You know that feeling after you watch a documentary when you suddenly decide to make more eco-friendly choices – and get disappointed when you find that so-called ‘green’ products are much more expensive than you’re used to? More and more people want to be more environmentally-friendly, but aren’t willing or able to pay more for it.

Find Harmony, The Eco-Friendly Way

17-year-old Theo Robinson, founder of KaiJai sustainable yoga mats (kai means ‘ocean’ in Hawaiian or ‘recovery’ in Japanese, jai means ‘victory’ in Hindi), felt that the eco-friendly label on products had become a selling point rather than a commitment. He watched his yoga teacher mom buy branded clothes and yoga equipment, replacing them every few years, and realized that the exorbitant price tags on sports equipment were often associated more with brand-building than the actual quality of the products. So, the highschooler created KaiJai, mats made from sustainably sourced, FSC-certified materials, which are similar quality as branded yoga mats but at a more accessible price.

Launched in 2021 from their home in Discovery Bay, the mats are printed with a unique alignment pattern designed by his yogi mom and made with a natural rubber base and a cork or PU upper (PU is PVC’s more environmentally-friendly sibling, which doesn’t release toxins when it breaks down). The cork surface gets grippier without being sticky as you move and start to sweat, unlike traditional mats; as Theo puts it, PU is one of “the most grippy, eco-friendly material[s] you can get on a yoga mat.” KaiJai mats come in two sizes – 5mm and 3.5mm – for yogis who regularly bring their practice outside and want a lighter version.

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All image credits: KaiJai

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