I am always keeping an eye out for a better alternative for everyday items I use, so here are some yoga props with form, function and made of natural materials. Cork blocks are an excellent alternative to the conventional wooden block. The bark of the cork oak can develop considerable thickness and can be harvested every 9 to 12 years to produce cork. This natural and renewable material is light, strong and non slip, so ideal for use in yoga props. The tree is widely cultivated in Europe and North Africa, and cork oak forests can support diverse habitats, that are home to endangered species such as the Iberian lynx. Cork also feels pleasant to touch, an important consideration for yoga props. Several yoga prop manufacturers offer a cork yoga block and they are available for around £10.50 from Yogamad and Yogamatters.
I have a similar tactile affection for my natural rubber yoga mat. Conventional yoga mats rely heavily on PVC and are difficult to recycle. The Yoga-Mad Tree Mat is made of natural rubber and free from PVC, phthalate, PAH, nitrosamines, and heavy metals. As with cork, natural rubber is a natural and renewable material, that is harvested mainly in the form of latex. The natural rubber mat has better grip than ‘normal’ yoga mats I have used. I have been using the mat in the picture regularly for six years and it still has many sun salutations to go! Yoga-Mad stocks a range of environmentally friendly yoga mats, from £29.99.
Yoga is about balance and harmony, so seeking out yoga products that are environmentally sound sits well with this holistic practice.