Able to strengthen and tone the body, calm the mind and focus the spirit, yoga is a highly beneficial and therapeutic activity. It can be done any time of the day or night, alone or with others and welcomes all ages and body types. All you need is a mat.
Yoga mats made from cork are gaining in popularity due to their eco-friendly and durable construction, allowing for stable, secure grips in active stances while providing comfort in more meditative poses. Our best pick is this Body by Yoga option, though the ideal yoga mat needs to cater to your body and skill level.
What to know before you buy a cork yoga mat
Cork yoga mats differ in thickness, and though the graduations are small, it makes a difference, as proper thickness provides adequate cushioning for various poses. Most cork yoga mats are 3-5 millimeters thick, providing ample support and cushioning as well as durability without becoming too heavy and bulky. Some thicker and thinner options are available, which may better serve heavier and lighter individuals, respectively.
While thicker mats may provide more comfort for sensitive joints, they may also give too much for certain people, creating undesirable subtle movements during poses.
Standard yoga mats measure 61 x 172 centimeters, or about 24 x 68 inches. Taller individuals likely want a longer mat to accommodate lengthier poses and stretches; some options run up to 80 inches in length. As a general rule, find a mat that’s at least 15 centimeters, or 6 inches, longer than you are tall.
One of the draws of cork mats is that they’re made from natural, easily renewable oak trees, offering a sustainable, eco-friendly alternative to PVC and other materials that commonly make up yoga mats. Cork naturally resists bacteria growth, meaning not only are the mats easier to clean, they stand to last much longer. Cheaper yoga mats made from other materials may also start to wear away more quickly than cork options, which should last for years of regular use.
What to look for in a quality cork yoga mat
Hot yoga usage
Most cork mats are suitable for hot yoga. Cork naturally repels moisture so that the mat doesn’t wear down quickly or absorb odors. What’s more, cork becomes stickier as it gets wet, allowing stability when moving in hot and humid environments without fear of losing your grip.
A variety of cork mats have design options that are easily detailed on the surface. Some of these choices are for purely aesthetic reasons, with simple floral or spiral patterns. Other mats may create alignment markings, adding straight lines down the middle of the mat and other common places where you may place your feet or hands. These are useful for both beginners and intermediates looking to perfect their form.
Cork yoga mats provide superior grip, preventing your hands or feet from sliding. This helps master form and prevent injuries, particularly as you tire during a session. Even as you sweat and build up moisture, the cork surface maintains your grip. Similarly, many cork yoga mats feature skid prevention on the bottom, so when used on a floor, the mat won’t slide.
Backing materials are those used under the cork surface to provide more stability and durability. These materials vary, with some that are more in line with sustainability than others. Common options include rubber, foam or latex.
How much you can expect to spend on cork yoga mat
Cork is a more expensive material than other options used for yoga mats. Quality cork options cost anywhere from $40-$100, with a range of sizes, thicknesses and colors available. Generally, more expensive mats are more durable and may include useful accessories.
Cork yoga mat FAQ
How do I clean my cork yoga mat?
A. Since cork is antibacterial and antifungal, cork yoga mats are fairly easy to clean and maintain. Simply wipe the mat with a damp cloth; you can add gentle soap once in a while after intense sessions or use in public or the outdoors. Rinse and let dry before rolling up.
Are cork yoga mats suitable for beginners?
A. Cork yoga mats welcome yoga enthusiasts of all skill levels and ages. They may more easily welcome beginners than other mats due to their impressive grip; those featuring alignment markings are highly useful as well. Cork mats are designed for durability and are expensive, so they’re better served by dedicated beginners than those still assessing their interest in yoga.
What’s the best cork yoga mat to buy?
Top cork yoga mat
What you need to know: Large and thick mat that offers comfort, stability and impressive longevity for dedicated yogis.
What you’ll love: Substantial thickness of 6.5 millimeters and rubber backing provide ample support for regular usage. Resists slips and skid, including when moist. Various designs available.
What you should consider: Fairly pricey; better for intermediates and experts.
Where to buy: Amazon
Top cork yoga mat for the money
What you need to know: Quality cork yoga mat at an affordable price that welcomes all skill levels and types of yoga.
What you’ll love: Provides comfort for gentle, meditative sessions with 5-millimeter thickness and sure grips and stability for more active yoga. Waterproof; withstands heat and humidity of hot yoga. Alignment markings help beginners.
What you should consider: Rather heavy. May be too short for taller users.
Where to buy: Amazon
Worth checking out
What you need to know: Simple and affordable cork mat suitable for all skill levels from a trusted name in yoga.
What you’ll love: Lightweight and easy to transport. Rubber backing provides support; 5-millimeter thickness. Strong grip, compatible with hot yoga. Resists dirt, moisture and odors. Low price.
What you should consider: Cork layer is rather thin; some concerns about longevity.
Where to buy: Amazon
Anthony Marcusa is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money.
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