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Stop The Slip: Natural Cork Yoga Mat Review By Vida Hindya

Laura Finch on March 6, 2021
Laura is a yoga teacher who completed 200 hours of training.

Disclaimer: The brand sent me the product free of charge in exchange for my honest and candid review. Any opinions expressed in the post are my own.

Yoga brands are a dime a dozen. But those who truly take their yoga off the mat and into business practices are scarce.

Enter Vida Hindya - a small Spanish-based team of eco-conscious yogis on a mission to promote conscious consumption, reduce plastic, and make the world "as yogi as they are."

I've tested their High Times yoga mat for over a month. Keep reading for my full review or watch a short video below.

FAST FACTS

About the brand: Vida Hindya is a small ethical Spanish yoga brand on a mission to show we can take care of our inner world while respecting the outer one. The brand promotes plastic-free production and uses only natural and biodegradable materials for their yoga mats.

Best for: all-around yoga and fitness practice, both indoors and outdoors

Top layer: natural cork

Bottom: natural rubber

Weight: 1,5 kg

Size: 160x180cm

Thickness: 2.3mm

Price: from โ‚ฌ60,00

Get 10% off your mat with code YOGAKALI10

๐Ÿƒโ€โ™€๏ธ In A Hurry? Here's My Verdict About High Times Yoga Mat

Vida Hindya cork yoga mat has officially raised my bar for how yoga props should perform and look. It's thinner than most cork yoga mats but extremely lightweight.

Although unique geometrical patterns drew me in, it was amazing wet traction and versatility that sealed the deal.

๐Ÿ’— What I liked most:

  • Versatility - saying that High Times is a yoga mat is an understatement. It's an all-around mat that creates a reliable surface both indoors and outdoors, no matter whether you're doing weightlifting, cardio, or just chilling.
  • Unique design - the patterns are not only gorgeous but also very well thought-out - some of them create alignment lines to guide you in practice.
  • Eco-friendliness - High Times is made of biodegradable and sustainably sourced materials that minimize the impact on our planet.

๐Ÿ›‘ What could be improved:

  • Dry traction - the mat was quite slippery when new, and it took me about two weeks to fully break it in.
High Times is the mat that stands out from the crowd.
High Times is the mat that stands out from the crowd.

๐Ÿงต What Is High Times Made Of?

Kundalini teacher Gurmukh Kaur Khalsa once said that "The quality of your breath is the quality of your life."

How you breathe is essential, but so is what you breathe.

Many yoga mats are just a mix of toxic cocktails that are bad for you and bad for the environment.

Founders of Vida Hindya believe things could be done differently. They're using natural materials to minimize our impact on the planet.

Vida Hindya yoga mats are made using a mix of Portuguese-sourced cork and Vietnamese natural rubber. Both are biodegradable and don't contain toxic chemicals or petroleum components.

A perfect mix of sustainable cork and natural rubber makes the mat non-slip and biodegradable.
A perfect mix of sustainable cork and natural rubber makes the mat non-slip and biodegradable.

Cork is my top favorite material. Here's why:

  • Cork is harvested by hand without harming the tree
  • The bark regenerates itself
  • A harvested cork oak tree absorbs 5 times more CO2 than the one that isn't cultivated
  • Cork harvesting supports local biodiversity.

I won't sing the same ode to the natural rubber.

True, its environmental impact is much better than of synthetic counterparts. But there are a few issues with natural rubber that prevent it from being 100% eco-friendly:

  • It doesn't grow in Europe like cork does. This means raw materials had to travel all the way from Asia to be turned into mats.
  • Due to increased demand (maybe, from all the Western eco-conscious yogis), many natural forests are now being converted to rubber plantations, which has a negative impact on biodiversity.

That said, natural rubber is still a good eco-alternative to conventional synthetics that ends up in a landfill.

๐Ÿ‘€ First Impression (Screamed Quality)

Vida Hindya is committed to plastic-free production and packaging, and it shows.

The mat arrived in a carton box and was sealed with a lovely paper label and a personal note.

100% plastic free!

I'll be honest, the first glimpse of the mat left me in awe. Not only because I didn't know which mat exactly I was getting but also because I felt the high quality with the first touch.

The High Times pattern looks even more gorgeous in real life than on the computer screen.

That said, the mat had a faint smell. The funky odor is one of the flaws of natural rubber but not a deal-breaker for me.

๐ŸงŽ Comfort vs. Stability

I've tested the mat on different surfaces, including tile, hardwood, sand, and grass. No matter the surface, balancing on the High Times mat is an a-m-a-z-i-n-g experience. The stability is simply unmatched.

What's more, the mat rolls out easily, doesn't move around thanks to a waffle-like texture of the rubber bottom, and lies flat.

No matter the surface, balancing on the High Times mat is easy.

At 2.3 mm thick, High Times doesn't offer as much joint support as an average yoga mat.

