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Depending on its make and quality—and the rigor of your practice—your yoga mat will ultimately need replacing. After it cushions its final Child’s Pose, you might try the following ideas for keeping it out of the landfill.
Eric Levenstein, a yoga teacher at the Mountain Lakes, New Jersey, YMCA, recycles sticky mats throughout his house. He cuts them to make nonskid pads for cushioning hallway carpet runners and for anchoring the fabric on his baby’s changing table. He scissors small squares to go under furniture legs and flowerpots (the mats are impermeable to water), and even tinier pieces to put behind picture frames or bulletin boards.
Abby Tucker, a teacher at Yoga Kula and 7th Heaven, in Berkeley, California, suggests using old mats as pads for your sleeping bag when you go camping; as drop cloths when painting; and as supplemental knee padding on top of your brand-new mat. “That extra padding is great for Ustrasana (Camel Pose) and low lunges,” she says.
The potential uses probably equal the number of yoga poses. Last year, Tucker says, she noticed a Manduka mat in the entryway of a local cafe. And many animal shelters use them as extra bedding for their animals.