Every yogi that has ever gone to a yoga class, has noticed that there is a certain dress code associated with the practice.
People in brightly colored loose or tight-fitting pants, socks, and slops. The prescribed hairstyle is a messy bun, rounded off by a headband and water bottle in the hand.
They come to class armed with their accountability partner…the trusty yoga mat.
Buddy Ol’ Pal
Come to think of it, we never go to a yoga class at the studio or at home. We actually have an accountability partner. Our yoga mat.
Keeping us safe, and helping us through the sequence we have to follow. They play a very important role in our yoga journey.
Yoga mats can be found in technicolor. So many different color combinations and patterns to choose from. From the very simplistic to the bright and bold. There is a yoga mat suited to everyone’s personality and individual taste.
It is as easy as taking your mat from its carry-on bag, unroll onto the floor, and engage your core. After class, the mat is sanitized and put back in the bag, slung over your shoulder and you are on your way.
Using a yoga mat
Yoga mats are also known as sticky mats. The very first yoga mat was invented in 1982 by Angela Farmer.
In a deeper sense, the yoga mat is symbolic of being the buffer between our bodies and the “real world” The protect and keep us safe, whilst you focus on your asanas.
Question is; Why do we actually use yoga mats, and are they completely necessary? Imagine having to practice your asanas on a cold, tiled floor, or hard wooden parquet or studio floor. It is just not comfortable. You will not be able to place your focus effectively on the practice at hand if you are not at ease. Your journey starts with finding the right yoga mat for you.
In a class structure, surrounded by other students, your mat basically buys you a piece of studio real estate. Take notice of the next time, you visit a studio, or attend a class. The moment after you place your mat, there is an unspoken rule amongst the direct neighbors in your quad. They seem to respect your stance, and then proceed to build their own space around that.
There is no denying that earlier years saw the yogis of that time practice sans manduka mat. Some use it for a little bit of cushioning from the floor surface. Sticky mats can be beneficial in acting as an insulator against a cold floor in lower temperatures.
Today’s mats are also stickier in nature than in previous times. This is optimal for poses like downward dog, in keeping your hands from slipping away, so they aid with friction.
Ergo, using yoga or a sticky mat is a very personal choice and varies from person to person.
Things to Know Before Buying a Yoga Mat
Yoga is practiced by over 21 million yogis in the United States alone on an annual basis.
Before deciding on the sticky mat that is best suited to your needs, there are a few considerations that every yogi should bear in mind:
Get a grip. Invest in a mat that provides the type of grip that you require. Everyone is different and if you find yourself slipping as you are trying to hold on to your mat for dear life by using your toes – this is not the mat for you.
Padding. If you are going to make use of a mat, it is best to purchase a mat that is padded. A padded mat will help prevent injury and is also kinder to joints. Both muscle and joint strength are slowly built as your body gets accustomed to the poses, and a mat with padding will assist in the transition.
Bear witness to the next time you visit a yoga studio, some students even make use of two mats to practice on.
No foam. Having said that padding is important, it’s not wise to invest in a large piece of foam for yoga exercises. The mats made from foam, will not assist with added grip and can make you slip and injure yourself. Foam mats are excellent for afternoon siestas in the sun.
Toxins. Some mats are made from PVC material. PVC is a toxic plastic that can be harmful to you. It’s recommended for yogis to rather invest in a mat that is made from natural rubber.
Weight. The idea is to have a yoga mat, that will give you good mileage on your yoga journey. Invest in a mat that has the right padding and provides grip. Another important consideration is that you do not want to slog around a heavy mat. Go for a lighter option that provides all that you need.
Invest. Your mat is essentially the only piece of equipment you really need. Therefore it is worthwhile to invest in a decent mat, even if this means spending a bit more money. At first, you might think nothing of it, but buying a cheap mat, will just result in a worn-out mat that has become flimsy in a very short period of time.
Mat(ch) your personality. Sticky mats come in a variety of colors and patterns. Go for a yoga mat that will make you feel excited about going to class, and practicing yoga at home. Make it personal and find one that matching your unique personality.
Size. The average yoga mat is 68 inches long, if you are taller than that, you will need to source an extra length yoga mat.
Hypoallergenic. If you suffer from any allergies, or if you are prone to sensitive skin, it’s a good idea to look out for a yoga mat that is hypoallergenic, as to not cause any further irritation.
Dry-Tech. Some mats are so clever! They absorb sweat droplets the moment they hit the mat. The more you sweat, the more grip they provide.
Anti-microbial. This is important, especially if you will be practicing hot yoga and you sweat a lot. Having a yoga mat that is anti-microbial in nature, will ensure that you are not exposed to any bacteria that is attracted to sweating.
