This Yoga Mat Will Keep You From Slipping, No Matter How Sweaty You Get—and It's 100 Percent Biodegradable
- Aesthetic: 17/20
- Functionality: 19/20
- Eco-Friendliness: 20/20
- Ease of Use: 18/20
- Value: 19/20
“Your yoga mat will never biodegrade.” As someone who spends a decent amount of time trying to separate out my recyclables and sipping out of metal straws to cut down on my plastic use (not bad, if I do say so), reading this sentence while editing a piece on yoga mats was enough to make me seriously cringe. Sure, I think about things like packaged napkins and utensils (do I really need them with my takeout?), but it never occurred to me that I could be doing far more damage to the Earth with my chintzy little T.J. Maxx yoga accessory—something that’s 100 times larger than a plastic fork—than I was with my choice of cutlery. Truthfully, I had never taken the time to think about what my yoga mat was made of, nor did I really care, as long as it kept me (mostly) stable while doing my downward dogs and had enough padding not to hurt my back while rocking in happy baby. But that was before I knew what I know now about the Reech namaSTAY eco-friendly yoga mat.
What Is the Reech namaSTAY Yoga Mat?
The Reech namaSTAY yoga mat is a 4.2 millimeter (mm)-thick pad that’s designed with the extra-sweaty among us in mind, as it promises to be extra-grippy. More than that, however, it aims to do it all with natural tree rubber and antibacterial polyurethane, both of which are biodegradable. Even its packaging is biodegradable! OK, you're thinking. Why does it matter? Well, considering that 40.3 percent of yoga mats were made of non-biodegradable polyvinyl chloride (PVC) in 2018, with roughly 28.75 million people practicing yoga that same year, according to an online survey, a switch to a rubber mat could actually be a pretty big deal for Mother Earth—if it lives up to the hype.
I was admittedly skeptical upon receiving this mat to test. For starters, since rubber naturally weighs more than PVC, this thing felt heavy to me compared to the old squishy PVC mat I had been using. That’s not to say it weighed a ton—the namaSTAY is only 6.6 pounds—but it was an increase over the 2.6 pounds I was used to, to say the least.
On the plus side, the Reech felt nice and sturdy (read: thick enough to support my knobby spine, even when I’m trying to rock in a ball), and aesthetically, it boasted a pretty-if-plain purple color that I found myself happy to show off at yoga class. Better yet, it rolled up nice and tightly for storage and carrying.
Having finally done my yoga mat homework, I was also pleased to see that this mat had a closed-cell surface. While open-cell mats are great for absorbing moisture, they also provided great hiding places for bacteria and must be cleaned differently than a regular mat—something that I frankly just don’t have the time or patience for.
The TestsAfter using the Reech for both my ‘80s Denise Austin Super Stomach home workout (lay off me, it’s a classic) and less classes than I’d care to admit (but enough to get the job done) for a solid six months, I’m thoroughly convinced this is the only yoga mat you’ll ever need.
Would it be nice if it was a little lighter? Sure. Did it slow me down? Not at all. (After all, if I can’t lift 6.6 pounds, I probably need more than a yoga mat to help me through class—and maybe life.) In fact, it actually wound up helping me out during my outdoor “yoga on a ship” class, since it kept the corners from flying up in the wind, even when my classmates’ lighter mats twisted akimbo, making it the perfect pick for outdoor yogis.
More importantly, it passed all my performance assessments with flying colors. I never once felt uncomfortable on it, even when doing a deep hip stretch that involved lying directly on my back and pressing into the floor from the wall.
It also lived up to its claims to offer a nice, secure grip. Despite its lack of texture (the surface is completely smooth), the rubber offers enough friction to keep you from slipping and sliding all over the place. Only once, in a sweaty plank position, did I feel for the slightest of seconds that my big toe might slip out of place—but it never actually did.
Usage wise, this mat was easy to unroll, re-roll and even easier to clean. I did have a moment of panic after spraying it directly with a bleach solution provided by my yoga studio, as it turned the mat a slightly darker color in the areas it had been sprayed, but it didn’t wind up staining or ruining my mat. To avoid this terror, however (it is on the pricier side), it’s probably best to follow the company’s suggestion to use just a small drop of soap and water to wipe it down before letting it air dry.
Value wise, it’s not cheap at $125 a pop, but let’s be real: It’s also doing both the Earth—and your lungs—a big service. In addition to its ability to be broken down in one to five years once you’re through with it (I can practically hear nature smiling), it's free and clear of some real nasty toxins and phthalates that PVCs are known to contain and release into the air, both during production and while you’re doing your breathing exercises. Deeper studies on these yoga mats are limited, but there’s no question that you’d be better off overall avoiding a material GreenPeace has referred to as the “poison plastic.”
As an added incentive, Reech has also pledged to plant 15 trees for every yoga mat it sells. While I do wish the company would expand its color selection (I enjoy the purple, blue and green, but can see it getting boring after a while), I’ll gladly keep things simple if it means making a better choice for both myself and the planet. Add in the cherry-on-top grip, sturdy, high-quality construction and easy cleaning, and you’ve got a luxe, eco-friendly yoga mat that simply can’t be beat.
Since it's newer to Amazon, you'll have to click the "See all buying options" button to add it to your cart, but it's worth the extra step. The one bummer? It obviously won't be ideal if you've got rubber or latex allergies, in which case you may want to opt for the Reech cork mat instead, which the brand claims "couldn't be more eco-friendly if it tried."
Want to know which buzzy products are *really* worth buying? Sign up for our shopping newsletter to uncover our favorite finds.