1 February 2021
1 February 2021
This isn't uncommon at all and is actually quite normal. Just like no two fingerprints are the same, nor are our bodies. We all excrete different amounts of sweat and body oil, and we also use different oils on our skin which can change the way we are supported on a yoga mat. So rather than looking to the mat as the cause, perhaps think about what products you use (especially on your hands and feet) prior to a workout on your mat - after all, moisturisers are designed to make your skin feel smooth, not grippy!
Here are a few ideas to help you and your mat get off on the right foot, pun intended :)
First - Keep using your yoga mat. Like a pair of shoes, the more we wear them in, the better they feel and the more they mould to your unique foot shape and the way that you walk. During manufacturing, there can be layers that form on the mat which can vary based on weather conditions, aeration at the factory level, or even humidity at the time of production. Your mat at home might also be exposed to dust and humidity depending on where you live, whether you roll your mat up or not and where you store it.
Don't give up on your mat just because it didn't give you the perfect grip straight away, give it a chance to meld into your style. Each of us weighs differently and has different angles that we hold in poses, and of course, we are all at varying stages of competency in our yoga practice. Some of us are often pushing ourselves to go that little bit longer in a pose so again, if the grip isn't quite there, it may not be the mat, maybe you're just not quite positioned correctly. If this is you, simply relax, take a breath, reset and think about how you can achieve the pose that you wish in a more fluid way, perhaps asking your instructor for support.
Take note that yogis rarely have flush contact with the ground with their hands and feet, as this is where slippage can often happen on any mat. This is called a tent or cupping action when palms and feet are not flush.
Next - Feel free to layer your mat with a microfibre towel; Spray a quick and light spray of water on the topper and then place your towel on top. If you don't have a towel, no problem, all of our mats will develop grip with just a light spray of water.
Most mats work better when wet - and by that, we don't mean soak the whole thing in the bath! - but just like the body sweats as you proceed through your routines, your mat will adjust accordingly and with a little dampness, help your feet and hands retain the grip you're looking for. And please ensure that your hands & feet are oil-free ... remember all those moisturizes you put on early this morning? Well, they are still there and may be adversely affecting your grip on the mat.
Ideally, in fact, it's best to have a shower or swim before your session and ensure that you don't put any products on prior to your workout.
Vinegar is also commonly used to clean a mat of any superficial layer that may have formed - not only does it have antibacterial qualities (making it ideal for your post-session wipe down) but it also can add a little extra oomph to the water spray mix. Don't overuse vinegar though as it is an acid after all. Use a 1-2 ratio and perhaps add in a few drops of your favourite essential oil for that extra sensory effect, lightly mist your mat leaving it to settle for a few minutes, and then simply wipe down with a clean, damp cloth.
Some articles that I've read also suggest using sea salt. I've never tried this myself but it seems common practice in the yogi community. Suggestions are to mix a teaspoon of salt with water and spray, leave for 12-24 hours and wipe down well with plain water afterward. This can help reduce any build-up on a new mat, improving its grip.
Yoga socks and gloves are also common accessories to help with extra grip.
Also, remember to choose the mat that suits your yoga needs. There are many mats on the market with pros and cons for each and most are best suited for specific yoga techniques and styles. Check out our blog post here for How to choose the right Yoga mat for you
Recycled Mats also offers a wide range of Eco-Friendly Yoga Mats, Yoga Bags, Meditation Mats and accessories.