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Eco Yoga Mat FAQ
Frequently Asked Questions:
Why should I use an environmentally friendly mat?
Yoga mats have become the major accessory to yoga practitioners and with the ever increasing trend it means millions and millions of mats are out there being bought, used and disposed. These mats eventually find their way to the landfill sites. ecoYoga believe that the postures on your yoga mat are the beginning of a journey to protect and promote the health and well-being of your body and mind. If this inner awareness is awakened, one hopes it finds reflection in the external world. Practicing on a shiny glossy plastic mat made as cheaply as possible for maximum profit, could be viewed as the antithesis of yoga. It is a simple gesture to practice on a mat created with yoga in mind from renewable resources.
The people at ecoYoga just thought it would be lovely to be able to practice on something a bit closer to nature, something aesthetically considered but still with a good grip!
Why are ecoYoga mats environmental?
ecoYoga mats are made from entirely natural plant based material. They are PVC free (PVC is a long term pollutant plastic). At the end of the Yoga mat's life they can be composted - making them completely eco-friendly.
How do I care for my ecoYoga mat?
It is important to let your ecoYoga mat breathe as much as possible, especially if you work up a sweat on to it. Wiping down with a damp cloth before and after class is good practice. The mats wash well in the washing machine through a cool cycle using a small amount of detergent if really dirty. They will retain a lot of water. Remove excess amounts by rolling up with a dry towel - the old traditional woolens method! Dry flat to avoid creasing (though these will eventually smooth out). Do not attempt to use a tumble dryer to dry your mat. Avoid contact with oils and store out of direct sunlight as both these will increase degradation of the rubber.
The jute on my mat is not perfect. Is this a fault?
The weave of jute chosen for the design of ecoYoga mats is quite loose and soft. Inherent in this weave are random anomalies of loose threads and nubs. Whilst ecoYoga discard the more extreme cases, generally, the milder cases are not considered to be faults or defects: In fact, ecoYoga and Yoga Bliss feel that these characteristics give the mats a more individual nature as a result, every mat is different.
Why do ecoYoga mats cost so much?
The price of raw natural rubber has been increasing over the last few years. Natural rubber and synthetic rubber are closely linked, so the increase in oil prices which affects the price of synthetic rubber, has a 'knock on' affect on natural rubber prices. The rubber market is a speculative market and big brokers continue to forecast the massive consumption rate in China and the far east. This also pushes the price up. ecoYoga mats are made from the highest quality natural materials in the UK . ecoYoga try to minimise waste as much as possible. Quality control and production costs are higher than mass produced German or Chinese mats in comparison.
What about fair trade or child labour?
ecoYoga mats are made in the UK . They deliberately chose not to make our mats in China or Taiwan where they would have been cheaper. There are currently no Fair Trade standards within the jute or rubber industry. Jute is set to have standards in the future. Our Scottish jute supplier has long family business relationships in India and Bangladesh and works only with government factories (all ISO-9001 certified) where standards can be monitored. They already have their own standards in practice. The rubber industry has not met with consumer demand to supply fair trade rubber though in the current climate of business ecoYoga hope that this will change in the near future. ecoYoga are making their own enquiries into the potential of this for their mats.
My ecoYoga mat has an odour. Why is this ?
The base material for ecoYoga mats is natural rubber baked in an oven during the curing process of manufacture. The Natural mats therefore have an odour of latex when new. This wears off after some time and a good bit of airing after use. The latest batch of mats has very little natural rubber smell.
Do you have different colours of mats?
ecoYoga wishes to have a core group of colours that will satisfy a broad spectrum of tastes. As time goes on ecoYoga plan to bring out different colour ranges.
I was sold an "eco" yoga mat by another supplier. Is it really "eco"?
The chances are that your mat still contains PVC, an environmentally damaging plastic. There is however much change afoot in the yoga mat world with increased demand for non-plastic goods. We have not yet found any supplier of Yoga mats that conform to our strict standards of ecology.
How long will my ecoYoga mat last?
