Yoga Musings / Yoga Stuff

Slippery Yoga Mats

A lot of people have been pointing out to me that their Manduka Eko mat gets very slippery when they practice Ashtanga or a sweaty Vinyasa Flow class. I’ve had students and readers of this blog say to me that they had high hopes for the Manduka Eko and were disappointed because they found it to be too slippery. Does this mean that the new Manduka mat is a bad mat?

In a word, no. In my seven years or so of practicing yoga, I have never found a closed-cell mat that stayed sticky with an intense amount of sweating. I’m no expert on yoga mat design, but my understanding is that yoga mats can be classified into two categories: Open-Cell Mats and Closed-Cell Mats. Closed-cell mats do not absorb sweat or water. The “cells” that make up the mat are closed, after all. If there’s nowhere for the moisture to go, it’s obviously going to stay right on top of the mat. This usually results in a very slippery mat. The solution? Get a Yogitoes. It will absorb sweat, and you can wash it to keep things sanitary.

But, some people might think, wouldn’t it just be better to get an open-cell mat? Maybe–but probably not. True, some people I know do prefer the open-cell mat because it absorbs sweat and water to some degree. Personally, I find this feature of open-cell mats to be pretty disgusting. An open-cell mat will be more likely, it seems to me, to turn into a breeding ground for bacterial and/or fungal growth, or other nasty things which I’d rather not think about.

So my conclusion is that if you want a good mat, pick it first and foremost for the following sorts of consideration: density, weight, environmental friendliness, cost, size, ease of care and durability. In terms of slippage, the only solution really seems to be a Yogitoes. They are kind of expensive, but totally worth it, in my opinion. If you don’t want to shell out the money for a Yogitoes, use a simple hand towel under your hands, and keep wiping down your mat throughout the practice. (I’ve actually taken to doing this lately since I don’t sweat quite enough to keep my Yogitoes moist and sticky.) When it comes down to it, there is no “perfect” yoga mat out there, and any one you buy will have its pros and cons. For me, the Manduka Eko is still the best.

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20 thoughts on “Slippery Yoga Mats

  1. I’ve been using the eKo for about three weeks now. When I first got it, it was great — no slippage at all. But over the last couple of weeks, it’s getting more and more slippery. I wash it down every day with a wet towel as recommended, but I’m going to try a vinegar wash to see if that will restore its original cling.

  2. A followup to my last post: After weeks of frustration, I finally figured out the problem I was having with the Eko mat. Due to its construction, the mat seems to wick moisture into the inner layer. I had been following the company’s instructions to wipe the mat with a damp cloth and then leaving it to dry while spread out on the floor. The mat, however, does not dry at all well like this! Instead the moisture just seems to build up, becoming very slippery (and slimy, of course). I now hang it up to dry, making sure the air can circulate freely. This has restored most of the mat’s grip. Manduka really should have this information on their site — I’ve only ever used single-layer mats, which don’t have this issue. They’re quite good about responding to emails, however. On the other hand, I had to figure this out for myself. Oh well, it’s all part of the experience. It’s a great mat otherwise, in terms of stability, especially for balancing.

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