Yoga News / Yoga Stuff

99-Cent Yoga Mat

I got a flyer in the mail today from Menards — a place where you’d normally go to buy a hammer, lawn mower, or some power tools. Now you can also buy a yoga mat there:99centyogamat copy

When Walmart and Target started selling yoga mats and DVDs, I thought yoga had definitely gone mainstream. Then I started seeing yoga mats at department stores and grocery stores. Apparently hardware stores are now getting in on the action!

I think the popularization of yoga is actually great. The world might even be a better place if more people were to take up yoga in earnest. However, there’s something about this particular ad that makes me cringe. Yeah, the mat has a “non-slip surface” and is “lightweight & durable.” But it’s probably made from some nasty industrial byproducts, and I bet it doesn’t qualify as eco-friendly, fair trade, or anything of the sort.

Notice, too, that this particular unbranded yoga mat is selling for $0.99 — yes, that’s in U.S. dollars. The sale price is $7.99, and after a mail-in rebate, you’re left with a yoga mat for about the price of, well, a McRib Sandwich from McDonald’s (which is probably¬†made from the same material).

Maybe I’m wrong about this 99-cent yoga mat — I haven’t inspected it in person so I can’t say anything definitive one way or another — but I have a strong hunch that it’s not exactly in line with the ethical principles of yoga. As I’ll be discussing this Friday in my post on¬†ahimsa, it’s important for yogis to be mindful of the impact of their actions on other individuals and the environment. This includes our actions as consumers, whether we’re buying a car, a new yoga mat, or even that McRib sandwich.

7 thoughts on “99-Cent Yoga Mat

  1. This is an excellent example of how the small things we do can change the world. Just being conscious and aware of what we use as consumers is the first step.

  2. Yoga is a rich person’s activity in the U.S. Most of us who practice think nothing of paying $50 or up for a high-quality yoga mat, or $100 per month for a studio membership. But if we really want to bring yoga to the mainstream, it’s going to have to become a lot more budget friendly to folks in the bottom part of the income distribution. Maybe the 99-cent hardware store mats harm the environment, but it’s also harmful if yoga is unaffordable for the majority of people. Are there any eco-friendly yoga mats that are also affordable for people of limited means?

    • Insightful points and a great question, SS. I agree that yoga should not be exclusively for rich people. And, as I’ve lamented in some previous posts, it’s a real shame that yoga has become so expensive and commercialized. It’d be great if someone would start to make yoga mats that are eco-friendly, affordable, and fair trade. Unfortunately, I can’t think of a single example, and I’m not especially hopeful that we’ll see something like this on the market anytime soon.

    • I started with a cheap yoga mat and when I purchased a 50 dollar mat, I realized that anyone practicing on a cheap mat is likely hurting themselves. I didn’t realize that I could put weight on my knees and NOT feel pain. So really, cheap mats are crap and just encourage people to try it and then it gives them a horrible experience.

    • I attend free yoga classes every Thursday 7030 Cullen Houston Texas 77021 if you are close come we would love to have you. Class starts at 7p…Namaste

  3. What a deal! Although the quality is likely not very good. Unfortunately there isn’t a Menard’s anywhere near my home state of Massachusetts, otherwise I’d check it out purely out of curiosity.

    SS makes some nice points about yoga being affordable to everyone. In my bikram yoga studio I’ve seen people who doesn’t even use mats – just bath towels.

  4. Sorry to join this conversation late. I actually know some people at a company called KharmaKhare (www.kharmakhare.com), who have made a mat 100% out of recycled rubber tires. It’s not cheap though. From what I understand it takes a lot to collect the tires and process them (all described on their website in a video). But what is cool is that if you ever want a new one from them, if you send your old mat back, they’ll credit you half the purchase price. They say then can then melt it down and make new mats or donate it for children’s playgrounds (which uses the same recycled material). Hopefully they’ll start making thinner mats that won’t cost as much!

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