Perhaps one of the biggest complaints I hear from my students is that they are slipping (sometimes flying) off their mats because of sweaty palms and/or bodily perspiration that has accumulated on the mat. This is especially problematic in the summer, and also for certain styles of yoga like hot yoga or Bikram yoga. Fortunately, there is a product out there that pretty much solves this problem: SKIDLESS by Yogitoes.
The SKIDLESS is made from a towel-like material that absorbs sweat and creates a decently sticky surface so that you can sweat all over the place without the risk of slipping or falling down. Believe me, this is a serious and legitimate risk for some people. I’ve seen quite a few yogis wipe out on their mats because of a slippery surface, and even had one student in class do a rather unpleasant face-plant into the mat because he suddenly lost hold of his Down-Dog. Quite a few of my students, actually, report becoming utterly frustrated because they have to readjust their Down-Dog every 5 to 10 seconds because their hands and feet are sliding away. So, in other words, depending on how much you sweat, and whether or not you suffer from super-sweaty palms, the SKIDLESS may not be just a convenience, but a necessity if you want to practice yoga at all.
How does it work? The towel-like SKIDLESS mat absorbs sweat and, as it does so, turns into a safe and predictable surface on which to practice yoga. The traction that you get from the SKIDLESS is further supported on the backside by tiny dots of silicone that help it stick firmly to your yoga mat (or to the floor, if you practice with the SKIDLESS directly on the floor).
The standard SKIDLESS is a bit pricey — I’ve seen prices anywhere from $43 to $65. Quite a few of my students were a bit taken aback when I told them the price of the SKIDLESS, but they are used to paying $15 for a yoga mat, so a yoga mat accessory that costs four times as much seemed too expensive for them. Fortunately, if you don’t want to spend so much money, Yogitoes does make a smaller hand-size SKIDLESS that is good enough for people who just have the sweaty palms problem. You can buy the SKIDLESS in just about any yoga studio, and also through the internet from yogadirect.com, or directly from Yogitoes. The mat comes in, I think, around 10 different color combinations, so you can customize your SKIDLESS to fit your own look.
Despite all of its benefits, SKIDLESS clearly isn’t for everyone. I’ve found that if I am doing a gentle, slower practice where I don’t sweat at all, I really have no need for putting the SKIDLESS down on the mat, and, in fact, I found that having it there can be bothersome. Also, I’ve found two potential problems with the SKIDLESS that can make it difficult to use in practice. First, I have the problem of kicking or moving the SKIDLESS out of place, causing it to become all bunched up and uneven on my mat. Sometimes, I have to stop as many at 10 times during the practice to readjust the SKIDLESS, which is a hassle and disruptive to the flow. This might just be a result of the peculiarities of my own practice, but I’ve heard a similar complaint from some other yogis as well. Maybe this is just a small price you have to pay for the benefit of having a non-slippery surface on which to practice yoga.
Second, it takes a lot for me to really sweat, and if I’m not dripping sweat everywhere, the SKIDLESS just doesn’t get wet enough in order for me to get any really good traction on it. I actually have the opposite problem of the sweaty palm/feet people, and I know other people have this problem too, which can make the SKIDLESS kind of superfluous, at least for the first 30 minutes or so of practice. I know many people don’t actually put down their SKIDLESS until they have sufficient sweat going because, like me, they find that a dry SKIDLESS does not provide enough traction. One creative way to deal with this is to turn the SKIDLESS over so that the sticky dots are facing up. Others like to sprinkle a little water on the SKIDLESS before starting the practice to wet it.
The SKIDLESS is a practically must-have if you do any form of vigorous yoga, such as vinyasa flow, astanga, Bikram, etc. Personally, I don’t sweat all that much when I’m on the mat, even on a hot summer day or in a Bikram class, so I’m okay with just toweling off my yoga mat a few times during the practice. Put if you are one of those people who sweats buckets, or if you are one of those people who suffer from perpetually sweaty palms and/or feet, then you really ought to consider getting a SKIDLESS mat.