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October 18, 2019 2 min read

How PVC is killing your yoga game... and our ecosystem

We all know the amazing benefits of yoga practice: reaching a feeling of wellness, increased flexibility and improved breathing, more energy and vitality, and stress management through clarity of mind.

But there is something you probably don’t know that may be combating the benefits that you think you’re gaining. Something that accompanies you in every practice: PVC.

So, what is PVC?

We promise this won’t be a serious chem lesson as we roll out the table of elements, or a long article with overcomplicated wording that makes you question if we’re still speaking the English language. This article is dedicated to you, the consumer who wants to buy in a responsible way but doesn’t know how or what to search for.

PVC, or polyvinyl chloride, is used on many products because it’s durable and easy to clean. It starts out as a white powder made into hard material or a flexible textile fabric called vinyon. It also has weather-resistant qualities, so you can find it on coats, skiing equipment and artificial leathers. Now before you go thinking, “hey, it doesn’t sound so bad,” let us remind you that it’s loaded with toxins.

Why is PVC not an ally in your yoga game?

Although most yoga mats are made with PVC because it’s cheap and effective, it’s also extremely toxic. The flexibility in those mats are due to phthalates, a chemical product suspected of carcinogens by the US EPA.

 So what can you get from contact with PVC & phthalates:

 - Hormone disruption

- Developmental and reproductive problems

- Asthma

- Premature birth

- Decreased sperm count

- Early puberty

- Risk of certain cancers.

 Think of that the next time you’re in the cobra pose thinking you’re sailing into zen. Yikes!

The environmental complications:

Environmental concerns about PVC are real. This material is toxic during every stage of its life cycle because it emits many chemicals into the atmosphere which we- humans, nature and animals- inhale.

Worst of all, PVC cannot be recycled. If you threw this into your recycling bin, you risk contaminating the entire contents. So, what happens when you want to dispose of your old mat? You have to incinerate it, which release dioxin – a cancer causing chemical. Let’s face it, PVC is just bad news!

The 42 Birds solution:

Yoga is all about good energy- in your body, mind, and the ecosystem in which you practice. What you give to nature, it gives back. That’s why we use cork from the Mediterranean Cork Forest. When the bark is stripped for our mats, it rejuvenates itself and produces healthier air for our atmosphere. That’s a great lesson in Caring for Nature 101.

When it comes to making health and wellness changes for yourself and the ecosystem, ditch the PVC. Try one of our natural cork mats instead. Designed to be lightweight, flexible, and travel-ready, there’s no excuse for switching to a harmful mat. Make the change for you. Make the change for our Earth.