There are approximately a million and one different yoga mats out there, so naturally choosing one for yourself can be a tough decision. One of the main factors to look at when deciding is what each mat is made from. Most yoga mats are made from PVC or rubber, but in recent years there have been more and more options including our favorite, cork!
Cork yoga mats are just about as natural as they come, and they’re great for your practice, too. Watch our latest video on the process of cork and discover four reasons why we think you should pick cork for your next mat.
1. Cork is environmentally friendly
Cork production is one of the most environmentally sustainable harvesting processes in the world. Cork yoga mats (and every other cork product) start with cork oak trees. They are left to mature until they are 25-30 years old when they can be harvested for the first time. Unlike most products made from trees, cork doesn’t require the tree to be cut down. Instead, cork oak bark is carefully shaved and the tree is left untouched for the next nine years to regenerate. This process can be repeated until each tree is 200 years old!
Once the bark is harvested, it’s air-dried for six months, and then it’s off to the factory. There, the first order of business is to boil the planks to clean and soften them. Once they’re soft enough to work with, the planks are graded and cut to size. The excess chippings and pieces are ground up to create agglomerate cork for things like bulletin boards and construction materials. The chemical components removed during processing are used to create tanning, hard wax, and resinous gum. Even the powder that comes from the grinding process is sometimes burned to help fuel the factory! Talk about sustainable.
2. Cork is good for your health
You can spend hours every week standing on, touching, or lying on top of your yoga mat, so it’s important that your mat doesn’t have anything harmful on or in it. With cork yoga mats, you never have to worry about that thanks to a substance in cork called suberin. Suberin makes cork hypoallergenic by repelling dust, mold, and small particles. It also has antimicrobial properties which kill germs, bacteria, and odors. Additionally, suberin also acts as a water- and fire-resistant coating. And to top it all off, all of these amazing properties are natural, which means that cork doesn’t need to be treated with hormones or chemicals – and you won’t be either!
3. Cork is built to last
Yoga mats can be expensive, especially if you find yourself buying a new one every few months or even every year. Cork yoga mats, however, are built to last. Due to its cell composition, cork is extremely durable and flexible, and together with its moisture resistance, that means that cork yoga mats have a years-long life.
4. Cork is ideal for yoga
But of course, none of that is helpful at all if cork doesn’t make a good yoga mat. Good thing it does! Despite their smooth feel, cork yoga mats are grippy with great traction both on top and bottom, ensuring that you stay in place on your mat and it stays in place on the floor. They are up to 50% air, making them lightweight and super portable. They are cushioned without being overly soft. Plus, because all of that awesome suberin, they’re easy to clean and don’t trap odors. When it comes to choosing a yoga mat, you have countless options, but if you look at all the factors, it’s a no-brainer. Cork yoga mats are high performing and great for you and the environment.