There are so many wonderful benefits to a cork yoga mat – they’re a huge favorite for many yoga instructors.
And while the benefits are great… there are a few types of cork mats you’ll want to avoid (more on that below). For now, let’s cover the 7 main advantages:
Cork yoga mats are completely non-slip (especially with moisture)
Along with cork’s rigid molecular structure, cork releases a waxy substance called Suberin when moisture is added. This creates a superb grip, no matter how wet your mat gets.
It’s sort of like licking your finger to grip some paper. Cork doesn’t get slippery when too much water is added – it still remains totally non-slip during the sweatiest of yoga practices.
You will never need to use a towel or worry about slipping again, even for hot yoga and bikram yoga.
Tip: to maximize your grip, simply spray a bit of water on the area of your hands and feet.
Eco-friendly and fully recyclable, sustainable and biodegradable
Cork has GREAT benefits for the environment, for a few reasons:
- Cork trees are not harmed in the harvesting process, since the cork comes from the bark of a cork oak tree (meaning no trees cut down).
- After the cork is removed, the tree rejuvenates its bark – a completely renewable and sustainable process.
- Cork bark rejuvenation absorbs CO2 from the air – the greenhouse gas that causes climate change. The more cork that is harvested and rejuvenated, the more climate change is prevented.
- The cork and TPE foam in these mats are zero-waste, fully recyclable materials. They’re 100% natural and bio-degradable, leaving zero toxic or chemical remains (and yes, some yoga mats are toxic).
Anti-bacterial properties leave cork yoga mats odorless – there’s no need for regular cleaning
Cork yoga mats eliminate germs, bacteria and odors – meaning it doesn’t need to be sprayed and cleaned after use. The same Suberin substance (eluded to above) also repels dust and small particles.
This makes for a self-cleaning, healthy surface for your yoga practice. You can finally forget about smelly mats!
(Note: although not needed, if you wish to clean your mat anyway, you can always use standard spray, or even just water. However, it is not necessary with cork!)
Non-toxic… zero chemicals or PVC… all-natural and organic
Did you know the vast majority of yoga mats contain dangerous chemicals, toxins and PVC?
Frequent contact with these yoga mats can put a serious long-term health risk, as these same toxins have repeatedly been linked to various cancers, life-threatening conditions and infant birth defects.
This comes down to the pros and cons of cork yoga mats – you do NOT have to be exposed to these chemicals, as cork is 100% natural, organic and non-toxic. It’s completely safe for long-term contact to your skin (cork is about 10-20% more expensive though).
Lightweight, portable and durable
With cork having low density, yet high molecular strength, this yoga mat gives you the best of both worlds – an ultra light yoga mat that weighs only 2 lbs., but still lasts around 1-2 years with regular use.
And if you’re wondering whether they can be rolled up – no worries, the cork is flexible and limber for rolling up and storing away. They can be repeatedly rolled and unrolled, with the cork remaining durable and fully intact.
Comfortable and cushioned for your knees
Many cork yoga mats are very thin at 2-3mm in thickness, but a high quality cork yoga mat offers 5mm of cushioned density cork and foam – providing more than enough comfort for your knees, feet and joints.
This is due to cork’s unique molecular structure, which absorbs contact and quickly regains its form. You will feel incredibly grounded into your yoga poses with a soft, comfortable surface that supports your practice.
Surprising beauty and elegance for a yoga mat
The icing on top?
A beautiful, graceful appearance that emanates and glows in any room. Whether it’s your home, a yoga studio, or in nature, the cork elegance will add to the tranquility of your practice. Pair it with an eco-friendly cork yoga wheel or mat carrier bag too!
AVOID these cork yoga mats:
- Check reviews for flaking or tearing – many of them are simply cheap, and won’t last long. If you’re looking for a durable and long-lasting mat, cork mats last 1-2 years.
- Make sure they lay flat on the ground. Most cork yoga mats will need a small “break-in” period, but you can still begin using it right away. It might just arch a bit on the ends. However, some cork mats arch REALLY bad. You might want to check reviews again.
- 2-3mm thick cork mats. Most of the time, this isn’t enough cushioning for your knees – you typically need at least 4mm of thickness.