Whether you are a beginner or an experienced yogi, you’ll always have to account for needing a new yoga mat. The yoga mat is the foundation of your practice, and you definitely want to have a good one. If you’re setting a budget for the yoga mat that you will need down the line, then you are in the right place.
A good yoga mat should last a minimum of one year. The longest-lasting mats are made out of natural rubber, with cork following close behind. Plastic PVC yoga mats tend to last for about 3 to 6 months only, and they’re not good for the environment or you. A high-end natural rubber mat is the best choice if you are looking for a healthy mat with a long life span.
Throughout this article, you’ll also learn the following info about how long a good yoga mat lasts:
- The life expectancy of natural rubber, plastic PVC, and cork yoga mats
- Why you should choose a natural rubber mat over any other
- How long they’ll last if used by an experienced yogi or during hot yoga sessions
How Long Do Natural Rubber Yoga Mats Last?
Rubber mats are designed to be long-lasting, durable, and inexpensive. If you want to get the best of both worlds, then natural rubber mats will be the perfect match for you. A mat’s longevity is more important than almost any other feature, which is why so many people are worried about their yoga.
Natural rubber yoga mats can last a minimum of 12 months. However, proper care and careful use can extend your mat up to several years in some cases. As long as you regularly clean the mat, you’ll be good to go. For those who want to maintain the like-new quality, make sure you are storing it correctly. For example, natural rubber yoga mats should be kept away from direct sun rays as direct sunlight can damage the properties of the yoga mat.
Once your mat starts to crack or chip, you’ll know it’s time to get a new one. These signs are just a couple of warnings that your natural rubber yoga mat is at its end. Another sign is that it doesn’t unroll all the way. Low-quality rubber mats will have their corners stick up because they’re too stiff or dense.
Why Do People Choose Rubber Mats?
Natural rubber mats reign supreme as the best yoga mats in the industry. Let’s run through three reasons that people like them, including how long they last:
- Natural rubber yoga mats last longer than any other yoga mat in the world. The two other most common materials are plastic and cork, neither of which comes close to natural rubber’s longevity. Furthermore, it doesn’t show as many signs of wear and tear, so you’ll always have a new feeling when you’re using it.
- They’re comfortable and shock-absorbent. These mats aren’t hard or uncomfortable. When you move around performing various asanas, you don’t have to worry about sliding away. There are different thicknesses – from very thin (travel) to thicker yoga mats, which are better for you if you experience joint pain. This comfort lasts for the duration of the natural rubber mat, especially if it’s of high-quality.
- They don’t ruin the environment. Rubber is biodegradable. The yoga mats from natural rubber are friendly for the environment and your practice. Not only that, you won’t have to buy a new one as often since they last longer. Both of these traits make natural rubber yoga mats a popular choice.
How Long Should a Cork Mat Last?
As stated by Sporteluxe, cork yoga mats are becoming more popular every year. They’re reliable, shock-absorbent, and they’re one of the most eco-friendly options on the market. Numerous sources claim that cork yoga mats can last between 6 to 9 months, making them a viable option for many people.
However, they’re not as long-lasting as natural rubber. Furthermore, they cost close to the same, making a lot of yogis lean toward natural rubber. It’s up to you to decide how influential the price and longevity will be in the decision-making process. Nevertheless, cork yoga mats shouldn’t be excluded.
If you want to make your cork mat last longer, it’s important that you don’t let it stay wet for too long. After a long yoga session, there’s bound to be a lot of sweat on the surface of the mat. Drying it off with a towel is the first step in ensuring the longevity of your mat. This rule applies to all materials, not just cork.
How Long Will a Plastic Yoga Mat Last?
There are two types of plastic yoga mats: cheap and expensive. Cheap PVC plastic yoga mats don’t last long and definitely can not compete with long-lasting cork or natural rubber mats. On top of that, they’re horrible for the environment. Cheap PVC plastic yoga mats only last between 3 to 6 months. If you use a PVC mat daily, you can expect it to last about three months or less. Unfortunately, far too many beginners settle for plastic mats because they’re inexpensive.
Expensive PVC yoga mats can last longer (depending on the intensity of your practice), but it does not change the fact that they are contributing to global plastic pollution.
Those who are shopping for a plastic yoga mat should remember all of the cons of the material. Even if you’re looking for a short-term replacement, you’d be doing yourself a disservice to choose a plastic mat.
Are Plastic Mats a Good Choice?
Contrary to popular belief, saving money isn’t always the best way to choose yoga equipment. Plastic yoga mats have countless downsides, including the following issues:
- The Balance Small Business claims that plastic can take up to 1,000 years to decompose. Every three months, when it’s time for a new plastic yoga mat, you’ll have to toss 1,000 years’ worth of garbage into the landfill.
- Plastic yoga mats develop holes and cracks fairly quickly. If you’re using them daily, you’ll notice that it becomes porous and uncomfortable. Plastic bits can poke and prod, making it terribly frustrating to deal with.
- It’s hard to roll a plastic yoga mat after a few weeks. They tend to become stiff, causing them to form however they’re used. If you have it flat often, then it won’t roll. If it’s always rolled and stored away, it’ll maintain that shape.
How Long Do Yoga Mats Last Under Heavy Usage?
Professionals who know how to take care of a natural rubber yoga mat can make it last up to 10 years. This limit exceeds the above mentioned 6 to 12 months estimated range because it only applies to top-notch rubber mats with a protective coating. Proper care is essential if you want to get anywhere close to the limit.
Getting a good yoga mat is necessary not only for safety purposes but also for your health. You can expect between 12 to 24 months per mat. If it’s a low-quality mat, it won’t last longer than six months.
Here’s how you know if it’s time for you to look for a new yoga mat:
- It’s cracked, stiff, or brittle;
- The mat won’t unroll all the way, leaving the corners frayed;
- If there are wrinkles and bubbles,
- If the mat started flaking – it’s time for a new one.
Depending on your yoga practice – how often you practice and which style of yoga – a good yoga mat can last many years, maybe a decade. Make sure that you are practicing regular cleaning and storage methods so you don’t wear it down too quickly.
Bullet points to remember:
- Natural rubber yoga mats last longer than cork or cheap plastic PVC yoga mats.
- Plastic yoga mats are bad for the environment and your health;
- Cork yoga mats are comfortable, but they last less than natural rubber.
- Someone who uses their yoga mat daily during intense sessions should expect a shorter lifespan out of their mat.
- Hot yoga increases the wear and tear on any type of yoga mat material.