Yoga! One small word with so many dimensions. As most of us know, yoga has the ability to encourage relaxation, reduce stress and put us in a quiet zen space. But there is so much more to this modality or discipline as some may call it. I know of nine different types of yoga, but I’m sure there are more. Each of them though, offer a torrent of health-enhancing benefits.
Yoga combines postures, poses or stretches with breathing exercises and mindfulness. They’re all low impact moves that can have a positive effect on you physically, mentally and spiritually. They are in essence, presence through movement. Many classes will also include mantras or chanting like the sacred sound ‘Om’.
Is yoga easy, not really! Is it painful, only at first when you stretch those flabby muscles that have been dormant for decades! What can really ruin a good yoga workout is not having comfortable clothes or the proper gear. Ever use a yoga mat that’s lost its grip, is uneven or worse smells bad? Is it time for a new mat? I’ve got some great news for you.
I’ve been a huge fan of Gaiam yoga products for several years, and they’ve never let me down. They just recently introduced some green gear made from cork that I completely love. Hello Cork Yoga Mat and Cork Brick.
5MM Cork/TPE Hybrid Yoga Mat
So it’s not like I’m not in touch with the outer world, but I’ve never heard of cork gear for yoga. It’s most likely because I really only use Gaiam products. After learning a little more about corks diverse green characteristics, I’m happy Gaiam brought them on board.
Cork is harvested by stripping the bark of a cork oak tree. These trees live over 200 years and their bark will regenerate over the course of 9 – 12 years. With its many other attributes, Cork is an ideal source for yoga gear.
This Cork Mat has a dual surface. On one side you have the all-natural cork and on the other side is eco-friendly TPE. Once you try the cork mat, you’ll want to use it all the time.
Cork is eco-friendly, antimicrobial, it’s a renewable resource, one of the most sustainable materials on the planet, it’s self-cleaning and biodegradable. It’s non-toxic, resistant to abrasions, hypoallergenic, acoustic and very durable. But wait, there’s more. It’s also lightweight, offers cushion, has a better grip and stability and has a wonderful texture to touch. The other side of the mat is a solid black that’s made from an eco-friendly TPE.
Cork Yoga Brick
Unless you are extremely flexible, the yoga brick or block will be your BYFF – best yoga friend forever. They’re a tool that offers stability and helps support specific poses so you can maintain them for a longer period of time. With a brick’s assistance, you can strengthen muscles, stretch them a little further and align your body without any discomfort. Placed under your feet or hands they can help intensity your stretch so you can achieve almost any pose.
I love the feel of the cork, it’s soft, warm and has a semi-rough texture that is ironically smooth. Cork bricks are firmer than their foam relatives and they don’t have that funky chemical odor associated with the foam versions. They’ve got round edges for an easy grip and they’re slip resistant, no matter how sweaty you get.
Restore 12″ Compact Foam Roller
Pamper your muscles with a deep massage using the Compact Foam Roller. It allows you to work on smaller areas or isolate a trigger point or a specific muscle group. It’s extremely lightweight and has a safe non-slip, lightly textured surface. Ideal for improving circulation, easing those aches and pains, releasing built-up tension, relieving stiffness and reducing soreness. They’re great for pre and post workouts and will help speed up recovery time. Even after doing yoga, you can feel strained muscles, soreness and twinges of pain, so this little tool is handy to have around. 12″L x 4″ diameter. Includes exercise guide.
Disclosure: As a Gaiam Ambassador I receive special perks. All opinions expressed here are solely my own, yours may differ.