My Yoga Mat and I: A Love Story
Yoga Design Lab

My Yoga Mat and I: A Love Story

Feb 28, 2024

I don’t know where I’d be without my yoga mat. My yoga journey began during the COVID-19 pandemic in a small student housing apartment with a purple second-hand yoga mat. I would spread a striped yellow beach towel on it to absorb any sweat before practicing in my living room. I worked for student housing and lived alone during a time when the world was ordered to isolate. As a result, my yoga mat and I became close acquaintances. 

Our journey 

I spent countless hours on that mat. It caught my sweat and tears and traveled with me to the gym, countless yoga studios across the country, and even on vacation. I practiced my first inversions on it, trembling while holding my first unsteady crow pose. It’s held me through my lows and highs. No matter what headspace I was in, stepping onto my mat would bring relief and peace. Tension and heaviness would melt off me and into the mat. My mat held me during times I needed it most and gently reminded me of the inner peace and love inside of me. 

Nothing lasts forever

Years later, my mat is starting to wear down. My knees and elbows are aware of the thinning cushioning. The grip is disappearing, especially during heated sessions. My yoga towels aren’t much help either; they start to ride up on the mat with each new pose. Instead of breathing into my poses and working towards finding inner stillness during my practice, I am fidgeting and distracted, adjusting myself to accommodate for the mat’s insufficiencies. This mat has been with me through everything, but we both decided that it would be best for us to part and go our separate ways. 

New beginnings, new yoga mat

In my new matless era, I was keen to find one that would check all my boxes. I particularly wanted one that was made out of cork because practicing with my cork yoga blocks helped me so much with my alignment and I loved the grip. I decided to try the cork mat from Yoga Design Lab and have never been happier with it.

Cork is moisture-activated, meaning that the sweatier you get, the gripper it becomes. I also spritz water onto my mat before practicing to help the cork loosen and become softer to grip. I no longer have to carry a yoga towel with me anymore. My knees and elbows no longer scream at me after each class because the natural rubber base cushions and supports my joints like no other. I’m not only flowing with more ease but feel better knowing that the cork I’m practicing on is made out of a 100% natural rubber base and topped with a renewable cork top layer. It’s safe to say that my new mat and I are much more compatible with each other. 

The only sure thing about life is that it moves forward. Change is inevitable and necessary to grow into a different version of yourself. I needed to grow out of my old mat to become the person and yogi I am today. Things didn’t work out, but I’m grateful we spent that time together to learn and evolve. My new cork mat and I are still at the beginning of our relationship, and problems will inevitably arise as time passes. But in the present moment, it helps me deepen my practice to connect to a more loving, knowing place inside of myself, and I am so excited to begin this journey with it.

By Laura Yang