Please don't think you need the thickest mat if you are beginner. It is not so.
Unless you know you have pressure sensitive bones, the 4mm is adequate.
A little bit of discomfort will help condition the body and inform you what areas need attention. For that i believe in the 2mm but i know from 18 years providing these mats this is a big ask .. .. .. I therefore refer to the 4mm as the standard one.
Yes ... if you are in Edinburgh - living, practicing or just passing through - you are welcome to drop by and pick up an ecoYoga mat. Please call or email in advance if possible. Whilst most sales occur through stockists i sometimes hold a small batch of mats in-house. These are usually the lighterweight (my preference:) and the wabi-sabi factory seconds, though sometimes the regular 4mm and 6mm Phoenix mats.
This is my most frequently asked question .. .. .. and a tricky one for me as i did not create the mats to a "white label" product. Much time and effort has gone into maintaining my production. Integrity and information, rather than trend and business opportunity, are important to me and the tension between these two ways is forefront right now.
.. and so a long-ish answer:
The ecoYoga mats come with an ecoYoga information leaflet and subtle branding in the form of a small paper sticker that beholds the ecoYoga logo.
When i first created the ecoYoga mats there was intentionally no branding. This was not so someone else could put their brand on them: it was because yoga was, to me, free from fashion, trends and branding. I was thinking about a yoga practice rather than business. My thinking has not changed.
The past 20+ years of course has seen the morphing of a commercial yoga industry that has no boundaries and branding has become a huge part of that.
I have endorsed co-branding for quite a few projects now. The mats have been printed with the projects logo with the user fully aware that it an ecoYoga mat. With look-a-likes, and so companies claiming their mats are "eco", it can be confusing for students and new teachers to know just what mats are what.
The yoga mat market is as superficial as any other and companies seem to do whatever they can to get ahead.
The ecoYoga mats are not like other mats and to be considered as such denies information to the user.
Re-branding (where there is no acknowledgement of the mat being an ecoYoga mat) is at the discretion of ecoYoga Ltd. There will be a premium charge.
For co-branding the price is regular Trade prices. The cost and arrangement of print is additional.
Regardless of branding the ecoYoga mats have a reputation for their performance and integrity.
In the end it is, and hopefully will always be, about your commitment to the practice not the label on the mat (or on your pants)
Yoga mats have become the major accessory to ones practice and with the ever increasing trend it means millions of mats are out there being bought and disposed. That's a lot of mats in landfill. The postures on your yoga mat are the beginning of a journey to protect and promote the health and well-being of your body, mind and soul. If this inner awareness is awakened one hopes it finds reflection in the external world. Practicing on a glossy plastic mat made as cheaply as possible for maximum profit we view as the antithesis of yoga. It is a simple gesture to practice on a mat created with yoga in mind from renewable resources.
We thought it would be lovely to be able to practice on something a bit closer to nature, something aesthetically considered, yet still providing that grip that everyone so desires.
The choice, of course, is up to you
ecoYoga mats are made from entirely natural plant based materials: 100% natural rubber and hessian. The rubber compound is environmentally neutral so, at the end of the Yoga mat's life, it can be composted and or safely used in the garden - making them completely eco-friendly. They are PVC free (PVC is a long term pollutant plastic in production through to disposal).
From time to time this causes concern for some practitioners. Initial shedding and scuffing may occur with some mats. This will not render the mat unusable. Ultimately though all mats will wear with the rubber breaking off the jute.
The colourfree mats are the most vulnerable and, being so light in colour, show up the most. Though the percentage of pigment in the coloured mats is very small it seems to give a little more integrity to the rubber.
Lycra clothing with it's microscopic hooks attracts the little rubber particles more than cotton. Synthetic fabrics also use highly toxic chemicals in production. Lycra, for such reasons, not a fabric we encourage.
Your expectation maybe challenged. These mats will show the tracks of your practice which we view as an integral part of doing yoga. We are looking into wear and tear of the mats as time passes and always need and welcome feedback.
Mat cleaners & cleansers have been formulated with plastic mats in mind, or at least not with a 100% natural material in mind. Since plastic is itself a by-product of the oil industry oils have no detrimental affect on plastic molecular structure. For this reason most of the mat cleaners contain essential oils. For natural rubber however oils accelerate degradation. Whilst the level of these essential oils, such as lavender and tea-tree will be very low and will not damage the ecoYoga mat they will however contribute to the materials slow slow softening and degradation :: much as your own body oils will (along with air and uv-light which dry out the material). All you really need is to wipe down with warm water & a small amount of regular white vinegar. Simple techniques are best (:
The price of raw natural rubber has been increasing over the several years. Natural rubber and synthetic rubber are closely linked in the stock market so the increase in oil prices which affects the price of synthetic rubber has had 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 is pushing the price up. The ecoYoga mats are made from the highest quality natural materials in the UK. Waste is minimised as much as possible. Quality control and production costs are higher than mass produced European or Chinese mats in comparison.
The ecoYoga jute mats are skilfully made in the UK . We deliberately choose not to make our mats in China or Taiwan : Cheap labour and mass production did not seem right. Fair Trade standards within the jute or rubber industry are slowly emerging though are currently very limited. 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 international rubber trade has not met with consumer demand to supply fair trade rubber though, in the current climate of business, this has to change in the not too too distant future. We are making our own enquiries into the potential of this for the ecoYoga mats.
When i first designed the mats i wanted small patches of jute exposed but the process is not easily controlled and ultimately, i realised, subjective. It resulted in too much jute showing and the level of discretion way too much a burden for factory production manager so spec changed to the full cover with factory stipulated 5-10% tolerance.
The concern that raw patches will wear more readily is not the case, the effect is aesthetic only.
If there is more than 10% exposure i will sell as wabi-sabi factory second.
The chances are that your mat still contains PVC, an environmentally damaging plastic. Also many of the other plastic and rubber mats need high energy consumming production methods. 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 sense & standards of ecology.
lifespan depends on your practice, your environment and how you look after it. Over the past 18 years the feedback has been from 2 years to 12 years. Truly !
The 100% natural rubber is sensitive to sunlight, oils and extreme heat (e.g. sitting on top a radiator or direct sun rays through a window). These all will contribute to the degradation of the material. I have had customers buying new mats after 18 months happy with its wear but there those that can not tolerate a scuff or scrape and the inevitable crumbling that occurs. Even with the crumbling a mat can last for several years.
At the end of 2006 we made some improvements to the mat so we anticipate longer life spans for most practitioners.
Eco-tex (or Oeko-tex) is a private European testing laboratory that assess materials for harmfulness to human skin contact. Such 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.
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 in which is suspended 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!
Some people have a skin reaction to the rubber proteins in Latex. Our mats are specially formulated to minimise the dispersion of rubber proteins and therefore should be no 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 already suffer from a latex allergy we would not advise you use the ecoYoga mat as a precautionary measure.
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 is one of its recent applications. 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.
Yes, Nick Loening, one of the founding members of ecoYoga Ltd now has the Ecoyoga Centre: ecoyoga.org
In 1997 Nick owned and ran The Yoga Centre on the Meadows in Edinburgh. It was here that the need for something other than awful plastic mats was realised and from here that ecoYoga ltd ran for it's first two years.