Those new to yoga may be wondering why some people prefer to use a yoga mat towel instead of just buying a thick mat that would provide the level of cushion that they need. The simple answer to this is that yoga mat towels are not used exclusively for adding cushion. This yoga accessory can also be used for additional grip, surface slip-resistance, and can be folded up to be used for weight support and elevation. Here are some factors and tips to keep in mind if you want to get the perfect yoga mat towel.
As we said, adding cushion is not the only purpose of a yoga mat towel. But a lot of people DO buy mat towels to make their yoga practice more comfortable especially if they are using a thin mat. This is true especially for those who use travel yoga mats (which tend to be quite thin to make them more portable) and need extra cushion, but don't want the hassle of travelling with a thick yoga mat. There is no standard measurement of thickness for yoga mat towels, and it's entirely up to you to choose according to the level of cushion you think you need.
Although cotton is known for its capacity to absorb sweat, but most yoga mat towel varieties are made of microfiber, which are more effective in terms of absorbing sweat and keeping your yoga mat dry. It's important to consider the capacity of a yoga mat towel to absorb sweat because it not only keeps your mat clean and dry; it also prevents the risk of slipping especially when you do fast-paced styles of yoga. Using a sweat-absorbent yoga mat towel will also prevent microbial growth and stench on your yoga mat.
Layering a yoga mat towel over a yoga mat is helpful for those who tend to sweat a lot and don't have time to air out the mat after a sweaty and intensive yoga session. Using a yoga mat towel is also recommended for those who are into Hot Yoga or Bikram Yoga, which involves doing practicing yoga and doing poses in a heated room.
No matter how perfect the material used in making the yoga mat towel, it still won't be of much use if it's too small to cover your yoga mat or too wide that you'll have loose towel fabric hanging by the sides of your mat. To make sure you get the perfectly sized yoga mat towel, first know the measurements of the yoga mat you intend to use it on. Though there is no single standard for size, most yoga mat towels measure 24 x 72 inches or 24 x 68 inches.
Slip Resistance or Grip
Among the main purposes of a yoga mat towel is to add traction to your footing and extra grip on the mat when you transition between poses. This is why you'll see almost all yoga mat towels being advertised as non-skid or "skidless." The perfect yoga mat towel should be able to cling perfectly to the surface of your yoga mat so that it won't move or slip against the surface when you are doing poses. This property of yoga mat towels is essential for every student and yoga practitioner, most especially those who do fast-paced styles of yoga like Ashtanga or Power Yoga. If your feet tend to slip while it's on a still-dry towel, it's advisable to use a little spray bottle filled with water to let some moisture get absorb and give your towel more traction.
Since your yoga mat towel will be absorbing most of your sweat during workouts, you should also consider getting one that is easy enough to wash and is dryer-friendly. Needless to say, your yoga mat towel should also be durable enough to withstand frequent washing. Plus points if it also has quick-drying properties, because you wouldn't want to carry around a heavy, sweat-soaked yoga mat towel after sessions.
Reusability can also be understood in terms of eco-friendliness, and whether your yoga mat towel is made of biodegradable or recyclable materials. Being environmentally friendly is important to a lot of yogis because respect for life and nature is one of the tenets of the ancient practice of yoga.
You can buy cheap yoga mats that sell for as low as $10. But if you want something tried-and-tested and be assured of quality, you can look through yoga mat reviews to find recommendations for yoga mat towels sold by brands like Gaiam, LuluLemon, or Yogitoes, which sell for around $20-$35. So if you're shopping for yoga mat towels, a safe budget limit would be $30 to $35. This will already get you a high quality yoga mat towel that meets your taste and requirements in terms of cushion, grip, eco-friendliness, etc. But if you want "premium" yoga mat towels offered by higher-end brands, expect to pay around $50 or even more.
Another factor you may want to consider when buying a yoga mat towel is print and design. Yoga mat towels come in different colors and prints for those who are inspired by aesthetic art and work best in an environment of life in color. And with the hundreds of stores and online shopping sites that sell yoga mats and accessories, you won't have a hard time finding that perfect yoga mat towel.