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A Cotton Yoga Mat for Everybody

A Cotton Yoga Mat for Restorative or Ashtanga Practice
cotton yoga mat Cotton Yoga Mat

Before the advent of the sticky yoga mat in the 1980s, students and teachers of all styles of yoga used a hodgepodge of different types of padding to shield themselves from the coldness and hardness of floors while they practiced. I remember using towels, blankets and quilts, discontinued carpet samples and foam sleeping bag pads. Most of what passed for yoga mats were made of fabric, and yoga practice was not what they were originally intended for.

Not long after she introduced the first Tapas® Mats to the yoga world, Hugger Mugger’s Sara Chambers, an avid seamstress, constructed her first mini-futon-style mat for floor poses. The Cotton Yoga Mat was, and still is, the epitome of luxury. A two-inch layer of cotton batting covered with upholstery-grade fabric, this mat is perfect for seated and supine poses, especially in styles such as Iyengar, Anusara, Hatha, Kundalini and Restorative yoga. Folded, it can sub for a shoulderstand pad in a pinch.

cotton yoga mat Cotton Practice Rug

But the Cotton Yoga Mat is not our only fabric yoga mat offering. Hugger Mugger also offers Cotton Practice Rugs to place over your non-slip mats for Ashtanga, Vinyasa and Power Yoga practices. Cotton practice rugs have been used for centuries for traditional Hatha yoga, and were likely the first mats ever used specifically for practice. Hugger Mugger’s cotton rugs are made in India and dyed in colorful, striped patterns. They’re substantial enough in thickness and weight that they adhere nicely to a non-slip yoga mat without bunching up like a towel would, and their cotton surface absorbs perspiration.

The care of each of these mats is slightly different. Here’s how you can wash each one for maximum longevity:

Cotton Yoga Mat

  • The Cotton Yoga Mat has a removable, zippered cover. The covers of these mats are made from cotton that has not been preshrunk, so in order for them to retain their shape and size, they should be dry cleaned. Go to and type in “eco-friendly dry cleaners” to find sustainable choices in your area.

Cotton Practice Rugs

  • Cotton Practice Rugs are pretty thick and heavy, probably too much so for a regular household washing machine. We recommend hand washing these rugs and hanging them to dry. Because they are dense, they may take some time to dry. It is also safe to dry clean the Cotton Practice Rugs.



About Charlotte Bell

Charlotte Bell discovered yoga in 1982 and began teaching in 1986. Charlotte is the author of Mindful Yoga, Mindful Life: A Guide for Everyday Practice, published by Rodmell Press. Her second book, Yoga for Meditators (Rodmell Press) was published in May 2012. She writes a monthly column for CATALYST Magazine and serves as editor for Yoga U Online. Charlotte is a founding board member for GreenTREE Yoga, a non-profit that brings yoga to schools and to underserved populations. A lifelong musician, Charlotte plays oboe and English horn in the Salt Lake Symphony and folk sextet Red Rock Rondo, whose DVD won two Emmy awards in 2010.

3 thoughts on “A Cotton Yoga Mat for Everybody”

  • Annalea

    I'd love more info on the cotton yoga mats, especially the chemical content of the cotton. I love cotton, but the amount of chemicals used in its growth & manufacture means I have to be careful about what I buy that's made from cotton. Can you tell me where you cotton comes from, and if it contains residual chemical contamination? I'm more interested in the batting than the cover, as I can make my own cover if necessary. Thank you!

    • Charlotte Bell

      Hi Annalea, I'm well aware of the harmful chemicals used in cotton production and certainly share your concerns. I'm not sure about the batting for the cotton mats. If it's not organic it could be that we're either unable to get it or it's so expensive that we'd have to price the mats so high that people wouldn't buy them. I believe we offer an organic option for the cover. I will send your question to someone in customer service to see if they can give you more insight. Thanks for your inquiry!

  • MARI Yoga

    I love your post. I am a yoga teacher in Luxembourg and would love to connect. Thanks MARI Yoga

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