11 Top Complaints About Yoga Mats

Aum Shanti sacred geometry natural rubber yoga mat

11 Top Complaints About Yoga Mats

And how Marsh Yoga mats solve these issues.

11 Top Complaints About Yoga Mats

How many of these issues describe your mat?

While creating the Marsh Yoga mats, I studied what was already on the market and what people had to say about their mat.  Some of it wasn’t pretty!  There seems to be a lot of dissatisfaction with the mats on the market.  And I can sure relate!  In fact, I never bought a commercial mat because I didn’t want a plain, boring, toxic, slippery, smelly mat for my yoga practice.   I made my own.  But more on that later.

Sooooo, let’s get to the 11 Top Complaints About Yoga Mats….drum roll please…..:

  1.  Slippery
  2.  Toxic
  3.  Odor/Smelly
  4.  Heavy
  5.  Curls, doesn’t lay flat, surface hasn’t worn well
  6.  Not recyclable
  7.  Not eco-friendly
  8.  Holds dirt and fur
  9.  Stains easily
  10.  Noisy, Loud
  11.  Plain and boring

Let’s break down each issue and see how Marsh Yoga mats solve the problems to give you the best, premium yoga mat on the market.

1. Slippery

By far, the number one complaint is that most mats are slippery, even the “top of the line” brands.

PVC and TPE mats

Some mat producers recommend a “breaking in” period where the mat is cleaned regularly.  Constant cleaning is recommended to “break it in”.  The results seem to vary somewhat with yogis complaining that the mat remained slippery even after a lengthy break in period.  This seems particularly true for the PVC and TPE mats.  Personally, I like things to “fit” from Day One.  I don’t want to “break in” shoes, either.

Microfiber attached to a base mats

Another type of mat on the market is the microfiber attached to a PVC or rubber base.  The microfiber is supposed to be grippy when wet so it can be good for hot yoga.  However, some complain that the mat is still slippery depending upon how wet the mat gets.  If it gets too wet, it is slippery.  So, I guess you better sweat just the right amount.

Another disadvantage is that the microfiber layer is extremely slippery when dry.  I have seen manufacturers recommend that a spray bottle of water be kept handy and the mat sprayed down where hands and feet will go to keep them from slipping.  I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to spray down my mat and then be laying or sitting in a puddle of water on a wet surface.  Or get it too wet to where it is slippery again!

One advantage to the microfiber layer is that it can be printed with a lovely design.

Natural tree rubber mats

Natural tree rubber mats make excellent, non-slick, super grippy surfaces.  There seems to be a consensus with many yogis reporting that rubber mats are the best for a no-slip support.

The Marsh Yoga mat is 100% natural tree rubber and is super grippy for hands feet, and floor.  Marsh Yoga mats work great for all kinds of yoga including hot yoga.  One customer wrote to me saying, “I’ve been practicing on your mat here in Florida and can attest to the “grippiness,” even when there’s a light fog misting the mat. That’s something I’ve not had when practicing outside.”

2. Toxic

This is a big issue in the yoga world where practitioners are more concerned about their health than the general population.  We don’t want to be face down in a pool of chemicals!  This topic deserves a whole blog post so I will just touch the surface here.


Many yoga mats are made from PVC.  Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) is a solid plastic made from vinyl chloride. It is made softer and more flexible by the addition of phthalates, and can contain traces of bisphenol A (BPA).  PVC is made from and emits vinyl monomer (VCM), phthalates, VOCs, dioxin, cadmium, and lead. Together, these materials release chemical gasses that can cause cancer, endocrine disruption, and all kinds of neurological problems.

There is no non-toxic PVC mat.  Some are less toxic than others but they are all toxic. Some mat suppliers provide a list of what is not in the mat but fail to list what IS in the mat.  Many complain about the noxious odor that never seems to go away.


