6 Reasons You Should Get A Cork Yoga Mat

By James Cave / Published: December 2018 / Last updated: June 2022
Posted in: Culture

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Yoga is great. It’s great for stretching, great for building up your physical strength, it’s great for improving your breathing, and it’s great for relaxation as well.

It’s something that’s incredibly natural and wholesome but, surprisingly and unfortunately, a lot of yoga products aren’t: most yoga products, particularly yoga mats, are made from plastic and other non-sustainable materials. 

Thankfully it turns out that cork is not only great for storing wine, but it’s also perfect for making yoga mats and other yoga products like yoga blocks as well. If you’re looking for a new yoga mat, you should definitely get a cork one. 

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Yoga mat from corkyogis
Source: Cork Yogis

It’s not that I’m biased. Portugal may be the world’s biggest cork producer, and this is a blog all about Portugal, but that definitely isn’t the only reason to buy cork. These yoga mats also look great, are completely natural, they’re sustainable, and they’re great for sweaty hands and feet. 

If you’re convinced, check out the following producers. Or, if you’re not quite convinced yet, read on to see what makes them so great. 

Cork yoga mats look great

Cork yoga mats also look much nicer than regular yoga mats, you have to admit. I’ve owned a few normal yoga mats over the years, and they tend to look quite scruffy (even when they’re new). 

corkyogis yogamat half unrolled
Source: Cork Yogis

These yoga mats on the other hand are very stylish and look incredibly unique. 

Cork is completely natural

Unlike many products that are used to make yoga mats and other products, cork yoga mats are completely natural which really fits with the yoga ethos. 

Thick pieces of cork
Large pieces of cork that have been boiled and pressed

Cork is entirely sustainable

The cork industry is completely renewable and sustainable: cork trees are never harmed or cut down, and there are strict laws in place that dictate how often producers can harvest cork. 

Cork drying in sun
Harvested cork drying in the sun

If anything happens to your yoga mat, or you decide to throw it away and get a new one, the good news is that cork is biodegradable. It’s not going to spend the next few centuries clogging up a landfill somewhere. 

Cork is great for sweaty hands and feet

Hippy dippy benefits aside, and those are definitely important, cork is actually the perfect material to make yoga mats with. The texture of cork is incredibly absorbent, and your grip actually improves the more you sweat (great news for those of us who sweat a lot). 

Easy to clean and maintain

Cork yoga mats are surprisingly easy to clean and maintain. You can wipe it down with a standard antibacterial product and, as with a normal yoga mat, it’s recommended that you do this at least once per week. 

Cork yoga mats benefit Portugal

Portugal is the largest cork producer in the world and it’s responsible for 50% of the world’s cork production. Although there are a lot of cork yoga mat producers in the United States, Australia, and throughout the world, almost all of them will use cork that comes from Portugal. 

Want to be certain? yolohayoga.com (USA), Corkyogis.com (UK), and theasanasyoga.com (Norway) all use cork that comes from Portugal. 

16 thoughts on “6 Reasons You Should Get A Cork Yoga Mat”

  1. I have been a client of www.yogaembracingcork.com for almost 10 years now. I am a yoga teacher, so from time to time i buy yoga props. They are a company created by a Portuguese yoga teacher who has family links to the cork industry and decided to put together the two worlds. Good service, transparent and quick communications and great prices. Would definitely recommend at least checking them out.

    Reply
  2. Useful tips! In the UK, I ended up buying one from noveme.co.uk. I found it different from all mats I've seen online. I guess the material they use is called natural cork. It's soft and offers a good grip. So far, so good. Super happy with my cork yoga mat!

    Reply
  3. Producers add EVA polymer to cork to make the mats stable, durable and wear-resistant. EVA is used to create pads, surfboards, even fishing rods, it's a good material, but like many plastics, it is difficult to biodegrade.

    Reply
  4. Hey James,
    Your article helped me a lot on the research. I ended up getting mine at https://geckoyogamats.com/ and love it. Super light and manufactured in Portugal.
    Thank you for this topic.

    Reply
    • Hi Matt,

      I don't think there are any Portuguese companies that manufacture the mats. The cork comes from here, but the manufacturing seems to all get done in places like India, Vietnam, or China.

      As for suppliers, Google suggests there are some suppliers e.g.

      https://www.mercadonatura.pt/product-page/tapete-de-yoga-em-corti%C3%A7a
      https://guinchooutdoor.pt/products/tapete-de-yoga


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  5. I find my cork mat has very little grip unless I am very sweaty, which is not often. Is there a topping I can use? I am thinking of ditching the cork as it’s not fit for purpose - not enough grip!

    Reply
    • Hey Jan,

      That's a good question. I know some people lightly spray water on their mats to get the same effect. I guess you could also try wetting your hands.

      As for toppings, I don't know of anything but hopefully somebody else can chime in with a suggestion or two.


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