Many people are becoming increasingly aware of the amazing benefits of practising yoga, pilates, or any kind of floor exercises on a cork mat. In fact, we’ve heard people say that after using a cork mat they will never go back to using any other kind of mat. Here at Anjali we know what they mean, we use our own cork mats and we love them!
We love cork because it is naturally antimicrobial - one reason that it works so well in wine bottles. You sweat on your mat and rub your hands and feet all over it, as well as putting your face on it. Synthetic yoga mats can be a breeding ground for germs so it is reassuring to know that a cork surface will remain germ free even under the stickiest conditions.
Cork also has a subtle but pleasant natural smell - very slightly woody, so much more pleasant than the chemical smell of many synthetic mats. It is really the texture of cork that gives it the edge as a mat surface however. Cork manages to be both smooth and easy to slide along (no snagging your leggings on an overly rubberised mat) as well as offering an incredible amount of grip. We personally find that our cork mats give great grip even when we have the coldest and driest of hands, but once you start to sweat the grip gets even better. You can be dripping with sweat on this mat and will not slip or slide at all.
And then there are the proper eco-friendly credentials - the cork that makes up the top layer of our mats is harvested by hand from the bark of the Cork Oak tree. The bark is harvested every seven to nine years and the tree remains intact, grows more bark and continues to provide shelter for birds and wildlife. In fact, after harvest the tree will consume up to five times more CO2 from the atmosphere to regrow its lost bark - a win win for our damaged earth. It is also 100 % biodegradable.
So now you’re convinced you need a cork mat, there are many different types of cork mat on the market today - some cheaper than the Anjali Luxury Cork Mat, some more expensive - how do you decide which one to invest in?
Features to look for in a cork mat
The mat’s backing material. Many of the cheaper cork mats available have got PVC,synthetic rubber or foam backing. This means that the mat is no longer biodegradable or eco friendly. The backing may not provide adequate firm cushioning and may not be very hard wearing. The Anjali Luxury Cork mat has a durable and hard wearing natural rubber backing - 100 % biodegradable renewable plant based materials.
The thickness of the mat. Many cork mats on the market are only 3 mm thick, some even thinner. We’ve found that our 5 mm mat provides the perfect amount of firm cushioning to protect your joints but isn’t so soft that it hinders your balance in balancing poses.
The length of the mat. Many yoga mats are significantly shorter than the Anjali Luxury Cork mat - we find that 183 cm is the perfect length for average sized and taller people. You want to be able to lie and stretch out on the mat without hanging off it too much.
The quality of the cork. Some of the cheaper cork mats may have thin cork surfaces which can be patchy and flake. The Anjali mat has a quality layer of cork that can withstand heavy use and does not flake.
Does the mat come with a carry strap? The Anjali Luxury Cork mat comes with a beautiful eco-friendly jute carrying strap. It is useful to have a carry strap to keep your mat rolled up nicely as well as for carrying it to class.
We believe The Anjali Luxury Cork Mat ticks all the boxes - a quality, truly eco friendly exercise mat that is a pleasure use. Get yours here - you won’t look back!