I’m one of those unlucky yoginis who struggles with sweaty hands and feet during yoga classes. As class progresses, my stable foundation becomes unstable, especially for strong poses held for a minute or longer — things like a low lunge, downward facing dog, or a warrior pose. I need a yoga mat with better stick.
As my practice improves, I’m getting better at bringing energy up from my hands and feet to my core — but I tire more quickly. Legs start to shake, my poses lose their integrity.
Using the right mat can help, but I haven’t yet found the perfect solution. These days I’m experimenting with two different combinations, for different class styles.
The Yoga Mats Teachers Recommend
Observant teachers who see me slipping will recommend switching to a different yoga mat. Although teachers have different preferences, they tend to recommend either Jade or Manduka brand yoga mats.
As a result, I now own and use two different mats for class. Before heading off for class, I’ll choose the one best suited to today’s teacher — her yoga discipline and what she tends to emphasize in the way of asanas:
- Jade Harmony Professional Mat — for use in moderately sweaty classes (vinyasa flow, when poses will be held only briefly)
- Manduka Black Mat Pro — for use in Anusara classes that focus on core building and strong poses held for long periods (where stability counts)
Neither mat fully solves the problem, but for different reasons.
The Jade Harmony mat has a longer “mean time before slippage”; however, it deforms as it warms. So the Jade mat tends to be less suited for Anusara-style asanas with its focus on solid foundations and opposing actions. The Manduka never deforms, is always rock solid, but my hands and feet slip much earlier in class unless I’ve taken precautions.
Mat Covers Can Help
Because neither mat is sticky enough on its own, I’ve tested different mat covers, with varying degrees of success. Here’s my current “class formula”:
- Vinyasa flow: Jade Harmony mat plus Manduka eQua hand towel
- Anusara: Manduka Black Mat Pro plus Yogitoes Premium Skidless Mat-size Yoga Towel
For Vinyasa Flow
During classes with lots of sun salutations or other flowing sequences, I’ve found that Manduka’s micro-fiber hand towel does a good job keeping hands or feet stable. I’ve used a single towel, but am about to try placing two towels on the mat, one for hands and one for feet.
Manduka’s longer mat cover is less effective during vinyasa flow sequences — it wrinkles too easily. (This may not be an issue for skilled yoginis who jump and float easily from one pose to another, without graceless foot dragging.)
When possible, I prefer to bring the Jade Harmony mat to class because it weighs a pound or two less than the Manduka mat, rolls up nicely, and is easy to secure with a velcro strap. (That said, it took a couple of months before the rubber smell dissipated enough for me to ignore the Jade mat during class.)
My preferred solution for Anusara classes is the Manduka Black Mat Pro with Yogitoes skidless mat towel, which almost fully covers my yoga mat.
Even after two years of use and multiple washings, the Yogitoes towel remains reasonably absorbent, and the rubber feet keep it firmly in place — most of the time. It can wrinkle during fast-paced sun or moon salutations, so it sometimes needs adjusting during class.
What I don’t like is the somewhat bumpy feel of the rubber protrusions on the reverse side of the Yogitoes mat towel. This sort of spoils the zen-like beauty of the Manduka mat.
The wrinkly mat towel is the reason my vinyasa teacher tells me to bring the Jade Harmony mat to her classes.
I keep hoping that someday I’ll find a yoga mat that doesn’t compromise on stability while retaining its stickiness for the duration of the class. Perhaps this is just a fantasy…