How you can stop your new yoga mat from being slippery

Buying your first yoga mat can be an exciting step. Unfortunately yoga mats are usually coated with a slippery film when you first buy them. If you find yourself sliding you might think you have bought the wrong mat.

hands on yoga mat

The best way to break in a new yoga mat is to practice on it

Fortunately there is a solution. Like many questions in the yoga world, practice is the best solution. The more you practice on your new yoga mat the more you will wear away the slippery film. If your mat is double sided I suggest you choose a side to break in, marking the other side. This way you know which way is up, otherwise it will take twice as long. The more you practice, the quicker your mat will build up traction. When I buy new mats for my classes I usually break them in to save my students from sliding. It usually takes 1-2 weeks of daily practice to break a mat in so if you are practicing less often it may take longer.

What to do if it’s really slippery or if you want to speed the process up:

If your mat is really slippery it is a good idea to wash it. If it is a regular sticky yoga mat then you can just put it in the washing machine, no spin. Yes really! I have done this with lots of mats. Once washed, hang on a door to air and dry and make sure it is fully dry before using. This will wash some of the slipperiness off and you can then continue practicing on it to get rid of any residue.

Some of the more specialised mats are not meant to be put in the washing machine, for example my own mat by Planet Sadhana is not meant to be machine washed. Contact your mat manufacturer if in doubt. To wash my mat, I use an Eco friendly anti bacterial surface cleaner and a sponge then rinse off in the shower.

At this point if you haven’t got your own mat already, you will be wondering which mat I recommend. That’s a very personalised question, I don’t think there is one mat that is great for everyone but I will write a post soon about which yoga mats I do recommend and why.

What to do if you are still sliding on your yoga mat:

If you are still sliding after following the above protocol you either have a mat that is unsuitable or you are sliding due to sweaty palms. As ashtanga yoga is dynamic, it is normal to sweat during practice. Unlike hot yoga which is done in a hot room, this is an internal heat built up from the practice itself.

No yoga mat is going to stop you sliding if you are sweating so yogis use two main solutions a yoga towel or a Mysore rug. This is put over the top of your yoga mat, usually after the standing sequence. My preference is for a yoga towel and I use one by Manduka but there are many products on the market.

It is great to have your own mat and I wish you and your yoga mat all the best on your journey together.

Do you have your own yoga mat? Was it slippery at first and if so how did you overcome it? Do you use a yoga towel or rug?

About Helen Aldred

Helen Aldred practices and teaches ashtanga yoga in Liverpool. She loves to share and discuss yoga, as well as health and wellbeing. Follow her on twitter and join Ashtanga yoga Liverpool’s Facebook community .

Comments

  1. I have the same mat as you, but despite washing and literally scrubbing it, using it daily for two years, it’s still slippy in the heat of AYL, I’m often nearly doing the splits by the time I get to the Prasarita sequence, so I’ve given up and use a towel mat over the top from the beginning.

    At home it’s not quite so bad, but I still use the towel on top once I get to seated, essential for backbends too, otherwise my hands slide away.

  2. “How you can stop your new yoga from being slippery”

    That’s funny………from you title tpyo I though you were going to tell us how to not lose momentum to practice (i.e. how to make a habit sticky)
    My practice has become slippy 🙁 I’ve had to focus exercise time where I can interact with the kids, so now its Judo.

    For my mat (manduka think black one) it said scrub sea salt I think but I never had to.
    In fact if it had a slippy section 1ft long at JUST the right point I could jump through instead of dragging

  3. Hi Kevin,

    Yes a Planet Sadhana mat doesn’t really absorb water or sweat so will get slippery when wet. That’s when you can use your towel. In my experience some people will find a planet Sadhana mat slippery anyway, especially beginners. For me however it is perfect as I don’t sweat to much, even at AYL. This is why I say there is no perfect mat for everybody. This post is more about the initial breaking in of a new mat but I will write another post about different mats in the future…

    • I thought it would get better with use, but it never seemed to. I even tried turning it over and having the dots up, but made no difference. It has been better for my wrists though.

  4. I washed my older ones with witch hazel cleaner I did put a bit to much cleaner on bit bubbly then rinse off then I put on the line good job my neighbour knows I do yoga or she would of wondered why I didn’t have rugs on line instead of rubber!!
    My newer one or used most now has worn on oneside

  5. Hello Helen, I really like your interactive website. Thank you, makes me want to get on an alter mine. Grace

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