5 Reasons Why Cork Yoga Mats and Blocks Are Best For Hot Yoga
I’m sure by now you’ve probably found yourself in a yoga class practicing your downward dog next to someone practicing on a cork yoga mat or using cork yoga blocks, heck maybe they were using both! Sure, the cork gear has a beautiful natural aesthetic, and looks really cool, but did you know that there are some undeniable benefits to choosing cork yoga products over other materials, and not just for hot yoga but all yoga. There are numerous compelling reasons to switch out your towels and PVC mats for cork products during your yoga practice, so let’s dive right in!
- Cork is Eco-Friendly
Cork comes from the Cork Oak Tree, found in the Mediterranean area. It’s harvested from the outer layer of the tree’s bark, and the best part is that the tree regenerates this bark, thus making cork totally renewable and environmentally safe. The cork that we use for our mats and yoga blocks is utilized in such a way that nothing goes to waste, and trees are treated with the utmost care. In fact, interestingly, harvested trees are able to absorb five times more carbon dioxide than non-harvested trees! So, it’s a win for them as well.
Many people don’t realize that lots of yoga mats out on the market are made with latex, and harsh and harmful chemicals. Definitely not something you want in any circumstances, let alone in a hot room where they run a greater chance of being released, right into your skin. Since we spend so much time on our mats, it’s vital to make sure we are practicing on one made with materials that are safe for us and the environment!
- Superior Non-Slip Grip
If there is one thing we can all agree on, it’s that our yoga mats should not double as slip and slides. More than a few of us have struggled through a class as we continuously slide right out of our poses, so we know the importance of having good (non-slip) gear. To this end, cork mats are actually the perfect piece to keep your hands and feet planted where you need them to be. This is due to a natural wax called Suberin that’s contained in cork, which actually makes the material grippier as you sweat, making it particularly great for hot yoga. Also, the open cell structure of the cork channels sweat away from the surface, preventing it from forming slippery puddles on your mat. This extra grip extends to your cork yoga blocks as well.
Another prime advantage to cork is that it’s naturally antimicrobial. Yoga mats, even rubber ones, are porous, making them great breeding grounds for germs and bacteria. Using a cork mat will dramatically reduce the amount of the gross stuff that you’ll carry around with you. A recent study showed that, after only 90 minutes, bacteria on cork was reduced by over 96%, so you can be assured that cork is the more hygienic (and less odorous) choice. Cork is also easy to clean; because of its innate properties, you can use all-natural cleaners, like ours, or even just simply wipe it down, so you won’t need to be using any harsh chemicals.
- Skin-Friendly & Non-Toxic
A pure and natural surface against your skin feels amazing compared to a chemically heavy and toxic PVC mat. The cork surface is surprisingly smooth to the touch and gives you the feeling of being connected to the ground. Many people have chemical sensitivities and latex allergies, which is another huge benefit of cork products; no latex to be found!
- Durable & Resilient
Once you’ve found that perfect mat, of course you’d like to keep it around and in good shape for as long as possible. Cork is a naturally durable material (being the outer layer of a tree that is meant to withstand exposure to the elements daily) and has a long lifespan. Whether mats, blocks, or some other helpful aid, cork yoga products are resilient and ready to join your yoga sessions for years to come.
Unfortunately, it has become a reality in our world that synthetic or chemical-treated materials tend to be leagues cheaper and easier to find than natural ones, similar to the difference between GMO and organic foods. This presents a challenge for anyone who prefers to live a healthier lifestyle, and can present a particular difficulty for yogis, where the mat market is flooded, and it can be hard to tell what’s quality. It’s hard to go wrong, however, with a good cork mat. They are eco-friendly, especially since cork can be sustainably sourced, and their natural non-slip and anti-microbial properties make them a fantastic choice especially for hot yoga devotees!
For all these reasons and more, cork is truly a yogi’s best friend!
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