In recent years, yogis all around the world have come to rely on their yoga mats. A high-quality yoga mat is, in a lot of cases, a must-have when it comes to practicing yoga.
The reason for this is that yoga mats help you keep your balance during challenging poses, prevent slipping, and provide enough cushioning to protect your body and joints.
Now, the question is how long can a yoga mat last, and more importantly, how often to replace a yoga mat? Well, there are a few answers depending on the context of the question, so let’s break it down.
How Long Do Yoga Mats Last?
How long your yoga mat lasts will depend on the quality of the mat, the frequency, and the type of yoga you practice. On average, it’s safe to say that a standard yoga mat can last between 6 months to 2 years, depending on how much you exercise.
While inexpensive yoga mats—commonly found in mainstream stores—may not be completely unusable after six months, they are likely to show significant wear and tear. In contrast, investing in a higher-quality yoga mat with a price over $80 or even $150 from a reputable retailer like Alo Yoga means that your mat will most likely remain in excellent condition for a couple of years, possibly even longer. This durability holds true even for those who practice an intensive routine, using their mat up to four times a week.
However, even if your mat is still usable, if it’s worn out, you may want to replace it. This is because worn-out yoga mats provide less cushioning and traction, which can, in turn, lead to injuries.
Signs That It’s Time to Replace Your Yoga Mat
Are you uncertain about replacing your old yoga mat?
Here are some telling signs that it’s time to let go and buy a new yoga mat.
- The padding is uneven. Different yoga positions make you exert different pressure levels on different parts of your yoga mat. That’s why the padding on your yoga mat can become thinner in some areas. If this happens to your mat, you should start looking into purchasing a new one, as uneven padding can negatively affect your balance and the way you perform certain yoga positions.
- The yoga mat is falling apart. If, during or after your yoga practice, you notice pieces of the mat all around the floor, you’ll know it’s time to get a new one. When this happens, the level of cushioning that the mat provides will be uneven, which can lead to injuries.
- The yoga mat is more slippery than usual. The worst thing that any yogi can experience is slipping during a challenging pose. This is not only disheartening but can also lead to a serious injury. If your yoga mat is starting to get slippery, you can try some DIY solutions for making it less slippery, and if that doesn’t work out, it may be time to get a new one.
- The yoga mat smells bad. This one is a no-brainer. If your yoga mat starts to smell bad, it’s either time to clean it thoroughly or buy a new one. Just keep in mind that regularly cleaning your mat is essential for your health as well as the mat’s longevity.
- The yoga mat has bald spots. Yes, yoga mats can have bald spots. The most usual place where your yoga mat will start to develop bald spots is around the part where you put your palms and feet. If you see bald spots on your yoga mat, you’ll know it’s time to get a new one.
What to Do With an Old Yoga Mat?
The best thing to do with an old yoga mat is to dispose of it in an environmentally friendly fashion, such as taking it to a recycling facility. If your old yoga mat is not in rough shape, you could also look into donating it to your local yoga studio or gift it to someone who needs it.
What Can You Use an Old Yoga Mat For?
Old yoga mats can be used in many different ways. It all depends on you and your imagination.
Here are some interesting things you can do with your old yoga mat.
- Homemade Knee Pads. Yoga mats are designed to provide enough cushioning for your body during a yoga practice. Use that to your advantage by making your own homemade knee pads from an old yoga mat.
- Give it to your pet or an animal shelter. Use your yoga mat to make DIY bedding for your pet. They’ll certainly enjoy it. Alternatively, if you don’t have a pet, you could donate your old yoga mat to an animal shelter.
- Give it to someone new to yoga. If your old yoga mat is still in good shape, you should definitely consider giving it to someone who’s just started doing yoga.
- Great for picnics. Old yoga mats are a great alternative to blankets or beach towels. Place your old yoga mat on the grass and enjoy your brunch!
Can Yoga Mats Be Recycled?
Mats that are made from all-natural rubber are 100% recyclable. Yoga mats that contain polyester or additional non-biodegradable materials can be recycled, but the process is more difficult. In this case, you might be better off considering DIY projects for upcycling the mat.
Are PVC Yoga Mats Recyclable?
Technically, yes, PVC yoga mats can be recycled. The main problem with PVC is that it’s not biodegradable, which makes it extremely difficult to recycle. Plants that recycle PVC yoga mats shred them to pieces, melt those pieces, and finally, use those melted pieces to make other stuff.
How to Get Rid of an Old Yoga Mat?
If your yoga mat is not completely busted, you could try reaching out to your local studio or a community center to see if they need it.
If you are an active camper and the yoga mat you want to get rid of is made of PVC (thus, it’s waterproof), you can use it as groundsheet (tent footprint) to separate your tent floor from potentially moist ground.
On the other hand, if your yoga mat is unusable, you should probably recycle it, as it’s the most environmentally friendly way to dispose of it.
For example, JadeYoga has a program for reusing and recycling old yoga mats. If the mat is not reusable, they ship them to specialized recyclers who use old yoga mats for their products after shredding and melting them.
Another great option is to send your old yoga mat to Sanuk, a Californian women’s footwear company that turns old yoga mats into lovely sandals or flip-flops.
Depending on where you live, you could also search for local recycling initiatives that could use your old mat.
How to Dispose of Rubber Yoga Mats?
The best and most environmentally friendly way to dispose of rubber yoga mats is to take them to a recycling facility. In most cases, recycling facilities require a fee, so be ready to spend some money.
Before you take your mat to be recycled, you should clean it thoroughly using soap and water. Let your yoga mat air dry, roll it up and then take it to the recycling plant.
How Often to Replace Yoga Mat?
To get the best results out of your yoga sessions and to prevent any possibility of injuries due to less traction and cushioning, you should replace your yoga mat every 6 to 12 months or invest in a high-quality professional mat that can serve you for at least a year or two. However, durability is always a mixture of frequency, intensity, and quality.