In most yoga classes, nonskid yoga mats are the standard. They can be thick, thin, patterned, solid, long, short, colorful, neutral, eco-friendly or not so much. What they have in common is that all these mats are patterned after our Tapas Original Mat, invented back in 1990. These mats have been a fantastic innovation for so many yoga practitioners, keeping all of us safe from sliding hands and feet.
However, teachers in some traditions recommend practicing on a completely different surface. In Ashtanga Yoga, the style developed by the late Patabhi Jois, Yoga Practice Rugs are the standard. There are several reasons for this:
- In Ashtanga, it is traditional to jump from one pose to the next in some parts of the sequences. Practicing jump-throughs on a nonskid mat can be hazardous if a foot (or two) sticks to your mat mid-jump.
- Ashtanga Yoga is a rigorous practice. Copious perspiration is very common. Practice rugs, made from cotton, are simply more absorbent than nonskid mats. Once your hands and feet start to sweat, you’re less likely to slip on a fabric surface.
- In the seated parts of the Ashtanga series—or in any type of yoga practice—a fabric surface usually feels a little more pleasant on your skin. Also, it’s nice to pad the surface of your yoga mat to cushion your joints.
- Tradition: In Ashtanga’s mecca, Mysore, yoga practice rugs are simply the tradition. Because Ashtanga Yoga is based in a traditional practice, given to Patabhi Jois by T. Krishnamacharya, using the traditional-style mat is a way of honoring the tradition.
There is a caution though: Because practice rugs do not have a nonskid surface like most yoga mats, they are more likely to slide against the floor. You can solve this potential problem by placing a nonskid yoga mat directly onto the floor and spreading your practice rug out on top.
Our Yoga Practice Rugs are made from 100% cotton and come in four different colorful patterns. You can read more about them here.