It really depends on your practice, your environment and how you look after it. The natural rubber is sensitive to sunlight, oils and extreme heat (e.g. sitting on top a radiator). These all will contribute to the degradation of the material. ecoYoga report that they have had customers buying their new mats after 18 months happy with its wear. At the end of 2006 ecoYoga made some improvements to the mat and now anticipate longer life spans for most practitioners.
My mat sheds little pieces and sticks to my clothes. Is this normal?
From time to time this has caused concern for some practitioners. Initial shedding has occurred with some mats then stops until much later into the use of the mat. Lycra clothes seem to attract the little rubber particles more than cotton. Most Yoga practitioners prefer to practice in cotton/natural fabrics. Again it depends on your practice. ecoYoga are looking into wear and tear of the mats as time passes and are always happy to hear your feedback. With the slightly higher density of rubber in their new mats, they hope any premature wearing will be substantially reduced.
Other suppliers sell Eco-tex Yoga mats. What is this?
Eco-tex (or Oeko-tex) is a private European testing laboratory that asses materials for harmfulness to human skin contact. These Yoga mats are not strictly "environmental" or "ecological". We believe any product that contains PVC cannot claim to be environmental. ecoYoga does not sell any Yoga mats with the Eco-tex certificate.
What is PVC?
PVC (PolyVinyl Chloride) is an oil based plastic. It is used in many applications such as wiring, flooring, pipes, wallpaper, window frames, doors and food packaging and is very cheap.
What is rubber or latex?
Rubber and Latex is the substance, a lectin, skillfully tapped from just below the bark of the tree Hevea Brasiliensis. Natural rubber latex, as it is tapped, is a watery substance, suspended in which is a mixture of non-rubber particles like proteins, carbohydrates, lipids and minerals. The most commonly used latex product in the world is the condom. Over one billion condoms are distributed by the World Health Organisation to combat the aids epidemic. Over eight billion are still needed.
I have heard about Latex allergies?
Some people have a skin reaction to the rubber proteins in Latex. ecoYoga mats are specially formulated to minimise the dispersion of rubber proteins and therefore shouldn't cause a problem to the vast majority of users. If you suspect an irritation you can give the mat a cycle in the washing machine. Flushing with water is the process used for condoms and rubber gloves to remove excess protein particles. If you know that you suffer from a latex allergy ecoYoga recommend that you do not use the ecoYoga mat, just as a precautionary measure.
I have heard of PER and TPE yoga mats. What are these?
TPE (thermoplastic elastomer) foam is a non-toxic plastic that can be melted down easily for reuse (unlike PVC). Commonly it is used as ear plugs, toothbrush handles and weather seals. Yoga mats are a recent application for TPE. It is soft and less durable, though more favourable, than PVC. PER (polymer environment resin) is a synthetic compound developed as an alternative to PVC. In the 1990s the popularity of PVC gave way to consumer and processor awareness of its environmental implications. PER contains no phthalates or heavy metals and has food grade skin safety.
Rubber Tyres…are they not natural rubber?
Tyres are made from synthetic rubber. There are many classes of synthetic rubber but all are made from a raw material derived from petroleum, coal, oil, natural gas and acetylene.
Sun Salutation Mat FAQ
How and where is the Sun Salutation Bhu Mat made?
The Bhu yoga mat is an innovative product from the Swedish company Sun Salutation, made in conjunction with Pure Mat in Taiwan. It is made from the material TPE (Thermal Plastic Elastomomer) which is decompostable in water and biodegradeable.
What is the Bhu Mat like to use?The Bhu Mat combines great performance with unbeatable grip and durability. It feels like a second skin, soft as velvet but with a perfectly maintained floor feeling. The closed-cell structure does not enable the mat surface to absorb fluid/sweat and this prevents bacteria growth and smell and makes it easy to keep clean.
How do I care for my mat?
When the mats are shipped there is often a slightly oily residue left from the manufacturing process that can make that mat feel slippery initially. Please allow the mat to air for several days or wipe with soap and water. Clean your mat regularly with a soap and water solution, and keep it rolled and away from direct sunlight.