Because yoga requires great concentration and balance, the slightest distraction can be catastrophic, particularly for less experienced practitioners. It may sound like an exaggeration, but it’s true that even a minor imperfection in your practicing equipment can completely throw off your form. After all, yoga is about minimizing distractions. That’s why it’s important for you to invest in high quality yoga equipment early on.
One of the most annoying distractions for yoga practitioners is the infamous slippery yoga mat. In other words, a mat that lacks grip to keep the person from slipping off of it and losing balance. This is actually quite common amongst beginners, since their muscles haven’t yet acclimated to the amount of stimulation required to complete a full training session. Sweat can also cause slipping, although yoga mats are usually designed to absorb sweat and maintain their stickiness.
Regardless of its prevalence, a slippery yoga mat is never fun to deal with, especially when its packaging reads, “non-slip”. As it turns out, certain materials that comprise non-slip yoga mats are grippier than others, such as those found in cork yoga mats. We’ll explain why this is, and which other materials reduce slipping, in the next section. After that, we’ll provide you several methods for making a slippery yoga mat easier to grip, in case you aren’t happy with your current mat but don’t want to buy a new one.
Non-Slip Materials for Yoga Mats
Yoga mats are made from many different kinds of materials, some of which are “stickier” or provide better grip than others. Among the most common materials found in yoga mats are PVC (vinyl), jute, cotton, and organic cork. To avoid buying a slippery yoga mat, cork is your best option.
Cork yoga mats offer excellent grip, due to their rubbery texture and sponginess. The reason these qualities make cork grippy is because they counteract the pressure you apply to the mat when holding a pose. As you push your hand onto a solid, flat surface, it will tend to slide (or slip) along that surface the harder you press. The rubber texture of cork catches your hand, preventing it from slipping as you use it to support your bodyweight.
The sponginess of cork also prevents slipping, but in a different way. It allows your hand to press into the cork, creating a slight indentation. The walls of that indentation help to lock your hands in place as you apply greater pressure. These are the benefits of dry cork in a yoga mat, but what’s perhaps most impressive about cork as a non-slip material is that it becomes even easier to grip as it absorbs moisture.
In the middle of a session, when you’re sweating onto your mat, cork provides a surprising advantage over other materials. Its stickiness increases as it absorbs moisture, allowing you to hold difficult poses even towards the end of a full yoga session. A comparable effect can be found in paper, which becomes easier to grip, or flip through, when you apply moisture by licking your finger or thumb. This means you can prime cork at the start of a session by spraying it with a little water to increase its stickiness.
Finding a non-slip mat is a little more complicated than it may seem. While manufacturers may claim to produce non-slip mats, the quality of their construction may not live up to their promise. That’s why it’s important, not only to seek out mats with non-slip materials, but also a trustworthy yoga mat maker.
How to Make Your Yoga Mat Less Slippery
In the unfortunate case that you bought a slippery yoga mat and you’re unable, or unwilling, to replace it with a stickier cork-based mat, there are several methods you can use to make your slippery yoga mat easier to grip. The goal overall is to wear your mat down to add texture.
Train on One Side of Your Mat
The more you use your yoga mat, the less slippery it will become thanks to wear and tear. You can accelerate wear and tear by using one side of your mat exclusively every time you train, rather than flipping between both sides. We recommend marking the side you want to wear down with a small piece of tape, so that you don’t mix up the sides early on. After about 10-14 days of using your yoga mat consistently, you should begin to notice an increase in stickiness.
Thoroughly Wash Your Mat
By carefully washing your slippery yoga mat, you can accentuate its natural texture without damaging the materials. Most yoga mat materials are safe to put in the washing machine, so long as you don’t add soap, don’t run it on a spin cycle, and let the mat dry by air (this may take a few days).
If your mat is not machine-washable, try washing it with an organic surface cleaner and let it air dry after. Avoid highly acidic cleaners if possible. Consensus about the safety of using such products as apple cider vinegar to clean your mat has been mixed at best. Therefore, we’d advise against it.
A natural alternative to chemical cleaners may be sea salt. Apparently, you can add texture to your slippery yoga mat by rubbing it down with sea salt until it is thoroughly coated. Then, let the salt sit on your mat for 24 hours, and rinse it with water.
Use a Towel
There are a couple of ways in which a towel comes in handy when dealing with a slippery yoga mat. First, you can use it to mop up sweat, and second, you can lay it on top of your mat for added texture.
Sweat can make a yoga mat more slippery if the materials aren’t as absorbent as, say, cork. So, if you sweat a lot, you’ll definitely want to keep a towel nearby. Use it to remove sweat from your mat and hands in between poses, or lay it over top of your mat before training. If you opt for the latter, make sure the towel is pulled tightly around your mat so that it doesn’t slide across the mat’s surface.
If a regular cotton towel isn’t absorbent enough, or you find that it increases slipping, try placing a quick-drying microfiber towel over your mat instead.
A slippery yoga mat won’t just annoy you, it will hinder your ability to perform.
To enjoy the benefits of yoga, it’s essential that you use a proper non-slip yoga mat. Cork yoga mats are the most sticky, and therefore provide the best grip, even after absorbing moisture. If you’re hesitant to buy one from any old company, we here at Pureful have garnered plenty of praise from our customers.
If you, like many others, trust us to deliver you the highest quality cork yoga products on the market, check out our cork yoga block and cork yoga bag. They’re the perfect counterparts to our mats!