Buying preloved is great for the planet and great for your pocket. Here's what to watch out for when buying second hand yoga mats.
A Quick Guide to Buying Second Hand Yoga Mats
Benefits of Buying Preloved Yoga Mats
Get Kitted Out For Less
As we've already mentioned, buying used yoga mats and props means you can save money. When you first start a yoga class you may be able to borrow equipment from your teacher. But eventually you might want to buy your own kit. Depending on the type of yoga you do there can be a number of different props, straps and mats that you may need.
So buying your yoga equipment second hand means you don't have to miss out on any props you may need to support you properly during practice. Even if you only need a mat, you may be able to afford a more premium, long-lasting mat by searching for a carefully used, second-hand yoga mat.
Save on Resources
Likewise, buying a brand new yoga bag filled with a mat, straps and bricks takes up a lot of energy and resources. Then you have to account for plastic packaging and shipping.
You can get more 'sustainable' brand new yoga mats and bags that either use recycled materials or natural alternatives to plastic. These include items like cork blocks or buckwheat filled bolsters. But buying second hand is always the most sustainable option.
1. Carefully Check Item Condition
We recommend giving second hand yoga items a good look over. That means reading up on the condition of the item online and checking the photos. If you can visit a physical store or see the item in-person, this would be even better.
2. How Worn is the Item?
There's two elements here. The first thing you need to ask yourself is how bothered you are about how worn or used the item looks.
Often you can find deadstock or slightly imperfect yoga mats which may have some discolouration due to being stored incorrectly. The mat itself is almost new but the colour has faded on the section of a mat.
Or you might be looking at a used mat with some small signs of wear like scuffs or holes. Again, the performance of the mat is likely to be unaffected. Even if you took the mat to a yoga class, your mat would simply just look like you do a lot of yoga. It's okay to have a yoga mat with marks on it.
3. What Kind of Mat are you Looking for?
Ok, so the second thing you need to think about when it comes to buying a yoga mat is about what kind of mat you're looking for.
Here are three practical things to think about:
- Grip/ texture (do you feel like the mat gives you enough stability?)
- Thickness (does the mat offer enough support?)
- Size (is the mat wide and long enough?)
- Weight (can you easily take your mat with you wherever you go?)
4. Checking the Surface
The surface of a yoga mat can vary from a textured to a smooth surface. Cork yoga mats become more grippy when they're slightly damp. Rubber mats are often designed with quite a textured or even sticky surface to keep you in the right place. You can also get PU style mats which tend to be smoother.
When buying second hand it's worth checking the mat over to see if the mat is still grippy in the way you like. If you can see it in person and try it out then you can make sure it suits you.
5. Are Second Hand Yoga Mats Clean?
It's perfectly natural to sweat during your yoga practice and when you travel on and off the mat you will unavoidably track some dirt or dust onto the mat's surface.
But the good thing is you can clean most yoga mats with a damp cloth. You can also get specialist cleaners which freshen up a mat without causing any visual damage. Some yoga mats are even machine washable on a hand wash setting.
It's unlikely that a second hand yoga mat will have its original packaging and care instructions. So it is worth double checking what mat you have and how to clean it.
Types of Yoga Mat to Look For
Here's a list of common types of yoga mat you can buy second hand.
- Natural rubber
- Sticky PVC mat
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And What Happens if the Yoga Mat Isn't Right for You?
It's so disappointing when things aren't quite right when you buy something online or even after you've tested it in store. But all is not lost.
The first step is to check if you can return your mat. You may be able to get a refund.
If for whatever reason this is not possible, you might still be able to sell it on eBay or Facebook marketplace.
Your next option if you can't sell it is to donate it. Depending on the condition of your mat you may be able to donate it to a charity shop. Or you could even reach out to your local homelessness charity or refugee centre.
Once your second hand yoga mat has really given all it can (maybe it is too damaged to donate) you could upcycle it. There's lots of things you could do with each mat depending on what it's made of. Rubber mats can make great boot liners or for protecting furniture when transporting goods.
You could also cut out yoga mats and turn them into coasters. If you're feeling particularly creative you could even create a laptop bag.
Some yoga mats are biodegradable as well. So check the details of your mat, so at the very last resort your well loved mat will eventually decompose and leave no toxins behind in the soil.