What Is An Organic Cotton Yoga Mat Really Like? Our Editors Review Brentwood Home’s New Yoga Collection
We’re Upgrading Our Yoga Accessories
If you’re anything like us, your fitness and wellness routines have changed drastically in the past couple of years. So many of us turned to exercising alone at home, or sometimes not at all, while we processed the upheaval in the world around us. But as we enter into a new year, full of hope for better days ahead, we’re refreshing our routines—and upgrading our accessories.
That’s where Brentwood Home comes in with its newly released Crystal Cove yoga collection. As a 100% carbon negative brand with rigorous ethics and sustainability standards, Brentwood Home has long been our go-to for eco-friendly mattresses and bedding. But now the brand is helping us get out of bed and onto our mats!
The headliner is the world’s only GOTS® organic certified yoga mat that features a soft cotton top with a 100% natural latex grip base. The collection is rounded out with cushions and bolsters—also certified organic—that use buckwheat hulls, instead of typical plastic-based fills in other cushions.
Our editors had the chance to try each of the products, each of us at varying depths of practice, to see if they were as supportive and restorative as they sounded. (Spoiler alert—yes and YES). Here’s what we thought!
There was a time when I was routinely in the yoga studio, sharing breath with my community. It filled me up and became a powerful part of my daily self-care. And then—2020. Need I say more? Once I no longer had that external accountability, my practice fell apart and I’ve been trying to re-establish it ever since. So when I had the opportunity to try Brentwood’s new yoga mat, I finally got my act together enough to dust off the ol’ downward dog.
My 7-year-old Gaiam mat is all chewed up by my rabbits, so unrolling this smoky blush beauty felt extremely luxurious (it’s so lovely I don’t want to roll it back up). As a person who loves her comfort objects, I found this mat to be extremely cozy and pleasing to touch—I immediately wanted to embrace a savasana-induced nap. It’s sturdy, too, so it lays flat on the floor without the curled-up edges I’m used to on my old mat, which is a HUGE perk.
I dove in with this “fun” yoga flow since I was feeling particularly energetic, but as the practice unfolded I found myself slowing down and settling into my breath and body. The soft cotton top of the mat was a delightful sensory experience that kept me feeling grounded, and the non-slip latex grip on the bottom helped me feel safe and secure. The flow ended up being a little more complicated than I anticipated, so I fell out of a few poses—but the fabric didn’t irritate my skin when I took a tumble!
At the end, I practiced some deep breathing with the Pranayama Yoga Cushion, which is the perfect size and firmness for laying lengthwise under my spine. After being out of practice for a while, the butterfly pose with the bolster felt especially amazing. (This cushion also follows me around the house—I use it to support my lower back while working, gaming, and even at the dinner table.)
Overall, this is a fabulous mat and cushion for someone looking to really upgrade their home practice and they would make excellent gifts. I can imagine it’d be lovely for hot yoga, although I don’t know if I’d have the time or discipline to wash it frequently, so I’ll keep it for my calmer flows. And that’s where I do have to note—at $159, the mat is a hefty investment that I wouldn’t want to tote back and forth to a sweaty yoga studio. The price tag is reflective, though, of the quality and certifications behind these products: Climate Neutral, FSC certified, certified organic, and vegan. And since it’s so sturdy, I’ll be keeping this mat around (and away from my chew-happy rabbits) for many, many years to come!
Ever since my fiancé completed his yoga teacher training this past summer, we’ve begun adding more of the practice’s suggested accessories to our home. Straps, sprays, blocks, bolsters, blankets; because they can all assist in strengthening his skills (and, by default, mine), we’ve had to start considering their quality and value more than, well, usual.
I’m generally someone who prefers strength training with hand weights to stay active, but as his sometimes-student, I don’t mind also improving my Half Moon Pose (going great!) or my Crow (still terrible!). So I got cocky and decided to use Brentwood’s Organic Yoga Mat for the first time in a 30-minute power yoga session I found on Peloton. But as someone who never does the fast-paced practice to begin with, its distinguishing speed combined with my labored breathing and me (quite literally) trying to find my footing was a challenge!
