I’m hoping to get a new yoga mat for Christmas. The one is I use daily is getting worn. Also, my knees are getting older and it seems they’d benefit from more padding when I practice. I don’t want to simply throw my old mat away, so I started wondering about re-purposing old yoga mats. The first (and only) thing I thought of was they’d be great under my cats’ litter boxes.
I figured there’d be other things I could do with them, so I decided to ask an online group of yoga teachers if they had suggestions for repurposing old yoga mats. To my surprise, they had many. So many, that I’m thinking of asking about organizing a used mat drive at my local studio.
Here are eight great ideas for repurposing old yoga mats.
1. Cut them into flowers and other shapes to use in kids’ classes.
As a former elementary school teacher, I love this idea. There are dozens of ways shapes cut from old yoga mats could be used for arts and crafts. Yoga mat sculptures, perhaps? You can even cut them into geometric shapes for teaching preschoolers or use pieces for kids to sit on during story or circle time.
2. Donate them to animal shelters.
I probably should have thought of this one on my own. After all, my cats seem to have a fascination with my yoga mats, which is why I keep the door to my home studio closed when I’m not practicing. I prefer my mats without claw-holes! However, once it’s time for repurposing old yoga mats, I’m told, they make excellent padding for cages. Call your local animal shelter to see if the organization accepts them.
3. Bring them to senior centers, nursing homes, or homeless shelters where yoga may be practiced.
Often volunteer yoga teachers work with seniors or the homeless, but these people may not have yoga mats to practice on. If your old mats are in decent condition, they may be useful in these cases. Call the homes or shelters or connect with volunteer organizations like Kula for Karma that provide free yoga classes for under-served populations.
4. Use them to line cabinets and drawers.
Here is another brilliant idea for repurposing old yoga mats. It works especially well when you have items that tend to slide around in drawers. The sticky mat will keep your things in place, just like it keeps your hands and feet in place when you practice yoga!
5. Use them in your car if you transport animals, plants, or other things that might make a mess.
Simply keep an old mat or two in your car to roll out whenever you need it. The mat will cover the back seat with room to spare, creating a barrier between pets, dirt, or any other substance you’d prefer to keep out of the vehicle. You can then remove the mat and wipe it down between trips.
6. Use them under carpets, baby blankets, or pet dishes.
You can cut them to the size you need for each of these purposes. Again, the mats will keep keep the humans or animals who step on the carpets, sit or lie on the blankets, or eat from the dishes from slipping and sliding. A bonus when used under dishes (or babies) is protection for your floor.
7. Use them under new mats if you need extra padding.
You can use the whole mat under your new mat for extra thickness or cut the mats into pieces if you just need extra padding for your knees or wrists.
8. Use them as runners in winter.
Need a way to keep snow and muddy footprints off your floors or carpets in bad weather? You can use old yoga mats as runners or a place to leave shoes when you come in from the snow.
9. Use them to make bolsters for kids.
Ever try one of those extra-large bolsters? They’re great if you’re extra large (say, a pro football player), but if you’re not, they can be a bit uncomfortable. The same is true of a regular adult-size bolster if you’re a kid. You can roll old yoga mats into makeshift bolsters. Put them in a full-body pillow case with the end gathered and secured. Another option is a yoga mat bag that doesn’t have a zipper or strap that would make it difficult to use as a bolster.
Do you have other suggestions for repurposing old yoga mats? Add your ideas in the comments!