Yoga Mat Alternatives; Pros And Cons And What To Expect?
If you’re like me and you hate the feeling of that sticky yoga mat on your sweaty skin at the end of a work out, you may want to consider some alternatives to the traditional yoga mat. There are actually quite a few alternatives that are not only easy to find at home, but also have some benefits over a standard yoga mat.
Towels This one may seem obvious, but it certainly isn’t the only option. Towels are handy to have around for many reasons. You may even have a few lying around the house already.
Pros: The most obvious benefit is the comfort factor. Towels can be just as comfortable, and even more so than most traditional yoga mats. If you hate the feeling of the yoga mat on your skin, a towel can provide that extra layer of padding. You can also pick a towel that has a bit of grip, which will give you more control over your poses.
Cons: Even the best towels can’t provide the same amount of traction as a yoga mat. This is important to know, especially if you’re doing poses that require you to have a lot of traction on the mat.
10 Best Yoga Mat Alternatives
One of the most important parts of any exercise program is a quality mat. Although yoga can take place in appropriate clothing if you're in a pinch, or at home without a handy yoga mat, it's impossible to give your full attention to the practice if you're distracted by the discomfort of falling on rough surfaces or jagged rocks, sticking sweaty feet to the floor, or pinched toes in your socks.
Here are 10 of the best yoga mat alternatives. Some are things you might have around the house, while others you may have to outfit yourself with.
If you're practicing at home, place one or two bed sheets on the floor. They are as gentle and cushiony as a yoga mat, and they're not messy to clean (a damp sponge is all you need). Some people may find them slippery when practicing in bare feet, but if there's a more durable, washable rug near the door you can take off your socks to practice.
Cut out two pieces of cardboard (e.g., kitchen delivery boxes) to whatever size you want. Simply tape them together before use, and you have a sturdy, convenient yoga mat. It may not fit into your yoga bag as easily, but it'll certainly be much less difficult to carry around than a heavy, rolled-up mat.
Sheet of Wood
# 1 Rolled Up Beach Towel
A beach towel will give you the extra cushion you need, is more stable than some other mat alternatives, and is easily portable. You'll just need a yoga mat towel strap to attach it to your mat, and a yoga belt to stay extra steady.
If you want a more durable option than a beach towel you can choose a towel with a rubberized underside like this super affordable one on Amazon for a few dollars. If you plan on doing hot yoga for the extra sweat resistance. If this is the case we recommend using two layers of towels to get the right amount of thickness.
Additionally, you can take a soft or down comforter and lay it on the floor. It's soft, and will give you a comfortable grip, but you may need to buy a yoga belt for extra support!
# 2 Woven Blankets
Get a twin sized, or larger, woven blanket and roll it up from each end (to form a cylinder shape) until it is the length of your mat. A twin sized blanket is usually 66 inches or shorter, so your mat will end up being either 66 inches or longer (depending on the size of the blanket you get). Roll it up as tightly as possible to avoid any gaps between the cylinder and your body.
The blanket can be a bit slippery and there is a good chance that the weave will open up over time causing the blanket to unravel and fray so I wouldn’t recommend keeping it for a set amount of time. You may also chose to use a heavier blanket for more cushioning. Thicker blankets may break easily so test the blanket first by placing it on the floor. If it feels like it is going to rip open, it might not be the best blanket to use.
# 3 Grass Lawns
Yoga on a smooth, green grass lawn is the most luxurious of the yoga mat alternatives. Start with a smooth lawn that has not been cut for a few days. Any thatch in the lawn can be removed by raking it lightly. Make sure there are no sticks or other entanglements you might encounter while doing yoga. You can also place a yoga mat under your grass lawn, if you prefer to have some cushion. Most grass is an organic material and is biodegradable. It is also a very conductive surface to do yoga on.
