Q&A with Manduka Founder Peter Sterios

He set out to find a mat that would last longer and in the process became the pioneer of green yoga gear.

Peter Sterios, an architect, yogi, and Manduka’s founder, set out in 1997 to simply find a mat that would last longer than a year and in the process has become the pioneer of green yoga gear.

Yoga Journal: How did Manduka get its start?

Peter Sterios: I was trying to find a mat that wouldn’t wear out, and that mat has struck a chord with yogis that don’t want to dispose of their mats every year, every two years, they want to hang on to it. I think that’s a powerful environmental statement that these mats are designed to last.

YJ: Why are eco-friendly products such a main part of Manduka?

PS: The drive to always be the leader in innovation when it comes to eco is what our customers appreciated. We didn’t even have a sales force for the first eight years of the business because our customers were our sales force.

YJ: Why is it important to you to make eco-friendly and clean products?

PS: We shouldn’t even have a name for something like this—eco-products—everything should be eco. It’s just good design. It’s just responsibility to the environment and to ourselves.

YJ: What else does Manduka do for the environment?

PS: We have set up recycling programs around the country for people to bring their old mats in for recycling. We are trying to close the loop so the mats that wear out don’t end up in landfills.

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