Eventually, TLC and a protective bag may not be enough. In an interview with PopSugar, personal trainer and nutritional counselor John Fawkes explained that yoga mats may have different life spans, but the signs of wear and tear remain the same. If the mat is less firm than it used to be or if its texture has changed, it’s time to get a new one. Another good sign is if you find yourself slipping on a yoga mat that was once non-slip. Mats used regularly for high-intensity workouts will start showing these signs within 6-8 months. If your workouts are on the gentler side but still regular, you can get up to 12 months out of your mat.
Unfortunately, once your mat is out of commission, you can’t just throw it in the recycling bin. Recycle Nation explains that yoga mats are often made of PVC, which is non-recyclable. There are brands that make mats out of recycled or sustainable materials, but the most common mats are better off reused than recycled. Consider turning them into seating pads for use at outdoor events or while gardening. When your mat starts to wear down, take a look at recyclable brands that allow people to maintain a fresh, safe mat responsibly.