6 Reasons Why Science Says It Is Important To Have A Yoga Mat Towel

When people begin to practice yoga, they don’t necessarily know about everything that it entails. There is more to know than just a few poses and breathing techniques. In fact, there are many accessories that you should have when you embark on a yoga journey and yoga mat towel is one of them.

There are a few good reasons why it is beneficial to have a yoga mat towel. It can provide a barrier between a dirty and potentially infected yoga mat and your skin, keep you dry, prevent you from sliding, protect your yoga mat, and make you a little bit more comfortable while you do yoga.

If you are beginning your yoga practice or are curious about why you need a yoga mat towel, continue reading. You might learn helpful information that will change the way you see your yoga accessories.

What Is a Yoga Mat Towel?

Yoga design Lab yoga towel

Before learning why it’s so good to have a yoga mat towel, it helps to know what a yoga mat towel is. This is a piece of cloth that is very absorbent. Generally, these towels are made of microfiber material that is known for their ability to absorb moisture.

A yoga towel like this might be more important for hot yoga because you will sweat more during this practice. A yoga towel is designed to absorb several times more sweat than its actual weight, and you can use it repeatedly during the same practice.

Yogis might think that this is unnecessary. They might think that the yoga mat itself is enough. However, a yoga mat can’t always provide you with the stability you need while practicing. Sometimes, a yoga towel is what you need to stop yourself from slipping, especially after you have been sweating a lot.

Why Not Just Use a Regular Towel?

You might think that you can use a regular cotton towel for this purpose. The truth is that a cotton towel can be helpful, but it is not as good as a microfiber towel. Microfiber towels are much more absorbent than cotton. This can be very good for people who practice hot yoga or who just tend to sweat profusely no matter what.

You might be surprised at how much you will sweat while doing yoga. In many cases, especially if you are doing hot yoga, you will sweat to the point that their regular cotton towel is completely drenched midway into the practice. At that point, there will be very little use for the towel. A yoga mat towel is designed to be able to absorb all of that sweat without disturbing the practice.

Microfiber material also dries very quickly. This means that you will be able to practice yoga on a daily basis and rinse it, and you can still expect it to be dry for your next yoga session.

Manduka Yoga Mat Towel

In addition, compared to a regular cotton towel, a yoga mat towel will be better at staying in the same space. Some of these towels have specific dots that enable them to stay still, such as corner pockets that can attach to your mat, rubberized bases that will weigh the towel down, or silicone nubs at the bottom.

Essentially, the towel will attach itself to your mat, and it won’t bunch up the same way you can expect a cotton towel to do. You won’t have to adjust it nearly as much, which can get very irritating after doing it a few times within the same session.

Since the cotton towel won’t absorb sweat as well and will likely become soaked quickly, it probably won’t even prevent you from slipping very effectively. Most likely, it’s just going to get into the way of your yoga practice and distract you from what you’re trying to do.

Additionally, an ordinary cotton towel is usually not going to be the right size for your yoga mat. In contrast, microfiber hot yoga mat towels are designed for this exact purpose. As such, they will cover your yoga mat from end to end. Of course, you should check the specific size of the yoga towel before you purchase it, in case your yoga mat is a different size than the standard mat.

Regular cotton towels are a little bit softer than yoga mat towels, although mat towels will feel soft underneath your feet and hands. While you might think that softer is better, the truth is that the mat towels are more durable and will likely last you out longer, particularly if you are doing very vigorous forms of yoga. They will also last longer in heated rooms.

Yoga Mat Towel Maintenance

Yoga towels are also reasonably low maintenance since you can just quickly wash them in your machine. It would be best if you washed them in cold settings to prevent them from shrinking. Of course, you should wash them with colors to prevent the ruining of any of your clothes.

It’s a good idea to wash or, at the minimum, rinse your yoga towel after each usage in order to prevent the build-up of bad odor or bacteria. If nothing else, at least air dry it and then wash it as soon as you can.

There are many reasons why science says that you should have a yoga mat towel for your practice. There are many significant benefits to having one.

Hygiene

Yoga mats are much dirtier than you probably know. They are a breeding ground for all sorts of bacteria and insects. Your yoga mat might look clean to you, but when you do yoga, you sweat a lot, as well as shed a lot of dead skin cells. Considering how hot it is in many yoga studios, these mats can really function as a petri dish for all of these potential pathogens.

In fact, according to Dr. Gray E. Cohen, a podiatrist who was interviewed on the New York Times, the rising popularity of yoga has coincided with a rise in the occurrence of athlete’s foot.

Yoga mats can also be very strong incubators for a variety of skin infections. Additionally, these dirty yoga mats can contain ringworm or even very serious infections such as MRSA or staph.

If you have a yoga towel, you can protect yourself from all of these germs that could potentially get you sick. It acts as a barrier between the dirty mat and your skin. Because the yoga towel is easily portable, it sometimes gives you a chance to go to a yoga class without fear of being infected. Sometimes it isn’t possible to take your own yoga mat to class, especially if you have to take crowded public transportation.

