Published on October 31st, 2016 | by Scott Cooney
Aloha to Yoloha Cork Yoga Mats
We met Yoloha at Wanderlust Tahoe this year, and were immediately attracted to these unique and beautiful mats.
These are not your average PVC/chemical-laiden mats you might see for rent at the local yoga studio. Yoloha cork yoga mats are beautifully designed cork mats made with the environment in mind.
The company’s founder Chris Willey got his start with sustainable materials making cork surfboards and paddleboards. He also practiced yoga and was consistently dissatisfied by the slippery, plastic-y yoga mats on the market. It all clicked in his parent’s garage when they successfully made their first cork and recycled rubber yoga mat. Willey introduced the cork mats to local yoga studios and they were a hit!
Yoloha now offers a variety of mats of varying thickness, with or without the stunning artists’ work, plus yoga accessories like mat bags, blocks, wheels, reusable water bottles, etc. – all featuring beautiful and renewable cork.
Why use Cork for a Yoga Mat?
Willey found in his research on sustainable materials that, “cork outlasted and outperformed any other natural material and, best of all, it provided a non-slip surface even when wet, eliminating the need for oil-based wax or synthetic EVA foams for traction.” Cork is also considered a renewable resource because cork trees don’t have to be cut down in order for the cork to be harvested.
The backsides of the mats were originally created with recycled tire rubber. While the grip and rigidity were unmatched, the top cork layer was at risk for cracking if the mat was folded, due to the stiffness of the tire rubber. Also, the tire rubber made the mats heavy, leading to more of a carbon footprint with shipping – not cool!
Eco-Foam for the Win!
Willey and his team went to work to create a “closed-cell, slip-resistant foam,” which is 100% recyclable, and free of PVC, plasticizers, and latex. Yoloha would like to eventually offer a recycling program for used mats once the company grows, though for now, the recyclable foam backing means scraps during manufacturing may be melted down and used again. Hurray for landfill waste avoided!