January 02, 2019 at 01:10PM

When it comes to yoga mats, you might say I’m in an open relationship. I’ve investigated which materials make for the best overall experience. I’ve taken the most state-of-the-art surfaces for a test drive. And (don’t judge) I keep five different mat options in my closet to use based on my various flow feels. When a fellow yogi dares to suggest they’ve “just found the best mat,” you’d better believe I’ll fact check that claim before I decide to go steady with a new product.

Recently, as I was warming up before a hot vinyasa class, a woman on a neighboring mat told me that using a cork mat has “transformed” her practice. Within moments of class letting out, after we had bowed our heads and softly said “namaste,” I whipped out my phone to begin my research. Two days later, at another steamy class, I unfurled my new cork mat (technically a Christmas present I’d given to my mother then kindly asked to borrow).

What can I say? It was love at first child’s pose. Here’s the thing about cork: It’s antimicrobial and all natural, dries in 10 minutes flat, and perhaps most importantly, it won’t let you fall flat on your face during crow pose. From the moment I lifted my knees off the ground and pressed into my first downward dog, I felt the cork supporting me like a kind, non-slip friend.

From the moment I lifted my knees off the ground and pressed into my first downward dog, I felt the cork supporting me like a kind, non-slip friend.

Cork might be the Rolls-Royce of yoga mats. The price certainly suggests that’s true. The one I practiced on, which is handmade in my hometown of Charleston, South Carolina, will set you back $169. Similar mats go for slightly less. But listen up, warrior—I sincerely hope you do. You deserve to hop into handstand without begrudging your sweaty palms; to hold plank without your hands betraying you; to bend your limbs into a pretzel without worry that your mat doesn’t have your back. Go cork or go home.

When you’re ready to give your mat a good scrub-down, here’s exactly how to do so. And here’s a very compelling reason *not* to skip that shower line after class
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Author Kells McPhillips | Well and Good
Selected by iversue

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