When it comes to hot yoga…
Using the WRONG material for your mat can lead to a lot of slipping and sliding!
It’s not only uncomfortable, but it’s incredibly annoying – and stops you from having the best yoga experience you can get.
With a cork yoga mat, you don’t have to worry about any of this. Many instructors believe it’s the perfect anti-slip, grippy, and water-resistant mat on the market – let’s explain why.
What is a cork yoga mat?
A cork yoga mat is made from 100% recyclable and biodegradable materials. This is the same kind of cork used for wine bottles and corkboards.
The cork used for these mats is taken from the bark of a cork tree. Because the material is only taken from the bark, the trees are completely unharmed. Plus the bark regenerates fast, making it a very sustainable source of the material.
What are the differences between each type of yoga mat?
There are several types of yoga mat materials available on the market aside from cork. To help you understand each type better, we’ll go through the strengths and weaknesses of each material.
When choosing a yoga mat for hot yoga, there are three main things you’ll want to consider:
- Look at how strong the grip of the yoga mat is to avoid slipping during practice.
- Since you’re going to be extra sweaty, it’s good to know how easy you can clean the yoga mat and keep it from developing a funk.
- You want a yoga mat that is durable and will last you a long time. You don’t want to waste your money on a mat that you have to replace a year down the road.
Cork yoga mats
If there’s one thing cork does best it’s offering lots of traction. Don’t believe it? Why do you think it’s so hard to take a cork out of a wine bottle? Because it offers so much traction—even when it’s wet! So no matter how sweaty your feet and palms get, you won’t have to worry about slipping while doing your downward dogs when using a cork yoga mat.
Another great thing about cork yoga mats is their antimicrobial properties. Basically, they can kill germs and bacteria by themselves. So you rarely have to do any cleaning! Even if you leave your yoga mat in the car after a particularly sweaty hot yoga sesh, you won’t have to worry about it getting smelly.
When it comes to durability, cork mats do not disappoint. You can use them every single day and they’ll still last you an average of one to two years. No wonder cork yoga mats are a lot of people’s go-to for hot yoga. The only downside to cork mats is that they’re a bit more expensive compared to other yoga mat materials. But then again you’re getting your money’s worth!
Natural rubber yoga mats
Natural rubber mats are also one of the more expensive types of yoga mats. Natural rubber is a great material but its weakness lies in its durability. When you first use a natural rubber mat it provides some great non-slip qualities. And—they might not be antimicrobial like cork mats—but they are very easy to clean.
The problem with natural rubber is that when it experiences a lot of friction, the layers of the rubber wear off. You’ll notice the areas where you normally place your feet or hands will start wearing away gradually. That’s why, when you’re cleaning a natural rubber mat, it’s not a good idea to use harsh strokes, just gently wipe the surface of the mat to avoid damaging it further.
PVC yoga mats
A PVC or vinyl mat has great non-slip qualities, is durable, and is cheaper than a cork yoga mat. But, PVC mats are known to be bad for the environment and are made with harmful chemicals. As such, we encourage to you avoid these types of mats at all costs.
Plenty of yogis have noticed that PVC mats usually have an unsettling chemical smell to them. So if you’re sensitive to smells or are concerned for your safety and the environment, you might not be a fan of PVC mats. That smell is actually from the abundance of chemicals and toxins found in the material!
TPE yoga mats
TPE yoga mats are a mix of plastic and rubber. They’re actually pretty similar to PVC. However, they’re somewhat more sustainable and eco-friendly.
These mats are also the cheapest you can find and are usually the mats beginner yogis tend to buy. They’re also latex-free so if you’re allergic to latex this is a great option. You do have to clean these mats if you want to avoid them from smelling, but they’re pretty easy to clean. Again, though, we don’t recommend this material to those who are conscious about what the environment and what they put on their skin.
NBR yoga mats
NBR mats are made of synthetic rubber material and are also more affordable. Aside from having good non-slip qualities they also provide a lot more cushioning. Compared to a natural rubber mat, the synthetic rubber mat is much thicker.
You’ll notice when you’re using NBR mats that your hands and feet may leave imprints but they’ll go back to their natural shape after a while. Cleaning NBR mats are a lot like cleaning natural rubber mats and TPE mats. Because these are also made from synthetic materials, we don’t recommend them.
Cotton yoga mats
Cotton mats don’t have the best grip and they tend to move around a lot on smooth surfaces. This is definitely not the kind of mat you want to be using during hot yoga.
Cotton also isn’t the best material for absorbing sweat. These mats tend to get smelly a lot quicker, and if you don’t wash them thoroughly the smell will linger. Plus, most cotton is filled with pesticides and preservatives from the growing process.
Jute yoga mats
A jute mat actually has the same antimicrobial properties as a cork yoga mat. That means you also don’t have to clean this very often.
But unlike a cork mat, the texture of jute is scratchy. If you’re particular about textures then you should opt for cork material. It is far more comfortable.
Are cork yoga mats better for hot yoga than other yoga mats?
The answer is clear, a cork yoga mat is definitely the best for hot yoga. While they do cost a bit more, believe us when we say you get what you pay for. Here are a few reasons why we recommend these for not just hot yoga, but all form of yoga!
Strong grip & Anti-slip
Cork is a water-resistant material – even when it gets wet… it still doesn’t lose its non-slip qualities. In fact, cork gains even MORE traction when wet, so you don’t have to worry about slipping during hot yoga. Yes, cork yoga mats have perfect grip.
Antimicrobial & Self-cleaning
Aside from being anti-slip, the antimicrobial properties of cork allow the mat to clean itself. Even if you sweat buckets during your yoga session, there will be no signs of bad odor, mold, or mildew. This also goes for cork back wheels and cork yoga kits too.
Cork mats are made from the bark of cork oak trees. This material is very durable and resilient allowing the mat to last around one or two years, while the rest of the mats mentioned above only last around 8 months or less.
Most yoga mats weigh around 3 pounds, a cork mat weighs below 2 pounds and can easily be carried around. So you can bring it with you everywhere and stay consistent with your yoga practice.
Sustainable & Eco-friendly
A cork yoga mat is eco-friendly, a majority of the materials mentioned above are not. The cork is from the bark of the cork tree.
The trees aren’t cut and the bark regenerates over time. This process also helps lessen the carbon dioxide in the air, a major greenhouse gas that has been contributing to climate change for years.
The Best Cork Yoga Mats for Hot Yoga!
Avoid slipping in your own sweat and get the most out of your hot yoga session with these cork yoga mats.
The regular and alignment yoga mat are both made from organic, eco-friendly materials. Both of these mats are 100% non-slip, self-cleaning, durable, and lightweight. Each mat is 72in. long by 25in. wide and 5mm thick, which is the ideal thickness for yoga mats to provide maximum cushioning.
But that’s not it—we also review the best cork yoga blocks and cork yoga mat bags made with the same sustainable cork materials that’ll match perfectly with your mats! No matter what you need, we’re here with the products and resources to help you become the best yogi you can be.