by Yoga Digest | July 20, 2014 7:13 am
The concept for the cork yoga mats started at a young age growing up in a very eco-conscious family who worked with the Sierra Club and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. They taught me the importance of caring for the environment and for yourself. This translated into my first passion, building surfboards and paddle boards. Learning how toxic and environmentally unfriendly traditional surfboard manufacturing can be, I set out to use non traditional materials that were eco – friendly, longer lasting and better performing. The results of years of experimenting with different materials ended with my discovery of cork. Cork outlasted and outperformed any other material used and best of all it provided a non – slip surface even when wet, eliminating the need for oil based wax or toxic eva foams for traction.
Last year, in-between creating boards at my shop inside the back corner of my friends brewery, I would practice yoga at a local studio. The progression into my yoga practice basically hit a stand still because I could not get confident enough into warrior or down dog poses. I would be slipping and sliding all over the place and consistently readjusting my mat. Yes, I was guilty of using the cheap PVC mats they let students borrow. One day a light bulb when off in my head, wait a second cork doesn’t slip when its wet! Working out of my garage with the help of my dad and mom we set out to create the first prototypes, backing the cork to recycled rubber tire sheets. Bringing them into the local studio, I knew I was onto something special when the teachers would grab the cork mats before any students could get their hands on them. I now realize how a good yoga mat is so important to progressing in your practice. Hearing comments and stories from customers of how their Yoloha mat has transformed their practice on an american made, eco-friendly mat makes all the hard work worth it.
The cork used in the yoga mat is a 100% natural, renewable, recyclable and biodegradable material that is obtained through an environmentally friendly harvesting process. Trees are not cut down to harvest cork, rather, the bark is harvested by hand every 9 years. Cork oak trees can live up to 300 years! Approximately 6.6 million acres of Mediterranean cork forest extend across Portugal, Spain, Algeria, Morocco, Italy, Tunisia and France. These oak forests support one of the world’s highest levels of forest biodiversity, second only to the Amazonian Rainforest. Backing of the yoga mat is comprised of approximately 90% domestically produced recycled rubber tires. Tires that are simply thrown away are a serious environmental problem.
The sheer volume of tires discarded each year — almost 300 million tires in the United States alone — makes safe disposal difficult. Discarded tires are an ideal breeding ground for mosquitoes and other disease-carrying animals because their hollow, rounded shape holds water for a long time. When disposed in a tire stockpile, used tires are often burned outdoors, which creates an environmentally hazardous black smoke. Luckily, according to the EPA over 80 percent of tires (about 233 million tires) are reused or recycled in some way and we are glad to do our part.
You can learn more about the Yoloha Yoga Mat and order at yolohayoga.com.
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