about some ways to make seasonal changes in my home. While I think a good shag rug is great for creating a cozy wintry vibe in your home, when the temperature rises, it's time to switch it up. To achieve a cooler look and feel to combat the heat of Spring and Summer, go with a flat weave Dhurrie or plastic floor matting instead. This durable Floral Pattern Reversible All-Weather Floor Mat ($39), which is made entirely from recycled soda bottles, is a great option, and it will stand up well to messy foot traffic as you come in from your garden or the beach.
If you practice yoga regularly, chances are you've been through more than one mat. Since many of them are thin and begin to disintegrate with repeated use, you end up having to replace it at least once a year. Instead of mindlessly throwing out your mat, you can be green and recycle it. Visit the Recycle Your Mat website — the first mat recycling program.
Just wash and dry it, roll it, package it in brown paper, and mail it to:
Recycle Your Mat
4777 Larkwood Street
Eugene, OR 97405
Once they receive your mat, you'll receive a confirmation email with a coupon for 20 percent off an eco-friendly Manduka mat or other Manduka product. In 2008, 50 percent of the mats were "upcycled" into yoga products, and 30 percent were donated to local community programs. The remaining mats will be upcycled in 2009. It's a great way to do your part and keep mats out of landfills.
When I envision practicing yoga, I think of deep breathing, calmness, melting tension, and an open body and mind. All those good things can quickly turn bad if you lower your face to your mat in Child's Pose and get a whiff of funkiness. Then when you realize the horrid aroma is emanating from your own mat, you may want to roll it up and head out the door. This is the whole reason you bought your own mat in the first place — to avoid contact with germs, bacteria, dirt, and overall stinkiness. If you have a hard time remembering to air out your mat at home, here's an easy solution. Get in the habit of keeping a package of all natural wipes in your mat bag. I like these lavender scented surface wipes from Mrs. Meyers ($4 for 24). They don't take up much room in your mat bag, and it only takes one minute to wipe down your mat to get rid of the sweat, dust, dead skins cells, and germs that can make your mat smell or make you sick. Let it air dry while you change into your clothes. Then roll your mat up, slip it into your mat bag, and your it will be fresh and clean for your next yoga or Pilates class.
For some of you, one of your New Year's resolutions may be to try yoga. Aside from the motivation to go to class, you'll also need your very own yoga mat.
While looking for a mat, you may realize that they have one thing in common — they're all one solid boring color. So if you want a mat with a little more pizzazz, check out Devi mats. They have eight nature-inspired designs that feel like you're practicing on a life-size photograph or painting. I have the Earth Mat and I love the tacky surface that prevents my hands and feet from slipping. It's 1/4-inch thick, so it's lightweight and can be used for yoga and strength-training exercises.
As soon as I stepped on my mat for the first time, I felt a renewed sense of happiness and energy that I never felt with my plain-Jane Black Mat. They're on sale for $100, marked down from $120, which I know still seems pricey. But if this mat inspires you to practice yoga, then it's totally worth it.
To see the other exciting Devi designs read more
If you still haven't gotten your fill of the faux bois trend, thanks to the Chilewich Woodgrain Floormat ($69.95), you can do so without breaking the bank. The faux bois mat is made of vinyl-coated polyester, so it's durable, stain resistant, and easy to clean. And its rubber back will keep you from slipping around. The 2-x-3-foot size is the only one available, but I think it'd make a great little rug in front of your kitchen sink or stove. And while it's definitely not the most natural mat you could buy, you can sleep tight knowing that no trees were harmed in the making of this mat.
A welcome mat can add personality to the most mundane, run-of-the-mill exterior. It's inviting, and if you have a monogrammed mat, it's a great way to signal to your guests that you live there. Do you have one?
If you're looking for a new bag for your Yoga mat, but you don't want it to look like your average mat or gym bag. Then you're going to love these adorable J&PYoga bags. The initials stand for "joy" and "peace" (aww). The woman who started this business wanted her company to be socially responsible, so part of the proceeds of each bag is donated to The Smile Train, a charity that provides cleft surgery for children who otherwise can't afford it. Her hope is that her bags will bring smiles to the people who use them, and they'll smile even more knowing they helped a child smile, too.
The bags come in four styles, and the Abigail ($89.95) is pictured above. I love the pink and mint green modern fabric inside the bag, and the fact that it has a key clip sewn in (I can never find my keys when they're loose in the bottom of my bag). There's a big zippered compartment inside too so you can stash a snack, wallet, or cell phone. Each bag comes with an eye pillow (perfect for Savasana), and a strap to modify poses. This bag is super roomy and lightweight; it can even handle a heavy Manduka Black Mat inside with room to spare for a water bottle and change of clothes. I like how the straps are long, so it feels more like a purse than a mat bag.To see the other styles, click the images below.