If you have sensitive knees and wrists and practice long holds on hard surfaces, you will likely need a blanket for an extra cushion. You can also double the mat, but I wouldn't suggest doing it very often since it might leave cracks in the top layer.

That said, keeping a blanket nearby or practicing on a home carpet or grass solves the cushion problem and leaves you with unparalleled stability in poses.

๐Ÿค Texture: Smooth As A Leather

Forget about the dusty and scratchy cork surface that cheap yoga mats tend to have.

The High Times surface is so smooth and leather-like that you won't be able to stop touching it. Seriously.

Cork fabric makes the top layer smooth and leather-like.

I used to suffer from a so-called Ashtanga Toe where the skin on my big toe would just peel off due to the mat's friction. I was surprised this didn't happen even once while I was practicing on High Times - my feet toes were happy!

There is one drawback to this smooth surface, though, which leads us to the next point - grip.

โœ‹ Dry Grip: Requires Break-In

I'm never expecting solid traction out of the package. Especially from cork since it needs to get damp to grip. And especially when the founder Irene warned me that the mat needs time to shine.

She was right. The initial dry grip was far from stellar, and I was struggling with oppositional poses like Downward Dog.

Lifehack: Flip the mat with the rubber up to get more traction.

It took me around two weeks of regular practice to break in the mat. The dry traction improved significantly. Now I often start practicing on a dry mat and simply wait until my body heats up and palms get sweaty.

Another lifehack I discovered is that whenever you need a really sticky surface, you can just flip the mat and practice on the rubber bottom. Though remember to avoid abrasive surfaces not to scratch the cork top and stay in the shade since rubber starts stinking and melting in the sun.

๐Ÿ’ฆ Wet Grip: Great Off The Bat

When wet, cork releases the substance called suberin that improves the traction.

With a bit of water sprayed on the surface, High Times does what it promises - it grips while leaving freedom for transitions, hooray!

This makes the mat a perfect companion to a hot yoga class or the outdoor beach flow.

Spray the surface with a little bit of water to activate the grip.

๐Ÿ‹๐Ÿฝ Weight & Portability: Convenient To Carry

Vida Hindya mat rolls up easily and looks pretty compact when rolled, only 60x9 cm. Considering it's light weight of 1.5 kilos/ lbs, you can easily take it to and from a studio or even on a plane.

It doesn't stay rolled by itself. But there's a nice extra detail - two mini straps that extend from the mat to keep the mat put when rolled.

Two mini straps conveniently keep the mat rolled.
Two mini straps conveniently keep the mat rolled.

๐Ÿงฝ Cleaning: No Hassle

I haven't done much to clean High Times. Thanks to cork's antimicrobial properties, the mat naturally kills bacteria and prevents bad odors from building up.

So far, the mat has never smelled stinky. I did give it an occasional wipe with a damp cloth just as a matter of habit.

โœ‚๏ธ Design: Elegant But Stands Out

The Vida Hindya mat is one of the most gorgeous mats I've used in my life.
I love how the natural aesthetics of a cork combines with hand-drawn elements.

Not only High Times pattern is stunning, it's also very well thought-out. The elements appear in strategic places such as the middle of the mat. With a bit of imaginative thinking, they easily double as alignment lines to guide you in your practice.

By the way, all the drawings are made using non-toxic water-based ink with minimum impact on the environment.

If you're into minimalist patterns or no patterns at all, Vida Hindya offers a basic cork yoga mat as well.

โŒ› Durability: Sturdy As A Rock

Did you know that NASA used cork for its space shuttle? That's because cork is super sturdy and resistant to friction as well as wear and tear.

I've been using the High Times yoga mat for over a month. I took it outside many times and practiced on rocky, abrasive surfaces. I also kept it permanently unrolled at all times and walked over it for the purpose of testing.

The mat survived multiple yoga sessions, fitness workouts, and chill-out outings.

I'm happy to say that High Times aced my durability test with ease:

  • The top and bottom and layer are as good as new.
  • There's no visible flaking, cracking, or layer separation whatsoever.
  • The print didn't fade after multiple cleanings, as it happens with cheap patterned yoga mats.
  • No loose threads are visible on the sides.

Vida Hindya High Times yoga mat is a solid and reliable ground for your practice for years to come.

๐Ÿ‘ฉ๐Ÿปโ€โš–๏ธ Final Verdict: High-Quality Mat With No Guilt

You'll enjoy practicing on the High Times yoga mat as much as I did if you're:

  • looking for an all-around yoga mat for outdoor and indoor practice
  • trying to minimize your footprint - the mat is made with Mama Earth in mind
  • an art fan - Vida Hindya offers some stunning designs that will make your mat stand out from the crowd.
Get 10% off your mat with code YOGAKALI10

That said, keep looking if you're:

  • allergic to latex
  • looking for plenty of cushion.

๐Ÿ”— Useful Links

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