Same for TPE  Thermoplastic elastomers (TPE), sometimes referred to as thermoplastic rubbers, are a class of copolymers or a physical mix of polymers (usually a plastic and a rubber) which consist of materials with both thermoplastic and elastomeric properties. Safety Data Sheets say only that the material composites are trade secrets.  TPE is such a nebulous term that it could mean many things.  It’s certainly a petroleum product, so if you are sensitive to petrochemicals it wouldn’t be a wise choice.  TPE often contains some PVCs so it will never be totally safe.

Ingredients for TPE include:

  • EPDM [ethylene propylene diene monomer (M-class) rubber, a type of synthetic rubber]
  • Bromine Flame Retardant
  • Antimony Trioxide [another flame retardant]
  • Polypropylene [a nontoxic plastic]
  • Proprietary Stabilizers [who knows what these are]

Natural tree rubber

Marsh Yoga mats are 100% all natural tree rubber which means no toxic PVC, no TPE, no plasticizers and no foaming agents!   You can stay safe and healthy on your 100% natural tree rubber Marsh Yoga mat!

3. Odor/Smelly

Odor is another big issue.  Off gassing from synthetic materials can be a big issue, especially for sensitives.  This can also create a problem in a yoga studio where a neighbor may be sensitive to the smell.  Off gassing can go on for weeks, months, even years.  The smell on some mats never does dissipate.

Mats made with PVC are continuously off-gassing and put off a very strong odor, depending upon the mat.  Some continue to smell bad for weeks and months, sometimes forever.  The cheaper the mat, the more off-gassing and noxious smells.

Rubber mats, while not off-gassing, can have a rubbery odor that lingers and persists.  I have heard complaints about the top rubber mat maker (who shall remain nameless) whose mats still put off an odor a good year later!


Marsh Yoga mats are 100% natural tree rubber and are odorless.  Being chemically sensitive, this is a big issue for me.  I know I can only use, store, handle, and sell mats that are odor-free.  Otherwise, I simply could not have them in my space at all.  And I would never sell a product that I could not use myself.

Most people don’t notice any smell at all and report it is “odorless”.  I am extremely sensitive so I did notice a very slight rubber smell when first opening the package but that went away very quickly.  I recommend that the mat be washed before it’s first use with a 50/50 mixture of water and vinegar.  A little alcohol makes the mat dry faster.  That pretty much gets rid of any slight rubber smell.  Again, it just depends on how sensitive you are to odors — most people don’t detect any smell at all.

4.  Heavy

Some of the top, pro mats are super heavy and cumbersome.

Marsh Yoga mats are a cushy, 4 mm thick, 24″ wide and a generous 72.5″ long.  They weigh about 5 pounds so  they are lightweight enough to take to class or use at home.  If you want a thicker support, you can layer two mats together.  The bonus to having two mats and two designs is you can rotate the mats and have a different design on top depending upon your mood that day.

5.  Curls, doesn’t lay flat, surface hasn’t worn well

People complain that their yoga mat doesn’t hold up well over time.  The mat curls or doesn’t lay flat. The surface is worn.

Aside from yoga, I have had one of the Marsh Yoga mats on my floor for a year, in a high traffic area of my home, where people and animals both walk over the mat every day, multiple times, in shoes and muddy paws.  There is no sign at all of curling.  The mat lays flat and stays put.  I had an oldster, three legged dog(since deceased) that needed a grippy mat on the floor to be able to navigate.  He was able to walk across the mat without kicking it up at all.  Worked beautifully to give him the traction he needed without moving under his feet.  And the surface still looks great!

Here is what a yoga instructor recently wrote about her Marsh Yoga mat that she has been using for nearly one year:  “I’ve had deluxe mats that have not worn well, but this one is standing the test of time and heavy use.”

The Marsh Yoga mats are printed in the USA using a patented printing process where the ink is sublimated into the natural rubber.   So the designs and colors hold up and are colorfast.

6. Not recyclable

The PVC and TPE mats cannot be dropped off at your local recycling center.  And they are not biodegradable.  So they will sit in the landfill long after you have passed on to the afterlife.

The 100% natural tree rubber, Marsh Yoga mats, are biodegradable and won’t sit in the local landfill for the next 1000 years.  Check with your local recycling center to make sure you can drop off your rubber yoga mat.

