It’s cheap, it works really well for a variety of yoga styles, and it can be thin or thick without adding too much extra weight to your yoga bag. If you’re looking for a mat that’s versatile, relatively inexpensive, and can last a long time, PVC is a good option.
If you’re researching PVC mats, you’ll probably see a lot of hype around “leaching toxins” and “dangerous plastics.” The truth is, the type of vinyl used in these mats is pretty much everywhere, from car interiors, to shower curtains, to roofing materials, and there’s no evidence to support that it’s harmful in the levels you’d be exposed to doing yoga. What PVC is though is really, really bad for the environment in its production, and it leaves behind products that break down very slowly and are not recyclable at the end of their use. If this is a concern for you, and it’s in your budget, there are some great newer materials that will give you the same benefits and are much more earth-friendly.
PVC mats also come with a smell when they’re unpacked – this unpleasant odor usually dissipates in an hour to a day, but it means you’ll want to let your mat sit out a little while before use.