CorkYogis create eco-friendly, natural cork yoga mats, blocks, and other fantastic yoga accessories. The idea for the business derived from a need to improve technical performance with a new kind of yoga mat, combined with a passion to run an ethical business helping those in need.
Slipping around on a yoga mat is distracting and can be dangerous. CorkYogis wanted a product that would have excellent grip even during a strenuous and / or hot practice, plus a product that felt natural and real to the touch. Inspired by the cork material surfers use for their boards, CorkYogis cork yoga mats were born.
Cork yoga mats are becoming increasingly popular for 3 main reasons:
- Grip – Cork yoga mats have grip that actually increases as you sweat, helping you push yourself break down those barriers.
- Natural Material – Cork mats provide a natural surface for practice which is perfect for keeping you more grounded and closer to nature with every sun salutation.
- Anti- bacterial – Studies have shown that your average gym yoga mat can contain more germs and bacteria than a toilet seat! Cork is organically anti-bacterial so it provides the perfect clean and healthy surface for your yoga every time.
The cork used by CorkYogis comes from the Cork Oak tree in Portugal. The cork comes from the bark of the tree which is harvested and removed carefully from the tree every 9-10 years. The first harvest occurs when the tree is 15-20 years old, once the bark is taken from the tree it takes about 9 years for the bark to grow back and be ready for harvest again. The cork forests are regulated and managed with extreme care so not to damage the trees and creating this amazing renewable material. Once the bark is removed from the oak trees, the bark is left out in the open to dry out for a period of 6 months. This weathering process actually improves the quality of the cork. The cork is then processed and used. No part of the cork goes un-used, even the cork dust particles are used in various cork products. This to ensure that none of the precious material is wasted, creating a sustainable process. Cork harvesting in Portugal is one of the worlds best paid labour jobs, this ensures that the cork farmers and harvesters are getting a good wage for their resources. CorkYogis only support fair trade and care about good conditions for farmers in Portugal.
Cork is impermeable to water (hence why it is widely used in wine bottles) and as water does not sink into the cork, bacteria, viruses and fungi cant survive on it either. This means a CorkYogis mat is naturally self cleaning – all you need do is give it an occasional wipe down with a damp cloth. (No more stinky mats!). With amazing grip which only improves as you sweat and with the natural antimicrobial properties of cork, CorkYogis’ mats offer a big step up in performance and hygiene over traditional yoga mats.
The final part of the puzzle for CorkYogis was to find a way for CorkYogis to support causes close to their hearts. They have always been passionate about supporting women and girls to fulfil their potential, especially through finding work. So the work of the Destiny Reflection Foundation supporting victims of human trafficking in India was the perfect partner for their work and the perfect supplier of their beautiful yoga bags.
Destiny Foundation is a committed team of people combating the immense injustices of human trafficking and the challenges faced by human trafficking survivors. They work towards empowering and educating survivors to learn skills to find dignified employment and create a better future. To do this they provide free training courses in sewing and literacy to give the girls employable skills, they then sell handmade products made out of recycled saree material to create financial independence. The girls are also accepted in a family environment that they often never had, the girls are treated as individuals with their own individual journey and challenges to overcome. Their moto is ‘One life at a time’.
For every natural CorkYogis mat purchased, CorkYogis provide a contribution to Destiny Reflection Foundation, allowing them to train and give work to survivors of human trafficking and slavery.
For those new to yoga, you may wonder why we even need a yoga mat to practice yoga! Ancient Indian yoga, despite common belief, was actually practiced on a mat as well. Maybe not the mats we know and love today, but yoga mats made of grass or leaves were commonly used. The belief behind the yoga mat is to separate the yogi from the ground. Yoga is a very spiritual practice which aims to generate excess energy through the physical asanas which the yogi can then use to channel through meditation and reach the higher states of consciousness. When the yogi touches the ground the energy is quickly lost into surroundings, therefore it is very important to conduct your entire yoga session on your yoga mat to conserve the spiritual energy you are creating.
Support vulnerable Indian communities today by buying your cork yoga mat from CorkYogis.