Types of Yoga Mats
A few different types of yoga mats are in existence:
- Cotton and Hemp yoga mats
- Jute mats
- Natural rubber yoga mats
- Plastic Elastomer yoga mats
- Sticky mats
- Traveling yoga mats
Sweating During Yoga Practice
In pursuit of samadhi, you will find yourself glistening. This is caused by the body releasing toxins and sweat is used as a vessel for it. Sweating is also good, as this is the body’s natural way of cooling off.
However much this is a good thing, you do not want to place yourself at risk of slipping & injuring yourself. And if this is cumbersome to you, there are a number of other things that can be done to mitigate sweating, or making the impact thereof less severe:
Attire. Wear clothing that is loose fitting and made from cotton. This will allow your skin to breathe. Cotton will absorb the sweat and won’t be smelly after a few washes. Gym clothes on the other hand will become smelly and will have to be replaced quite soon to avoid embarrassment.
For guys, this might be a little easier. If you are not too shy about your body, practicing barechested might also be an option.
Bring a towel. Bring a small gym towel to class to wipe your face, hands, and feet if needed.
Flip the mat over. Try flipping your mat over, in the middle of class once the opportunity presents itself.
Use a yoga strap. If the mat flipping trick does not work, keep a yoga strap in close proximity. Placing the yoga strap over the breadth of your mat, Will keep your hands from slipping.
Enter the Yoga Magic Carpet
There are a few brands of sticky mats that do assist with lightening the damp mood, so to speak:
Iuga Pro Non-slip Yoga Mat. Light in weight and provides good cushioning. A textured bottom provides extra grip on harder surfaces.
Gaiam Performance Dry-grip Yoga Mat. This non-slip yoga mat is one of the top sellers in the United States. It comes with a lifetime guarantee and is latex and rubber free, therefore it’s safe to use by anyone.
Heathyoga Non-slip Alignment Mat. Possesses a diamond-shaped surface, to prevent slipping. It has thick padding and comes at an affordable price.
Hugger Mugger Para Rubber Yoga Mat. This mat is reversible and presents a non-slip-based surface on both sides. It’s environmentally friendly in that the rubber that the mat is made from, comes from non-Amazon rain forest sources.
Jade Harmony Professional Yoga Mat. The creators of this mat are firm believers in giving back to the environment. They plant a tree for every mat that is sold.
Liforme Eco-friendly, Non-slip Yoga Mat. Made from bio-degradable rubber, this mat provides an alignment pattern design on the actual mat, to assist with form correctness. Comes with a beautiful travel bag.
Lululemon The Reversible Mat. The very top layer of this mat helps to absorb moisture. It is free of toxins and comprises a natural rubber base.
Manduka Prolite Yoga Mat. Possess a closed-cell based structure, to prevent sweat from seeping into the mat. It’s free of latex and the dot pattern at the bottom of the mat is made to withstand slipping by its owner.
Yoga Design Lab Combo Yoga Mat. This product has a dual purpose, in that is also serves as a hot yoga towel. It is extremely eco-friendly and made from recycled plastic bottles.
Yoloha Cork Yoga Mat. This mat is made from soft, moisture-resistant cork and comes in a variety of different sizes. It provides added grip, and you won’t need a towel for extra measure.
There are some other tips & tricks that can be applied in helping the sweaty situation, these include:
YogitoesⓇ. This is a skidless towel that uses little silicone nubs and attaches to your yoga mat. It posses great powers of absorption and will ensure that the yogi stays firmly in place.
Chalk. You can either apply a dab of liquid chalk to your hands before practicing or dust your mat with chalk if you are not too concerned with a little powder during yoga class.
Caring for Your Sticky Mat
Ensure the longevity of your mat, by taking care of it, using the following suggested practices:
Oils, dirt, and sweat can add to the deterioration of your mat and it’s important to apply simple maintenance techniques after every session to avoid this from occurring.
It’s a good idea to apply lotions, oils, and creams to your body before yoga practice. If you find yourself rushing from the office to yoga practice, ensure that you wipe the body down with baby wipes before changing into your yoga gear.
Special wipes, designed for your mat are available online, but baby wipes work equally well in wiping off your mat after practice. It is advisable to wait until your mat is dry, before rolling it up and putting it away.
Adding a towel on top of your mat will assist in sweat absorption and help you obtain a better grip during practice.
To keep your mat smelling fresh, it’s a good idea to air it out regularly. This can be done by hanging your mat outside over the wall or washing line.
Promote hygiene by adopting a regular habit of cleaning your towel with an anti-bacterial spray and a damp cloth.
Now You know what is the Best Yoga Mat for Sweaty Hands
Take some time and do some discovery on the different types of yoga mats. You might want to speak to a few friends and ask them about their personal experiences.
Also, make a fun excursion and go feel up a few mats on a yoga shopping day, before you purchase one. Namaste!
Quote of the day:
“A flower does not think of competing to the flower next to it. It just blooms”
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