# 4 The Beach
Surf board or Boogie Board: You may not be able to pack up all your yoga equipment, but there's one item you can grab and get a head start on your yoga moves on the beach. A surfboard and boogie board offer a very firm surface, suitable for any variety of yoga postures. It's also great for working on balance. Yoga on sand: Get your hands on those yoga sand bags and spread out your yoga mat over the sand. Simply kokasana (crow pose) on a soft surface can feel very different. Inversions can help with blood flow and detoxification.
# 5 The Bed And Mattress
You can put a yoga mat on a bed to practice various techniques when you have no yoga mat around. The important thing to remember, of course, is that some parts of the bed may not be completely clean and will be present in some of your poses. Soft mattresses will give you a great feeling to lie on, and hard mattresses won’t be too uncomfortable either. You can arrange the pillows on your bed to create a feel that you are used to at home, so you can start enjoying your pose.
# 6 Carpet
These carpet tack strips are easily bought at any hardware store. You can use them on any carpeted surface, making it one of the more versatile exercise equipment. Tack strips are also easy to carry and move around. Just pull them out of the carpeting and place them in another area. (Image source: Amazon)
Experiment with hold types and see which workout styles work best on this surface. Some of the most effective yoga poses to be done on tack strip are: dog pose, downward dog, plank pose, downward plank, child pose, lotus, corpse pose, headstand and bridge pose. (Image source: Pinterest)
For a carpeted yoga workout, you’ll need a yoga mat to make yourself comfortable. For the lounge, you can use a yoga mat that’s designed for carpet. These can be easily bought at yoga supply stores or online. The top layer of these yoga mats is made of sticky material, which makes them stick to even the roughest carpeting. (Image source: Amazon)
# 7 Wooden Floor
Need a yoga mat that will resist sweat and provide great traction? You got it.
To make your own DIY yoga mat, take six or seven wooden floor boards and place them face down on a flat surface. You can reinforce them with duct tape to ensure they don’t move during your practice.
Use them to provide floor protection, to protect your knees when kneeling, and to easily move around in different yoga poses.
The wood will also provide traction, which is a welcome addition for many people who find themselves slipping on their yoga mat. This is a great alternative for those who don’t have access to a yoga studio.
# 8 Grippy Socks
If you don’t feel the benefits of the yoga mat that you are using at the moment, consider using grippy socks instead. Grippy socks are normally used by climbers and mountaineers, sometimes used by fighters to provide them with better sense of stability, and also used in dance and gymnastics. If you’re a heavy yoga practitioner, you may find them quite useful as well. Pop them on your hands and feel the difference.
You can find grippy socks in a number of online stores, such as Amazon. They are normally used for acrobatic exercises, but they are good enough for doing yoga as well. They will keep you from slipping off your yoga mat, especially in more advanced positions, such as the handstand position and other inversions. The downside is that they are quite a bit more expensive than your standard yoga mat.
Grizzy socks provide a great solution to slippery yoga mat for those people who don’t have them. They also do a great job at a number of acrobatic exercises.
# 9 Bath Mat
Use a bath towel or two.
Use a bathroom rug. Most rugs have holes for washing, so they have similar texture.
Use a yoga mat. They’re just like bathroom rugs. A quick shake, and they’re off to yoga class!
Use a small piece of carpet.
Use an outdoor mat. These aren’t as thick as a bath mat, but it’s a dry surface, and they’re usually available at outdoor, active stores.
Use a folded-up sheet.
Use a towel.
Use a personal exercise mat.
Use a yoga mat for the floor, and a bath towel for the front.
#10 Last But Not The Least, A Big Rock
Rock yoga is a natural fit outdoors, and it gives you the option of using a big rock as your yoga mat. It's similar to rock climbing, but the rock is your friend instead of enemy!
The big advantages of rock yoga are that it's free and you don't need to get special gear or learn any new skills. While you may not get into planning your second vacation to the mountains for yoga practice, rock yoga is a great way to get outdoors and enjoy nature. It also gives you the option of practicing by a lake or river, making it even more desirable.
Rock yoga isn't just for the full sun, salty sea, and salty skin of the beach or boat. Rather, regular rock yoga classes can be done almost anywhere that rocks are!
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