Back in 2015, before we launched Second Earth, we spent over 12 months researching and testing various materials and manufacturing partners in our quest to develop the best eco yoga mat.
We found that there were two main types of yoga mat that delivered the performance we demanded as well as being truly eco-friendly - natural rubber and jute yoga mats and cork yoga mats.
Both mats work really well in terms of functionality for yoga but there a couple of differences as noted below.
Natural Rubber and Jute Yoga Mats
Natural rubber and jute yoga mats are completely biodegradable. They are also grippy, dense and have decent weight meaning they won’t slide around during your practice.
Our natural rubber and jute yoga mat is the 2E ‘Connected’. In our 2E ‘Connected’ yoga mat we embed the jute layer slightly into the natural rubber surface to create a textured feeling and to maximise grip. But because the jute is slightly embedded into the surface, they are still quite soft and not hard or abrasive.
Our 2E ‘Connected’ mats are designed to be grippy as soon as they are unrolled and are a great all round mat for all types of yoga.
Why jute you ask? The jute fibres in this yoga mat reinforce the natural rubber which gives the mat better structure, strength and durability. Jute combines breathability with high tensile strength which gives a natural high-quality surface with excellent anti-slip properties.
Plain natural rubber mats are also available on the market and these are also a great eco-friendly option. But without the jute layer to give them structure, they can more easily warp and lose shape over time.
When considering a natural rubber and jute yoga mat be sure to look out for brands that sustainably source their natural rubber from natural rubber tree farms and not from tropical rainforests or Amazon forests.
Cork Yoga Mats
Cork has several amazing features like being extremely durable, buoyant, grippy, easy to clean and naturally antibacterial just to name a few.
Our cork yoga mat is our 2E ‘Affinity’. Cork yoga mats have a very smooth and cushioned surface which can be preferable for yogis who like a softer surface or have sensitive knees and hands. We find that some of our older customers love the softer surface of our cork mats.
Cork yoga mats become super grippy when they become a little wet or when you start to sweat so are great for hot yoga. To maximise grip from the start of practice with a cork yoga mat you can lightly spritz the mat with a clean water or a cork mat spray.
When looking for a cork yoga mat try to find one with a natural rubber backing like our 2E ‘Affinity’. Some other brands use cheaper options like PER or TPE as the backing for their cork mats but these materials are not great for people or the planet.
SummaryBoth our 2E ‘Connected’ (natural rubber and jute) and 2E ‘Affinity’ (cork and natural rubber) yoga mats are 100% sustainable and biodegradable. So both are super eco options if you are after a natural and sustainable yoga mat. Oh yeah, and we throw in a complimentary carry strap with each mat also.