But before discarding your mat, you can re-use it in any number of ways.  Animal bedding, floor mats in the kitchen, bathroom, entry halls, sleep pad, cut up into mouse pads, packaging, beach blankets, shelf liners, and padding under furniture are some re-uses for your used yoga mat.  You can also donate your used mat to studios that need extra mats.   Studios that take yoga programming into youth centers, jails, schools, shelters, and other needy populations would welcome extra mats.

7. Not Eco-friendly

PVC and TPE mats are not environmentally friendly neither in their production nor final product.

Marsh Yoga mats are made from 100% natural tree rubber that is sustainably harvested by tapping into rubber trees in Malaysia.  The rubber trees are not harmed in the process.  No Amazon rain forest is destroyed in South America to plant rubber trees.  The 100% tree rubber mats are safe for the environment and for the human body.  The mats are biodegradable.  See point #6 for ideas on how to re-use your old mat.

8.  Holds dirt and fur

Have you seen mats that are just covered with dirt, lint, and fur that seems to cling to it?  It won’t shake off?  Rubber mats seem notorious for this.

Luckily, Marsh Yoga mats shed dirt and fur easily.  Little bits just don’t cling to a Marsh Yoga mat so it stays nice and clean.  Here is what one yoga studio owner said about the Marsh Yoga mats she carries in her studio:   “It doesn’t attract lint or tiny particles like I have seen on Jxxx mats.”  You still want to wipe it down periodically with the 50/50 water vinegar mix(adding a little alcohol to speed drying time) to keep it clean between uses and users but you won’t be picking off dog fur on your way out the door.

9.  Stains easily

Another complaint I have heard about some yoga mats on the market is that sweat and water dripping on the surface leave marks that don’t wash out.  Yogis have expressed embarrassment to take their stained mat into a class or workshop.

Luckily, Marsh Yoga mats do not stain nor leave water or perspiration marks on the surface.

10. Noisy, Loud

There is a top end yoga mat on the market that users complain is “loud” or “noisy”.  “The material will definitely squeak if you move around on the mat a lot. Also, when doing exercises on your back, if your back arches and flattens, it will make a farting noise, to be frank.”  While practicing at home, this might not be an issue.  But if you are taking your mat to a class or to a workshop it could definitely be embarrassing!

Luckily, the Marsh Yoga mats have never made a peep while using them!  They are very quiet to use adding to a peaceful, contemplative environment for your practice. No worries about attracting unwanted, embarrassing attention during a class or workshop!

11. Plain and boring

Okay, #11 is my big, personal complaint.  When I started doing yoga, I hated the plain, boring, toxic, slippery, smelly mats I saw on the market.  Where were the mats with beautiful designs, sparkling stars, swirling chakras, and exciting mandalas?  What about mat designs with colorful sacred geometry, the flower of life springing forth, the tree of life with branches reaching heavenward?  The hot/cool yin/yang energy of the four seasons?  I wanted designs to lift the soul while practicing.  Where was the mat that I could use to align my body and my spirit?

That mat didn’t exist.

So I created my own.

I started making my own full color, yoga mats/rugs back in 1987 from hand dyed wool tufted onto a cotton backing.  I often thought of them as magic carpets to transport to higher dimensions and higher vibrational frequencies.  Praying and meditating on my yoga rugs and now the mats was something I always enjoyed.

I wanted to share a better mat with more yogis but the technology just wasn’t there.  And the price tag for my yoga rugs was just too high for most to even contemplate.  Making one could take months and months.  So I was absolutely thrilled to discover a new printing technology where I can print these amazing designs on a superior yoga mat.

And Marsh Yoga was born.  You can see and purchase the Marsh Yoga mats HERE. 

Thank you

for reading this blog and for supporting me in my quest to bring the best yoga mat on the market to more yogis.



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7 thoughts on “11 Top Complaints About Yoga Mats

  1. Pingback: Om Tara yoga mat, natural tree rubber, sacred geometry, mandala

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