As we move into the hotter months, the outdoors provides a beautiful setting for workout classes, strength-training exercises, and practicing yoga. However, a vinyl or rubber mat can get hot and slippery once you start to work up a sweat, no matter what your routine is. Instead, you might want to consider grabbing a cork mat, as this material is resistant to moisture buildup and offers a number of other benefits.
One of the most trendy to buy right now is from Gaiam, and you can get it on Amazon for just under $35. This lightweight mat is made from eco-friendly, all-natural cork, while the underside is comprised of TPE, non-toxic rubber. At 5-millimeters thick, it offers plenty of cushioning, which can be great for newbies who have never used a mat before. And the best part is that when you get it, you'll gain access to a free Gaiam yoga class through the brand's app.
One of the biggest advantages to using a cork mat over traditional alternatives (besides its moisture-repelling qualities) is that the grip and traction get better with use, especially as it gets hotter. Also, the material is antimicrobial, so it could be ideal for those with sensitive skin or allergies.
Though the mat has less than 1000 reviews on Amazon, Gaiam is a well-known and respected brand for athletic gear. In addition, those who have reviewed it have given the mat an average 4.6-star rating and appreciate the thick padding. “It's not very squishy but provides enough padding for me,” one reviewer wrote. Others who have used it appreciate its versatility. "I’ve enjoyed using this mat in my Vinyasa and hot yoga practice for more than 3 months. The texture is supple and soft with a natural smell," another user wrote.
While a few shoppers have noted that the mat curls a little at the edges because of the material, many more who have practiced with it believe that the overall benefits of a cork mat outweigh this issue. Check out the Gaiam cork yoga mat on Amazon before the weather starts to heat up.