Yoga derived from sanskrit root “yuj” meaning “union”. It is the union of our body, mind and soul. This practice that helps unify these elements has attracted thousands of people all around the globe and the number keeps increasing. The revival of this ancient knowledge has meant that a large number of people are now living healthier, more conscious, balanced and connected lives.
Having grown up in Nepal I was introduced to yoga at an early age and I was also lucky to be in a family that took environmental issues seriously and were engaged in environmental awareness work in the community. For me, my yoga practice has, from a very early age, helped me deepen my connection with the earth and the environment.
Doing yoga on a simple rug was common and we had no concept of needing to have a mat that has excessive grip. Instead we were taught the importance of balancing one’s body on a surface that is natural. The growing focus on grippy mats has meant that there is a massive production of PVC (Poly-vinyl Chloride) mats. The manufacturing process of PVC mats generates harmful chemicals such as dioxins, phthalates, furans that ultimately get into natural water systems and drinking water sources. Researchers have also stated that, “Each kg of PVC also uses around 680 liters of water in its manufacture (including power plant cooling water) and it requires 11.6 kg of air, which is converted into greenhouse and other gases. A 3 pound (1.36 kg) PVC yoga mat requires 23 kg of petrochemical and mineral inputs, uses 925 liters of water, and 15.8 kg of air.”
There are newer mats that claim that they are using natural rubber and are chemical free but their authenticity have been questioned by researchers. Just to look at the colour of some of the mats being sold under the “eco” banner, or to smell them, you can easily start to question they eco credentials. I found this blog to be an interesting and useful read: https://ireadlabelsforyou.com/eco-friendly-yoga-mats-safe-or-toxic/
My search for a yoga mat that is non-polluting through it manufacture or its life and will not end up in a landfill
After much searching, researching and soul searching, I concluded that there really wasn’t anyone out there making the truly eco-mat that I was looking for. Whilst a little depressing at first, this has now changed my life. It was this desire for a genuinely sustainably produced (and biodegradable) yoga mat that was the seed that started Khali Khutta.
Through much trial and error we finally arrived upon a design and manufacture process without compromising on our strict ethics, using all natural materials – 100% chemical free, using natural plant fibres (organic cotton, wild hemp and nettle) and finished off with natural, plant/mineral based dyes. This is our Wild Hemp Yoga Mat.
I have been using this mat for many years now and I love it. It brings back what my guru taught me about balance on what is natural.
We each have our own choices to make and this mat may not be for everyone. But if you are looking for a mat that feels and smells great and does not contribute towards a degraded planet, this is the mat you are looking for.