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Cork is a living, natural, and biodegradable material made from the bark of the cork oak tree. Although primarily used for wine corks, this material can be used in a variety of ways.

Rituil is deeply rooted in cork. It’s a vital component of our identity, products, and practice. We fell in love with its superpowers and want to share its beauty and sustainability with you.

Where is Cork Grown?

Our cork is grown in the Alentejo region of Portugal in what is part of the Montado ecosystem, a diverse habitat full of natural biodiversity. Besides Portugal, cork oaks can only be found in southwest Europe, such as Spain and France, and in northwest Africa, in countries like Morocco and Algeria. Portugal alone is home to one third of the world's cork oak forest area, and according to OEC World, is the world’s leading producer of cork.

We decided to source our cork from Portugal because of our strong personal connection to the country and its makers, as well as its commitment to sustainability.

Rituil cork forest creating sustainable cork yoga mats and cork yoga blocks

Why is Cork so Sustainable?

The lifecycle of the cork tree begins as any other, with an acorn. The trees naturally propagate and require specific soil and climate conditions. However, its bark is what makes this tree so unique.

After 25 years of its life, a cork tree's bark is ready to be sustainably harvested. This process actually benefits the tree instead of harming it. In fact, removing its bark doubles the tree’s life to 200 years.

Since the cork tree bears new “skin” or bark every nine years after its harvest, this process can continue in a way that is valuable to the tree’s health. It’s no different than the need for human skin to be exfoliated.

The harvesting of the cork trees is also vital to the planet. The 5.7 million acres of cork oak forests worldwide promote the retention of about 14.4 million tonnes of carbon dioxide a year, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information.

This means that harvesting cork leads to a higher formation of new bark, which dramatically reduces carbon dioxide emissions.

Rituil sustainable cork yoga products

Why use Cork?

We knew cork had to be the foundation of Rituil because it was so versatile. Throughout our movement journey, we’ve purchased quality yoga mats from reputable companies but encountered the same problem. The mats were made with plastic backings or surfaces. This meant they weren’t natural, wore out quickly, and smelled after use.

This inspired us to find the perfect natural yoga mat. Our search led us to discover many mats, even some made of cork, but the mat backings still weren’t made of natural materials. So we set out to create something different, which became our Rituil mat.

As designers with backgrounds in home interiors, we aimed to develop a mat beautiful enough to leave around your house and use anytime.

The Rituil mat is made of cork and features a non-slip base made from natural rubber. Both of these materials come from trees, and the best part is that no trees are harmed or cut down during the harvesting process.

This mat doesn’t smell or need to be rolled up and put away after use, it can be displayed within your interior space.

Our Relationship with Cork

Our Portuguese makers and partners have helped to educate and excite us about using cork for our products.

Each day for us begins and ends with cork. Our cork mat is the center of our daily meditation and yoga practices, and we sit on the Rituil block when working from home.

“I was given the honorary title of an official cork ambassador!” exclaimed James Gallagher, co-founder of Rituil, when describing his conversation with our cork makers about their 100 year history.

“I gracefully accepted my title and duties and hope others see the amazing benefits of this miracle material and become cork ambassadors alongside us!” he added.

When our hands touch these products, we are connected with the Earth through the cork. This idea is one of the core values of our brand. We hope that when you use Rituil products, you aren’t just connected with yourself and other humans, but with nature and all living things.

Rituil cork yoga mat in the cork forest

Our Cork Products

The cork products we launched with include our our mat, our yoga block, our meditation seat and our restorative block.

These products are made from 100% hand-harvested Portuguese cork and are the highest quality cork yoga products on the market. Our commitment to sustainability is not only making products from recycled and renewable materials, but making them last for this life and the next.

When creating the blocks, we use fire and steam to liquify and bond the cork together. The final result yields a beautiful toasted brown block, with a wonderful earthy scent. This smell is similar to the Palo Santo we burn during our yoga practice.

The cork tree is a great analogy for Rituil - its powerful roots, story of renewal, fragility, beauty, and relationship/connectivity to many other living, breathing species.

We plan to produce many additional cork products, and would love to hear from you, our community, about what you’d like to see.

Visit us on social and join the conversation @dailyrituil.

Join the @dailyrituil community.


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