When I first started my yoga practice at home, I had no idea yoga towels were a thing. It wasn’t until I joined a class that I realised I needed one.
My home practice involved doing yoga videos on Youtube. My favourite online yoga teacher is Adriene Mishler. I really appreciate her calmness along with her sense of fun. If you are thinking of starting your yoga practice at home I thoroughly recommend you check out Adriene’s channel. Home workouts are a great way to get fit on a budget.
If you have a yoga mat, then yoga towels aren’t really necessary for home yoga unless you find yourself getting sweaty. I didn’t find that to be the case with Adriene’s videos because although her classes will make your heart rate go up, they don’t tend to make you get sweaty so you won’t slide about on account of extra moisture.
Before I go on and explain how yoga towels differ from regular cotton towels let’s track back a bit and I’ll explain what a yoga towel actually is.
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What is a yoga mat towel?
A yoga mat towel is made specially to fit on top of your yoga mat. It’s often made of a quick-drying and absorbent material called microfibre and it most commonly has a non-slip underside so it doesn’t bunch up and slip around.
Yoga towels are generally cheaper than yoga mats, and when you put them on top of a mat they help to make your mat last longer, keep it clean and make your yoga practice a more comfortable experience.
Why use a yoga towel?
What is the purpose of a yoga towel? Yoga towels have several significant benefits.
- They absorb sweat. Yoga can be sweaty! Especially a hot yoga class where it is humid everywhere. You don’t want to be sliding around on your own sweat because you will lose your confidence holding a pose and you could even injure yourself.
- They keep your yoga mat clean and stop you from slipping on it. Yoga mats are hard to wash and they take a long time to dry. Having a yoga towel to protect your mat means you only have to wash your towel. It’s worth knowing too that yoga towels are very easy to clean. Add them to your normal wash and they will air-dry very quickly.
- They protect you from an unclean shared yoga mat. Public yoga mats on loan from a yoga studio are not necessarily sanitary. Despite the studio protocols of always cleaning your mat after use, bugs can still get transmitted. You could pick up nasty things like warts, athlete’s foot and even a virus if you don’t protect yourself with your own yoga towel.
- They can make your yoga mat last longer. Typically yoga mats are more expensive than towels. If you use a towel over the top of your mat it will very probably last longer.
Yoga towel vs regular towel
Yoga towels have several unique attributes that make them different from cotton towels and therefore more suitable for use with a yoga mat.
- Yoga towels are sized so that they fit standard yoga mats. Your towel must cover the whole mat in order to reap the benefits of using one. If bits of the mat are uncovered you will not get complete protection.
- Yoga towels have a non-slip underside. The more moisture present the more your towel will stick to the mat. It is a great idea to spray the towel with water before you start your practice for the best performance.
- Yoga towels sometimes have corner pockets. Some yoga towels have pockets on the corners to hold them in place.
- Yoga towels are super absorbent. That’s not to say that cotton towels are not, but yoga towels are often made from microfibre which can retain a lot more moisture than ordinary towels.
- Yoga towels are lightweight and dry quickly. The microfibre material that yoga towels are made from is much lighter and dries more quickly than cotton.
When to use a yoga towel instead of a regular cotton towel
Of course, you can use a regular towel for a yoga class too. It is very useful to have one to mop yourself down when things heat up.
Regular towels are also very useful to have for extra cushioning during poses where you don’t want to put pressure in certain places such as knees and elbows. They help to bring the earth closer to you which at times is very helpful especially when you are working on your flexibility.
However, there are several situations when a regular cotton towel just won’t do!
- When you are taking a hot yoga class. You are bound to sweat a lot in a hot yoga class and if you don’t have a yoga towel over the top of the mat you will be uncomfortable, slide about on your mat, and you very probably won’t enjoy your class very much.
- When you need extra cushioning. Yoga towels can give you more cushioning than you would normally get with a bare yoga mat.
- When you are using a shared mat. Yoga towels are a must in this case.
- When you don’t have a yoga mat. Yes, you could use your yoga towel on its own without a mat, but it is better paired with a mat.
If you are using a cotton towel for yoga it’s important to wash it regularly and dry it quickly without it getting mildewy and musty. If you don’t have a tumble dryer to hand check out this post for tips on drying your towel inside super-quickly.