Slip-Sliding Away On Your Yoga Mat? 3 Tips to Save Your Practice

This entry was posted on Aug 3, 2017 by Charlotte Bell.

yoga mat

Up until the late 1980s, there was no such thing as a nonskid yoga mat. We practiced on an unpredictable variety of floors—wood, linoleum and carpet. We used outdated carpet samples instead of yoga blankets and neckties from a secondhand store for straps. Pretty primitive.

The lack of a nonskid surface made for a sometimes-frustrating practice. Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-Facing Dog Pose) and standing poses such as Trikonasana (Triangle Pose) were especially dicey. The effort to keep hands and feet from sliding out from under us and causing a crash landing kept us from fully extending in our poses. When sticky mats came into prominence in the late 1980s, they were a revelation.

Now, of course, nonskid yoga mats are ubiquitous. Mats come in all kinds of styles and are made from a variety of old and new materials. You’d think the problem with slippery surfaces would be solved. Unfortunately, due to differences in body chemistry and in each individual’s propensity to perspire, slippage still happens. And it can really wreck your practice and even cause injury.

3 Tips for Staying Put on Your Yoga Mat

There’s no prescription that works for every person, but there are some things you can do to avoid slipping on your mat. Here are a few ideas:

  1. Find the right mat: Because of the aforementioned differences in body chemistry, defining which mats have the stickiest surface is not a slam dunk. If your hands and feet don’t sweat much, you can likely use pretty much any yoga mat that’s designed to be skid free. But if you have sweaty hands and feet, here are some suggestions we’ve heard from our yoga community: 1. Sattva Jute Yoga Mat – The surface of this mat is textured, and the jute makes it more absorbent than standard mats. 2. Earth Elements Mats (3mm and 5mm) – This recyclable mat has a closed-cell construction that has a “dry-sticky” feel. Many perspiring yogis say this mat works well for them. 3. Para Rubber Yoga Mat – This natural rubber mat is probably the grippiest overall of all Hugger Mugger’s mats.
  2. Use a towel: Many practitioners of hot styles of yoga place a towel over their mats to absorb moisture. But bath towels can bunch up. The effort to keep your towel stable on your mat can interfere with the flow of your practice. Try a yoga towel made for use on top of a yoga mat. The Yoga Towel, a poly blend made from bamboo charcoal, has an eco-friendly nonskid backing made from PER, so that it stays stable on your mat. Note: It’s not only yogis who practice in a hot room who sweat and slip; many practitioners of mellower styles have perspiration issues too. A well-placed yoga towel can not only keep Hatha yogis stable, it can also provide a soft surface for seated and supine poses.
  3. Keep your mat clean: Dust and dirt on the surface of your mat can make it much more slippery. Also, some mats can be slippery when you first take them out of the package. Use PureMat Mat & Gear Wash (scented with lavender or lemon) to keep your mat in optimum condition.

If you have other ideas for preventing slippage, please join the conversation!

 

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.