Photo credit: lululemon athletica/flickr
Authentic Hatha yoga is already pretty minimalist. Spotted in The New York Times style section, a small group of yogins is taking it further--opting to sun salute on straight up floor rather than on their sticky mat.
Their reasons are for the most part valid and to a certain extent, I agree. Sure, I get psyched that there are yoga mats set at price points for every aspiring yogin out there making it accessible to all-- but I also get ill over the saturation of conventionally-made mats spotted in supermarkets, book stores, beauty supply stores, etc. They're everywhere and riddled with toxic PVC as Pablo points out.
... They argue that yoga mats are over commercialized, bad for the environment and less hygienic.
So I say, yes, if it works for you, forgo the mat altogether. But don't do it simply to join the trend and know that it doesn't need to be all or nothing. There happen to be some great green mat brands like Manduka and Jade out there. The Times article fails to mention this.
If ditching the mat will dampen your enthusiasm to hit class--or the floor--isn't it worth thinking twice? I'm not sure if there's anything sustainable about slacking in a practice that helps keep us healthy in both body and mind, if it's instructed and practiced safely and sincerely.
For now, unless I'm in the grass, I prefer rocking my asanas on my eco-mat. What about you?