Has Your Yoga Practice Become Toxic?
Yoga does amazing things for your health. Releases stress and tension, builds and lengthens muscle, strengthens your core, clears the chatter in your mind, and so much. But what about your yoga mat? Is it healthy for you? Does it matter what kind of yoga mat you practice on? The answer is YES! Most yoga products, not just yoga mats, on the market today, are made up of toxic and synthetic materials—toxins like PVC, carcinogens, phthalates, and more. Wait. What? My yoga mat is toxic? Great, just another thing to add to my list of harmful things!
Studies show that phthalates alone can be endocrine disruptors causing reproductive issues including: infertility, shorter pregnancies, and early breast development in girls; it has also been linked to cancer, obesity, and asthma. These phthalates can leach out over time, especially in warmer temperatures like those found in many hot yoga studios. This is called 'off gassing'. Which then leads us to another problem, these Phthalate particles cling to dust, which are inhaled during practice. Because our breath is so much deeper during yoga, we are inhaling these toxins at a more intense rate. Even if the mats are made out of natural materials- they are chemically dyed and treated or have toxic binding agents to hold them together.
It’s a total bummer, I know. Our outlet for well-being has become toxic, like everything else out there. Not to be all negative, but this sucks, right? One more thing- If it’s doing this kind of harm to our bodies, what’s it doing to our environment? Our Animals?
Unfortunately, the chemicals used in making yoga mats include toxins like chlorine gas, mercury and vinyl chloride. These toxins are being released into the atmosphere. In addition, these mats and yoga accessories cannot be recycled. They take hundreds of years to decompose. If you do dispose of them, through incineration or if buried in a landfill, it releases dioxin — a cancer-causing chemical. On top of all this, the chemical dyes are being disposed of into our waters, causing water pollution, harming our marine life.
These are some significant problems that the yoga industry seems to have overlooked. Or in the days of fast fashion/mass production, they just don't care. Fortunately, in more recent years, yoga companies have come to realize the harm it's doing to the environment and have made some changes. Now there are eco-friendly yoga mats made out of jute, hemp, cork, and natural latex.
But still, this wasn't enough for me. I wanted more than that. I wanted to create an evolutionary change in the yoga industry. I wanted a yoga mat that was eco-friendly, good for our body, and aesthetically beautiful. A yoga mat I could leave rolled out in my house at all times that encouraged me to practice more. A yoga mat that stood for more than just another yoga mat.
Bennd was created kind of by luck and entirely meant to be. It was one of those AH-HA moments that come along once in a lifetime. At that time, I was open and ready to accept what the universe had to offer, and boy did it offer something beautiful!
I was looking to create a non-toxic women's clothing line that would be eco-friendly and good for the body. Upon all my research, I came across this beautiful art called Ayurvastra, which is a form of Ayurvedic Medicine. It is the process of dying and infusing herbs and medicines into textiles. They have been practicing this art in India for centuries. Having a background in health and wellness, being an LED Light Therapist, I knew how powerful this was. I didn't understand- why wasn't anyone doing this in the United States.
I asked myself, what if we take this a few steps further? What if we infuse herbal medicines into something you broke a sweat doing? Our skin is our largest organ; it absorbs everything we touch. When your body creates heat or is in a heated area, it increases our skin permeability, allowing for better absorption. Well, our hands and feet, have a more significant amount of sweat glands, then other parts of our body. Making it an easy access point for maximum absorption. So when you practice yoga, you are absorbing whatever is on your mat, including the toxins used in its manufacturing. So why not absorb herbal medicines instead?
Bennd does just that. We offer you an innovative, non toxic, medicinal, yoga practice. Our yoga mats and meditation pillows are hand-dyed with medicinal plants and infused with 22 different Ayurvedic herbs and medicines. Now, when you practice on your yoga mat your body is absorbing these medicines. Activating a positive change in your body.
Not only are we disrupting the yoga industry by changing the way people practice, we are helping people improve their health and the environment at the same time.
We take great pride in our efforts to be an eco-friendly and sustainable company. All of our scraps left over from our products get recycled and made into paper for our branding. Our leftover dye bath is used as our fertilizer, being poured back into our garden to grow more plants and herbs. Our shipping boxes, shipping tape, etc. are 100% post consumer- using no virgin materials. We try our hardest to be full circle with zero waste in every aspect of the brand.
Yoga is this beautiful, healthy movement for the body and mind. But it is not doing our body any good if we are absorbing and inhaling toxins. It is not doing our Earth any good if yoga mats are piling up in landfills, and toxic dye baths are getting poured into our waters, hurting our marine life. Help us continue to be the leaders for change, to be the evolution in the yoga industry for our generation and generations to come.