Where did it all begin and
where are we now?
For thousands of years, Yoga mats were not really needed as the practice consisted mainly of seated breathing and meditation. Yogis back then would use animal skins or basic cloths if they needed a bit of cushioning.
As more challenging asanas (physical postures) became more popular, more supportive surfaces were needed. Over time, mats started to evolve from the more basic folded cloths on which Yogis would sit, into rugs that were a little bit more like the Yoga mats of today.
By this time, as asana practice had developed more and more, many Yogis were using rugs to practice upon. Shaped like the rectangular mats with which we're familiar now, these rugs were made from cotton or synthetic alternatives.
The more dynamic posture based practice (and of course the other limbs of Yoga too) were becoming more and more popular, and this type of Yoga was spreading all across the World. It was during this decade that one clever Yogini adapted a piece of foam carpet underlay into a Yoga mat! This laid the foundation for the mat as we know it today.
By now, so-called 'sticky mats' were firmly established on the Yoga scene. However, a common problem with these early sticky mats was that they didn't last very long. Their soft foam material tended to deteriorate far too quickly.
In order to try and tackle the durability problem, harder and tougher mats were made from Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC), which became the standard. But it turns out there are some big issues with making Yoga mats from this material!
PVC is good for underground piping but not Yoga mats!
When Yogis throw away their PVC mats they will most likely end up in landfill where they could take hundreds or even thousands of years to fully break down! And what's more, these chemicals are toxic when released in to the ground.
If PVC Yoga mats are burned (i.e. if the mats end up in a municipal incineration facility, or in some countries an open fire burning site), the situation is even worse - watch the video for more details!
For all the facts, scroll down to read the full science report.
PVC mats were also so slippery that Yogis started using towels on top of them. These towels tended to flap around, distracting Yogis from their practice. Not to mention the wasted water and detergent pollution from frequently washing these towels, or the added cost of buying them in the first place!
In early 2008, some dedicated Yogis (yes, that's us at Liforme!) embarked on a journey to create a new mat which would deliver all things Yogis really wanted, and which would be truly environmentally considerate.
5 years of research and innovation with some of the World's best material engineers and scientists, and gathering countless feedback from Yoga teachers and students around the World...
Even when sweaty-wet!
PVC free, biodegradable in 1-5 years and made using high quality non-toxic materials.
Intelligent markers. Originally Designed.
For a stable and comfortable practice.
The wise Yogis around the World have caught on to Liforme's truly revolutionary Yoga mats! Liforme's game changing mats are being used in over 85 countries Worldwide.
Use a mat that will really support your practice, made by a company whose ethics and values you can really believe in!
In this world of fake news and mis-information, it's REALLY IMPORTANT that you know your facts. And whilst we're a very honest company, we realise that sometimes people want more than to just 'take our word for it'. So even though we've spent years sifting through a vast array of different possible materials suppliers, to find the very best partners who are really able to produce our Liforme mat materials in accordance with our values and standards, we didn't stop at taking their word for it either.
We wanted to go a step further in being able to deliver on our promise to you that our products are 'truly eco friendly'! So, we commissioned an independent study from a leading polymer expert from Imperial College London - a global top ten university with a world class reputation in science.
Here is the report, and we strongly encourage you all to read this - so you really KNOW YOUR FACTS!
Liforme mats are super grippy, even when sweaty-wet. So they really provide what most Yogis want in a mat.
PVC mats tend to be so slippery when Yogis sweat on them, that they need to be covered up with towels (which are an added hassle and cost, and waste water because they need to be washed frequently).
Liforme mats are NON-TOXIC and suitable for use in human contact, i.e their intended purpose as a Yoga mat (which involves user contact between their skin and the mat).
PVC mats contain very HIGH AMOUNTS OF CHLORINE, which is a nasty substance. Some PVC mats contain other unfriendly ingredients including potentially harmful phthalates.
When Yoga mats are disposed of they will most likely be buried in a landfill.
Or they may be burned.
Disposal of Liforme mats in landfill is environmentally friendly, as Liforme materials are BIODEGRADABLE. They will break down in typical landfill conditions, within approximately 1-5 years. On decomposition, Liforme materials are non-toxic.
If Liforme’s Polyurethane material is disposed of by burning, the resultant gases will be mostly water vapour and carbon dioxide – relatively un-harmful gases.
Disposal of PVC mats is something of an environmental nightmare. PVC mats have virtually zero biodegradability, and will most likely CLOG UP LANDFILLS for hundreds, or even a THOUSAND YEARS. In the ground, the PVC would (very, very slowly) turn into complex halogenated organic compounds, which are known to be ENVIRONMENTAL TOXINS.
Burning PVC produces dioxins, which are among the most TOXIC CHEMICALS ever created by humans.