Here’s why: My current yoga mat is made of natural cork—rough to the touch, but resistant to slipping. Brentwood’s mat is made of 100 percent organic cotton, so getting fit on fabric was a bit of a learning curve for me, but it ended up being so worth it. Once I decided to use the mat in a way my body found familiar—slower rates, more repetition—I returned to it more and more. It’s foldable without leaving forever-creases; washable, meaning I get a more thorough clean than a wet wipe would ever provide; and 5mm thick, which is far more than the average mat that’s also likely made of equally disappointing PVC. I placed the mat on both my hardwood floors (for standing exercises) and my carpet (for extra support of kneeling ones) and its natural latex base gripped great on both.
(I also got the mat in gorgeous dark blue which helpfully hid any unsightly sweat stains, but not my dog’s shedded white hair, who took to it for a nap before I could even roll it up off my floor—nothing a lint roller can’t fix though!)
I also opted for the Buckwheat Bolster Cushion, a 12-pound, two-foot-long pillow that I’ve found myself carrying over to my couch, too. Because it’s filled with tons of individual buckwheat hulls as opposed to the commonly used polyester filler or worse, feathers and fur, it was a bit more wily than I expected, flopping over my forearm when I picked it up rather than maintaining a stiff structure. But after doing a 10-minute restorative session for relaxation, I realized I preferred its malleability! It softly cradled my hips and lower back and made for a great cuddle buddy in the poses that called for it.
My home yoga practice waxes and wanes with my energy levels, which is to say that lately, it’s been non-existent. Before the holiday season, and before Omicron-rise, I was doing a trial at my local hot yoga studio and committed to going at least three times a week. Trust me, I was impressed with myself too. Unfortunately that’s a practice I no longer feel comfortable taking part in, but I’ve transferred to a home practice that includes (at the very minimum) a good 15-minute daily stretch.
Since the days in my hot yoga studio are gone and the days at my desk are long, my hips are notoriously tight—something my stretching practice has really helped with. I’ve always needed a boost to be able to touch my toes when leaning forward (seated), but blocks are extremely uncomfortable for me to sit on. The meditation cushion, however, is perfect. Literally perfect! It gives me enough lift to put me in a better position for stretching, and I like that it’s softer than yoga blocks. The meditation pillow allows me to go into a butterfly stretch or seated forward fold seamlessly—I actually didn’t know it would be so easy to touch my toes! It’s not something I’m used to being able to do.
Brentwood Home’s yoga mat is a nice change from the one I’m currently using—a sleek and shiny (read: slippery) Lululemon version that I was “gifted”—aka took—from my parents. This yoga mat is hefty, as was my old one, so I didn’t notice a huge difference between the two in that regard, though I’d say that it’s definitely on the heavier end of yoga mats I’ve used before. The eco-friendly, latex bottom really is non-slip…they weren’t kidding! It hit my hardwood floor with a satisfying slap, and I love the woven cotton top.
When doing hot yoga, or my apartment version of hot yoga (which is when the A/C isn’t on and it’s LA weather) I used to slip and slide on my old yoga mat, requiring a towel underneath to catch my sweat and keep me in place. With the fabric top of this mat, I find that I don’t slip around like I’m used to, making it easier to concentrate more on my practice and less on falling on my face. Whether my practice is in full-swing, or whether I’m just dedicating my free time to stretching, I know both Brentwood yoga products will be ones I reach for time and time again.
THIS EDITORIAL IS IN PARTNERSHIP WITH OUR FRIENDS AT BRENTWOOD HOME.
Emily Torres is the Editorial Director at The Good Trade. Born and raised in Indiana, she studied Creative Writing and Business at Indiana University. You can usually find her in her colorful Los Angeles apartment journaling, caring for her rabbits, or gaming.