From banana fibre to hyacinth, here's how yoga mats are evolving 

Now your yoga mat can double up as a stress buster, even before you strike a pose. With herb and hyacinth infusions, sustainable collections serve up a host of wellness benefits

author_img Gowri R Published :  15th June 2018 06:00 AM   |   Published :   |  15th June 2018 06:00 AM
While practicing yoga, yoga mats can offer a variety of advantages, including aromatherapy and stress-relieving advantages

From banana fibre to hyacinth, here's how yoga mats are evolving

The next time you do a headstand, you might be able to breathe in Ayurvedic herbs from your yoga mat. We kid you not! From tulsi to sandalwood infusions, we discovered that going the ‘organic’ route this International Yoga Day  (on June 21) has a multitude of benefits — ranging from aromatherapy to stress-busting — all in the midst of your first asana of the day. It’s no coincidence that ecopreneurs are also finding ways to put together natural blends of banana fibre and even water hyacinths that are both good for grip and great for the environment. Here’s a quick rollout of sustainable mats that might literally help you make the world a better place, with your yoga practice.

Bananas & bamboo
“We have probably the world’s largest eco-friendly mat collection,” says Darshan M, co-founder at 
Deivee. Apart from their latest addition — Sanathana, a jute-cotton blend launched a few months ago, the rest of their offerings are made with natural fibres like Elephant grass, Dharbha grass, bamboo, jute, cotton and banana fibre. The banana fibre in their Sampoorna yoga mat helps maintain a natural thermal balance and acupressure stimulation in the body. The fibre is extracted from the stem of the plant and over 300 metres go into the making of a single mat. Each of their mats is made with dexterous hands by artisans in rural Tamil Nadu. It offers a superior grip along with an anti-slip finish. Price: Rs.2,499 upwards.

Turmeric with your tree pose?
This line of mats infused with antiseptic herbs kills germs while you sweat! Expect a 
list of 30 herbs including turmeric, triphala and neem —infused within a single mat, says Yogastra founder Anupam Mukerji. “The idea is that this process will help with internal cleansing and stress relief every time it is used,” says Anupam, an avid yogi himself. This three-year-old Mysore-based brand works in collaboration with the  Cooperative Society of Weavers in Kerala and uses natural dyes as well as gets their cotton fabric GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) certified. Anupam tells us that the making 
process is fairly long-wound, “It takes 10 days to make a mat because it is handwoven and heavily infused with herbs.” These are available in three combinations — Vasantha (neem, turmeric, tulsi) 
Godhuli (vetiver, turmeric, pomegranate shells)and Kumkum (vetiver, triphala, red sandalwood). Price: 
Rs.4,500 upwards.

Do yoga, reduce plastic!

What happens when you put polyester and used PET bottles together? A one-of-a-kind yoga tee apparently. In an effort to recycle the mass of plastic waste across the country, the brands, Deivee and Satva, have come up with the unique idea of blending plastic bottles into their fabrics. “It takes five to six bottles to make a top,” says Darshan M, co-founder of Bengaluru-based Deivee, describing the proportions of recycled waste used in their collection by Delhi-based designer Nida Mahmood. Meanwhile, over at Mumbai-based Satva, retail head Rina Nathani tells us to look out for a new pre-fall collection which will be launched by the end of June. As for those wary of the effects of wearing plastic, Darshan schools us on the fabric, “Polyester includes a variant of plastic anyway, which is not harmful. All we want is to do our bit for the environment by using 
recycled plastic.” 

Savasana by the sea
From Jonty Rhodes to Gautami Tadimalla, 
yoga mats by Juru Yoga have takers across the board. This Chennai-based company recently introduced
a chakra and 8-limb collections as part of their cork and natural rubber blends. Both are reversible and washable, says Sudarshan Borker, co-founder of the four-year-old company. Focusing on sustainability and longevity, Sudarshan tells us, “Our mats can be used in seawater as well.” Available in two variants, Shakthi and Mandala, which cater to indoor and outdoor practitioners, respectively. 
Price: Rs.2,500 upwards.

Hyacinths with a heart 
Empowering rural artisans is the all-natural Pani Meteka or Water Hyacinth yoga mat. Strong enough to handle your weight during an intense workout as well as sustain livelihoods through Assam and Tamil Nadu — this organic option can be found on the online store, Heart for Art, which is an extension of a Pune-based trust. Meghadipa Roy Chowdhury, who manages the store, shares that the collection  has wellness benefits, as well, “These mats are hypo-allergenic so they make a good investment for those prone to allergies or with sensitive skin.” In addition, she adds, “They are good for the environment, as well, because they decompose easily when discarded.” Price: Rs.1,350 upwards.