CorkYogis was born from an idea I had after a recent trip to India. Being a yoga lover for the last 6 years I was starting to get frustrated with the depth of my practice. I knew that there was a deeper level to yoga and the meaning behind yogic principles that I wasn’t experiencing in my yoga classes. I wanted to be connected to the ancient Indian knowledge through my yoga practice and I wanted to feel connected to something deeper and bigger than just the physical postures.
This frustration made me look at what yoga actually meant to me; which was a devotional practice. Both devotional towards my own self and to others. This is when I came up with the inspiration of somehow connecting the east and the west through yoga and creating a giving loop.
The inspiration for the yoga mats probably came about before I was even aware of it! My early yoga days were mainly focused on the Bikram style, which means hot, sweaty, ‘almost passing out’ yoga! Even though I loved the intensity of the classes, the constant slipping around on wet, sweaty mats became a bit too much for me. I was shocked that there was not a solution for this problem and after talking to yogis practicing other dynamic styles of yoga, they also had the same problems and had not yet found a yoga mat that could combat these problems.
So when I noticed Canadian paddleboarders using a cork surface for paddleboard yoga I thought this was a genius idea! Even though the paddleboarders were wet, the cork held amazing grip. This is when I thought about using cork to create an everyday, roll-able cork yoga mat!
I met the amazing team we work with completely by chance whilst visiting relatives in India. After my nan passed away me and my family were looking for somewhere to donate her beautiful sarees to (she loved shopping and had hundred of un-worn sarees that we didn’t know what to do with!). We met a few charities but the one who really inspired us was a charity called Destiny Foundation.
They were a team combating the immense injustices of human trafficking and the challenges faced by human trafficking survivors. They work towards empowering and educating survivors to learn skills to find dignified employment and create a better future. To do this they provide free training courses in sewing and literacy to give the girls employable skills, they then sell handmade products made out of recycled saree material to create financial independence. The girls are also accepted in a family environment that they often never had, the girls are treated as individuals with their own individual journey and challenges to overcome. Their moto is ‘One life at a time’.
I wanted to find a way to combine the huge popularity of yoga in the west with my desire to create futures for vulnerable communities. So we developed an amazing partnership with Destiny supporting their work and providing jobs by getting the women to make our beautiful yoga mat bags.
Our give back loop was complete! For every natural CorkYogis mat purchased, we provide a contribution towards a training course for one girl. For every CorkYogis bag purchased, we provide jobs creating steps towards financial independence.