Why you should choose this cork yoga mat

posted in: Yoga Mats | 0

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Last updated on July 10th, 2018

cork yoga matI always wanted a yoga mat that would not leach potentially harmful chemicals and that would also provide good support when I do my yoga or pilates practice.  I have tried and used a lot of different yoga mats over the years and am so happy that I found this non-toxic cork yoga mat.  In fact, I feel that this natural cork yoga mat was created to my specifications.

 

This cork yoga mat is made by Scoria.  The founder, Yara Kamal, is passionate about making a difference.  She cares about health, the environment, and social injustice. Last year, Scoria yoga mats ran a successful Kickstarter campaign and now they are in full production.  With every purchase, they give 6 meals to a hungry child.

 

The Materials Used to Make Scoria Cork Yoga Mat

 

There are two types of materials used to make this biodegradable yoga mat: cork and natural rubber.  Cork is used as a top layer and natural rubber as a backing.

 

Over the years, I have researched many, many different materials that can be used to make a yoga mat.

 

I found that cork is the best material as it provides cushioning and support and there are no known health or environmental concerns associated with it.  In my Safer Yoga Mat Cheat Sheet, on a scale from 0 to 10 (with 10 being most toxic), I rated it 1.

 

Cork is made from the bark of cork oak trees in Portugal (which is known for its cork – ask any winemaker). Cork production is sustainable because the cork tree is not cut down to obtain cork. Instead, the bark is stripped every 9 years and trees live up to 300 years. Are you interested in learning how cork is made? Head over here.

 

Besides the Scoria cork mat, I have found one more cork mat made by Yolona.  I have listed the Yolona yoga mat in my Safer Yoga Mat Cheat Sheet.  One of the major differences between these two cork yoga mats is the backing.  If the cork is used without backing, on certain surfaces, the cork yoga mat will not stay in place and may slide.

 

For a cheat sheet of 11 yoga mat materials so you know where a yoga mat, you are considering, lies on a spectrum of safety, click on the purple button.

 

Yolona yoga mat’s backing is made of recycled synthetic rubber.  While recycling of tires is a good thing for the environment, the concern with synthetic rubber, a petroleum-derived material, is that it may contain PAHs (Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons) and heavy metals (source).  If you want to read more about Yolona yoga mat and other biodegradable yoga mats I reviewed, please click here.

 

So when I found the Scoria cork yoga mat with natural rubber backing, I was glad.

 

Let’s talk about natural rubber. It is much better than synthetic rubber. It is not a petroleum product, and it is reportedly biodegradable. Natural rubber is made from rubber trees.  Incisions are made into the bark and the fluid, called latex, is collected into vessels in a process called “tapping” (just like maple sap is tapped to make maple syrup).  After that, the fluid is made into rubber, which involves adding vulcanizing agents and chemical additives.

 

 

We do not fully know what those agents and additives are.  There was a test published in a German magazine that revealed that two natural rubber yoga mats contained nitrosamines, which are linked to cancer, which means that it is possible that natural rubber may contain nitrosamines.  We won’t know that until a lab test is conducted. And another drawback is that natural rubber normally smells of chemicals.

 

While natural rubber is not perfect, it is the only natural material that I know of that can be used for backing, and natural rubber is a much better choice than synthetic.  It helps that the user is not facing the natural rubber in the Scoria yoga mat, as it is used only as backing.

 

The Performance of Scoria Cork Yoga Mat

 

This cork mat comes in two thicknesses.  I got the 3.5 (millimeter?) thickness, and I am okay even though I am very lean.  It rolls well and is not bulky.  The smell is minimum.  When I opened it, there was a bit of smell, but this dissipated pretty quickly.  I exercised on it after 4 days, and when I was doing child’s pose, there was no smell that I could detect.  I could detect some smell only when I pressed my nose against the backing, which under normal conditions you do not need to.

 

Yara told me that the mat grips better with sweat, and it is excellent for hot yoga.  For colder practices, it is a good idea to spray with a little water until you are warmed up. I do not do hot yoga and felt that spraying water was not necessary.  This biodegradable yoga mat was not slippery.

 

All in all, I am excited that Yara started making these non-toxic yoga mats and that you have an opportunity to purchase them.

 

Scoria is a Canadian company and but ships to Canada, the US, and internationally.  Free shipping option is available.

 

 

Where to Buy

 

Scoria website

 

They carry kids’ yoga mats as well.  The designs are beautiful, unique, and creative.  Check them out!

 

Currently, they have sales on the original yoga while supply lasts. So it is a good time to buy a Scoria yoga mat

 

For a cheat sheet of 11 yoga mat materials so you know where a yoga mat, you are considering, lies on a spectrum of safety, click on the purple button.

 

To read about other eco-friendly yoga mats, click here.

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