As long as you can make sure to have your yoga towel with you, you will be able to go to yoga class and not have to cringe about the possibility of using a communal mat.

In addition, if you are interested in keeping your yoga mat clean, this will help you do it. Because the towel is absorbing all of your sweat instead of the mat, the mat won’t get as dirty. 

It’s also good to remember that it is much easier to clean a yoga mat towel than it is to clean the yoga mat. You can easily just toss your towel into the washing machine, and it can do all the work for you.

Yoga Mat Towel Keeps You Dry

Yoga mat towels are incredibly absorbent, as previously mentioned. They are much more absorbent than a regular cotton towel, which makes them much better for any type of yoga where you are going to be sweating a lot. Even if you lose gallons of water in a Hot Yoga class, a good yoga mat towel will keep you dry since it will wick up a lot of the sweat.

Even though you can do yoga while you are drenched in your own sweat, it can be very distracting and uncomfortable. This is why it is good to have a towel that very efficiently absorbs sweat. This way, you can just focus on yoga and enjoy the practice as much as possible without having to focus too much on how uncomfortable you are.

Prevents You from Sliding

Yoga mats are often designed to be pretty sticky, preventing people from slipping while doing yoga. However, this is not necessarily true with the lower-quality and older yoga mats. In a heated yoga class, you will likely sweat no matter what, but having a good yoga mat towel can make it so that you are not slipping and sliding around.

Even if you are not doing heated yoga, you might find that you are slipping a lot on your mat if it is not of the highest quality.

In any case, it can be counterproductive to your yoga practice if you are dealing with a slippery mat and no towel. If you are sweating a lot, it can get to the point where you focus more on keeping yourself from falling down than the yoga practice itself. This can make it very difficult to make any progress with your yoga.

Comfort

Some people might like to use yoga mat towels because they provide extra softness and comfort. This is a matter of personal preference.

However, comfort on a fundamental level can be essential in yoga. Mindfulness is vital within yoga, and it is hard to concentrate on poses or to get into the appropriate state of mind if you are uncomfortable or in pain.

Some yogis, even on a yoga mat, will feel the discomfort of their bones digging into the ground. These yogis might prefer to have the added softness of a yoga mat towel under their knees, hands, and feet.

Protects Your Yoga Mat

A lot of the time, your yoga mat can be a big investment. If you spend a great deal of money on it, you probably want it to last as long as possible. If you use a yoga mat towel, you can protect your mat from constant wear and tear. This is particularly applicable if you are someone who does yoga very frequently.

Especially if you are doing very active forms of yoga, you can end up doing some considerable damage to your mat if you are in direct contact with it.

If you are doing your yoga directly on the towel instead, you will benefit from the softness that both the towel and the mat provide, but you will be less likely to create tears and holes in the mat due to the friction of your skin constantly rubbing up against it.

When you are both sweating constantly and eroding away at your yoga mat, this will likely not be good for the mat in the long run.

Athletic Purposes

If you are a very athletic person, you might be happy to know that a yoga mat towel is great for all sorts of athletic purposes. You not only use them for yoga, but also when you go to the gym. You can use them while you are backpacking, camping, cycling, playing golf, or swimming. They are very good for cooling you off after exercise.

Do You Need a Yoga Mat Towel?

At the end of the day, whether or not you decide to use one of these towels while you’re doing yoga is entirely up to you. It also depends on quite a bit on the type of yoga you are practicing.

Gaiam Yoga Towel

While a yoga mat towel is always a good accessory to have, if you are exclusively interested in non-heated gentle yoga, you may not necessarily need a towel. If you know that sweating isn’t going to be much of an issue, you might actually decide that it’s better not to have a towel.

These towels typically need at least a little bit of dampness to really stick to the surface of your yoga mat, so if there is no moisture at all, the towel might get in the way more than anything.

In addition, gentle yoga classes typically don’t require a lot of downward-facing dog positions or standing positions, so you don’t really need a surface with traction to prevent you from sliding around.

However, this doesn’t mean you will not want to have a towel in a gentle yoga class. Some yogis sweat more than others, and some will tend to sweat even in a room that is not heated. Also, if you have an older yoga mat or a mat of lower quality, it won’t give you enough traction to prevent you from sliding, even during the rare occurrences where you might need it.

Overall, a yoga mat towel can be extremely useful to anyone who is practicing yoga. However, you might not necessarily need to use it all of the time. It’s always good to keep in mind precisely what your needs are when deciding whether or not this type of accessory is for you.

Conclusion

There are many benefits to having a yoga mat towel. Whether or not you get one is entirely your choice, but it is very likely the more hygienic option and the one that will allow you to focus on your yoga practice and be the best you can be at that activity.

If you try yoga with an appropriate yoga towel, you will likely see that the experience is much better and comfortable than it was without this fantastic accessory. After all, it will allow you to be more comfortable and focus on the practice, and it is likely healthier as well.

Yogigo Newsletter

Receive our latest news directly to your inbox.

Free shipping within the EU is available for over 50 €. Some exceptions apply.