In my yoga class, I get really sweaty and my hands and feet slip on my mat. Do you need a special mat for something like this?
Thanks for your question, hiptobesquare. Practicing on a slippery yoga mat can be a major distraction, and when it comes to certain poses, it may prove to be dangerous — no one wants to land on their face during Downward Dog! As for whether or not you need a special mat, the answer is not necessarily. There are several mats on the market that are advertised as "nonslip," but from our own experiences, no mat is truly slip- or sweat-proof. What these mats do offer is better traction and grip and less of a slick surface, which is helpful if you tend to get sweaty during class. We find that Manduka mats are great for offering good grip for sweaty hands and feet.
To avoid having to go out a buy a new mat, we recommend investing in a slipless towel. Unlike regular bath towels, a slipless towel absorbs sweat and dries quickly. And, in many cases, the towel is either made with a material that allows for extra grip or is antibacterial (in some cases, both). You might even ditch your mat altogether. Many people who practice hot yoga opt for a cotton mat that is made with traction on the underside, or just practice on a slipless towel.
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If you find this still isn't enough, or you don't want to lay a towel over your mat, there is another option. Companies like Blake Brody and Toe Sox make nonslip yoga shoes, socks, and gloves. These products absorb sweat and are made with little rubber grips that help keep you in place during a pose.
Keep in mind that the more you use your mat, the less slippery it becomes. Also, remember to wash it frequently. Through practice and washings, you'll be able to break down the slick sheen that often coats a new mat. (Just make sure to not use a slippery soap wash! We're partial to apple cider vinegar that has been diluted with water.)
Source: Flickr user lululemon athletica