Cork and Natural Tree Rubber Explained


cork yoga mat representation

Cork is an ideal material for yoga mats. Whether you’re doing downward-facing dog or warrior two, a high-quality cork yoga mat will hold your feet in place, resist bacteria, and roll up for easy storage and portability.

In addition, cork yoga mats are one of the most eco-friendly and durable options available today. It’s 100% natural, sustainable, recyclable, and biodegradable, and it can be obtained through a tree-friendly harvesting process.

Cork forests are home to over 13,000 species of animals, plants, and insects that are not found anywhere else in the world. And many of these species are endangered. So, creating a market for cork products helps preserve indigenous cork forests.


PlatypusAsana believes that cork is the most eco-conscious choice. But there’s more: it’s also the most comfortable, supportive and beautiful material for your yoga practice.  

Cork Tree Harvesting
Cork Tree Forest
Recently Harvested Cork Barks drying in the sun


Cork’s natural structure resists bacterial growth, making it easier to keep clean than other materials. It contains compounds called Phenolics which kills bacteria and fungus. Its antibacterial properties often lead to claims that cork mats are self-cleaning. However, this statement is not totally true. Cork yoga mats may not take as much maintenance as other mats, but they will need to be cleaned occasionally.

To find out how to take care of your cork yoga mat click here

Eco-friendly and Sustainable

Cork yoga mats offer several advantages over PVC, recycled rubber, and even other natural materials like cotton and jute. Cork is made from the bark of cork oak trees. These trees naturally regrow the bark after it has been stripped away, making it a highly sustainable and renewable resource. Moreover, the trees absorb three times more carbon dioxide after the bark has been removed, which means using the bark creates a positive environmental impact.

Provides Stability and More Grip When Wet

The cork surface has a unique texture that is both elastic and firm. This keeps you stable on your mat, supporting you in even the most demanding postures. Slipping on your yoga mat can be both dangerous and uncomfortable. Unlike the classic synthetic yoga mats that lose their grip when wet, cork works exactly the opposite, providing a great advantage for us yogis. By releasing a waxy compound known as Suberin – the more you sweat the grippier cork becomes.

Beautiful Texture

Corks is smooth to touch and feels amazing on bare skin. It has a soft velvety texture and its hypoallergenic qualities make it ideal for anyone with sensitive skin. Despite being soft to the touch, cork remains durable and sturdy, perfect for an intense and demanding use.



Cork is not the only material used to make sustainable yoga mats. While cork offers the best combination of durability and grip, there are some other options.

  • Cotton: Organic cotton yoga mats, often called yoga rugs, have an absorbent surface and can be used directly on the floor or over the top of another yoga mat. These mats work well for those who practice hot yoga or who sweat profusely because their absorbency prevents sweat from making the mat surface slick. Cotton mats are often machine washable, but you should following the manufacturer’s cleaning instructions. While these provide good grip for your feet, they could slide on the floor.
  • Jute: Jute is a type of string made from vegetable fiber. It is durable and sustainable. However, its a bit “rough” texture creates a unique feel that might take some time getting used to. It has good grip, but not as much as PVC or cork.
  • Polyvinyl chloride (PVC): PVC yoga mats are the least expensive and most common mats on the market. They have excellent grip and stickiness – until they get wet. The surface of PVC mats gets slick when damp, which doesn’t work out well for hot yoga or people who sweat more than average. PVC is also the least eco-friendly of all your mat options. This synthetic material is made using petrochemicals that aren’t renewable or good for the environment.
  • Rubber: Rubber mats have many of the same properties as PVC but with slightly less gripping power. While rubber isn’t as eco-friendly as cork, cotton, or jute, you can find recycled rubber mats that have a much smaller ecological impact than PVC. These models may be more expensive than PVC, but they are still more convenient than some of the other eco-friendly options.


Natural rubber is made from the sap of trees, called Hevea brasiliensis, which grow on plantations in South America and South Asia. This sap, a sticky, milky liquid, is harvested through tapping, a process where incisions are made in the trees causing natural latex to trickle into containers. Being a natural product and ecologically friendly, it is the perfect material for environmentally-conscious consumers.