If you are a full-on yogi, or perhaps just getting into the practice, you will know that one of the most important pieces of equipment to invest in is a good mat. Without one, your practice is rather limited. But how do you know which mat is right for you?
With so many mats on the market these days, it’s difficult to choose one. There are mats made of PVC (or vinyl), natural rubber, recycled rubber, jute, organic cotton, cork, and the list goes on. So choosing which one is right for you can be a daunting task.
Not only are there different materials to think of, but the size, weight, color, etc. are other factors that play into your choice. Where should you begin? Well, if you are looking for an easy to clean mat that is made from a natural and renewable resource, then a cork yoga mat may be your answer. Let’s take a look at the cork yoga mat and why it might just be perfect for you.
Is Cork an Eco-friendly Material for Yoga Mats?
To put it simply, the answer is yes. Cork yoga mats are 100% natural, sustainable, biodegradable, and recyclable. Another perk is that it can be obtained through a harvesting process that is completely tree-friendly. Let’s take a look at how cork is harvested.
Cork trees are grown in the Mediterranean area and the cork which is used to make the yoga mats is taken from the outer layer of bark from these trees. The cork tree is the only tree in the world that can regenerate its bark. Therefore, the cork trees are not cut down in order to make the mats and the tree bark is regenerated and when cork bark is harvested, it enables the tree to absorb more CO2 from the atmosphere.It is a completely sustainable process.
A harvested cork tree can live up to 300 years. That is a lot of yoga mats! When harvesting cork to make yoga mats, the excess bark is granulated to create other items made of cork. The harvesting process is done completely by hand, creating over 100,000 jobs.
How can Cork Material Enhance Your Practice?
There are various advantages to using a cork mat. When choosing a mat, it is always important to weigh the pros and cons of each one and see which one is the best fit. Of course, there are plenty of great yoga mats out there, so what sets cork yoga mats apart from the rest?
Well, there is more than one answer to this simple question. Here is a list of advantages to using a cork yoga mat. These may or may not help you make up your mind when making a decision about a mat.
- It is eco-friendly. We already discussed how the cork yoga mat is biodegradable, recyclable, and comes from a sustainable source. There is also the fact that cork trees store carbon so that they can regenerate their bark, so a harvested cork tree absorbs up to five times more carbon dioxide than one that is not harvested. Therefore, you are doing the environment a favor by using a cork mat!
- It has a non-slip grip. Because of its open cell structure and the natural wax that is produced by cork, this yoga mat isn’t going anywhere! It is especially good for hot yoga.
- It is non-toxic and skin-friendly. Free of chemicals, this type of mat will not harm or irritate your skin in any way. Also, the cork mat tends to feel a bit more like the earth than other yoga mats.
- It is naturally antibacterial. Studies have shown that cork reduces bacteria by nearly 97%! That means your yoga mat won’t stink and be a hotbed for bacteria.
- It is durable. After you’ve made your decision on a mat, you don’t want it to give out on you. A cork mat will allow you to keep practicing yoga for years if you take care of it.
How do you Clean and Take Care of a Cork Yoga Mat?
Made up your mind already? Well, before you invest in a mat, it is important that you understand how to properly take care of it so that it will last you a long time. For cork mats, it is best to clean them with cold water on a soft cloth. Simply wipe the mat down with the cloth and then let it air dry. It is important that it is dry before you roll it up so that it won’t damage the cork.
We have prepared a detailed guide on cleaning the mat here :
Tips for While you are Using Your Cork Yoga Mat
While using a yoga mat should be pretty self-explanatory, there may be a few things you didn’t think of before. In order to keep your cork mat in tip-top shape and keep the grip strong, there are a few things you should consider.
- Avoid lotions and oils before coming to the mat. This can cause them to become slippery.
- Always clean your mat with cold water and a cloth after use. This keeps it clean and ready to use.
- Make sure your yoga mat air dries completely before storing it. This will avoid any fungus or mold that may be caused by storing it damp.
- Treat it well. Just like with any of our nice things, our cork yoga mats should be treated well. Keep it in a dry area that is not too hot or cold and always roll it up to store.
If you are wondering what type of yoga mat to invest in, a cork yoga mat just might be what you need. Have a look today and see for yourself why they make such excellent mats.
Photo credit : Unsplash
Video credit : Youtube