I have tried a number of mats over the years and would normally focus on a fairly cheap, easy to replace sticky mats - which don't get me wrong have their place and I still use them. However, I wanted to invest in my personal practice and I felt that I needed to research further into what is available.
I spoke to fellow yoga teachers and yogi's to find out what they were using. I went to yoga events and lovingly fondled, sniffed and hefted around various types of recycled rubber mats. But I couldn't find something that was that perfect match of weight and depth and also met my strict environmental principles plus it mustn't stink! For those of you who haven't tried the natural rubber versions - my word they honk!
I was at the point of despair when I came across Cork Yogis at the World Yoga Weekend in Reading. Cork Yogis was set up by Lara Sengupta in 2015. Lara has been practising yoga since the age of 19 and was on the constant lookout for a 'great quality mat that has great grip in any condition.' All sounding very familiar. Lara had heard that paddle board yogis use a cork surface on their paddle boards as the grip increases as its gets wet - this provided the inspiration for her cork yoga mat.
Following the death of her grandmother, Lara was looking for a way to recycle her grandmothers saris and when paying her respects in Kolkata she came across a charity called Destiny Reflection who resue girls and women from sex slavery and teach them skills such as craft, clothes making, literacy and numeracy. The charity use donated saris to make Cork Yogis beautiful yoga mat bags.
So, I had found my perfect mat - I went for the premium version - a total of 5mm of comfort, non-slippy gorgeousness. Safe in the knowledge that I was buying an environmentally produced product that supported women, was naturally anti-bacterial and super grippy when you start to get a bit sweaty.
Cork Yogi's mantra is:
"Every mat we sell = One woman learns a life-changing skill. Every yoga mat bag we sell = One week’s wages for our women."
So now that I have my mat all I can say is that I am in love. It is soft, warm, supportive and it doesn't slip. Wonderful!