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Listen, we know you and your yoga mat have been through a lot together (All that sweat! All those flows!), but if it’s looking less than stellar these days, it might be time for an upgrade. Whether you’re wanting to change up your practice or invest in a more sustainable foundation for your flow, a yoga rug may be the right choice for you. Beautiful, versatile, and, most importantly, functional, yoga rugs are much more than an accessory in your at-home practice space. They can also challenge you to engage your muscles in new ways and allow you to slide in certain poses with ease. But that’s not all. Here’s what you need to know about yoga rugs before you press purchase.
What’s the difference between a yoga mat and a yoga rug?
The key difference between a yoga mat and a yoga rug is its material. Yoga rugs are traditionally woven from cotton, while mats are usually made of rubber (although these days you will find mats made from other sustainable materials, like cork or juke). Because of its unique construction, yoga rugs feel, look, and grip differently than a traditional yoga mat.
For some yogis, a practice on a yoga rug is a totally different experience. For Monika Majvitorová and Martin Jurcisin, the owners of a yoga rug company, Leela Yoga Rugs, this is a common conversation with their customers. Many of their customers tell them it feels like starting a practice for the first time after switching from a mat to a rug, mainly due to the lack of grip on a yoga rug. Read on to learn more about the grip factor and other ways yoga rugs differ from traditional yoga mats:
Yoga rugs are more sustainable than most mats.
Traditional yoga mats (especially older ones) are often made with polyvinyl chloride (PVC), a toxic plastic that ends up in oceans and landfills. Yoga rugs are constructed from sustainable, woven materials—mostly organic cotton certified by the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS)—and some are even hand-woven and plant-dyed.
They absorb your sweat.
Majvitorová and Jurcisin launched their yoga rug company, Leela Yoga Rugs, after spending time practicing yoga in India. In the hot temperature, Majvitorová and Jurcisin slid all over their rubber yoga mats. Yoga rugs offered a solution. Due to their cotton material, yoga rugs absorb your sweat while you practice, creating natural traction, says Jurcisin—which allows you to flow without interruption.
You can wash yoga rugs.
Scrubbing all the dirt and sweat off of your traditional yoga mat can be tricky (and time-consuming). Since yoga rugs are made of woven materials, you can wash them—either by hand or in your washing machine. Easy peasy.
See also: How to Clean Your Yoga Mat
They don’t have a strong grip.
If you like the sticky grip offered by your yoga mat, a yoga rug may not be the best option for your practice. However, for Majvitorová and Jurcisin, losing the sticky grip of a traditional yoga mat completely transformed their practices—in a positive way. Instead of relying on the stickiness of the mat to hold poses, they had to rely on the strength of their own muscles. The result? Poses that once seemed easy were a bit more challenging. For this reason, they say you’ll often find advanced yogis gravitating toward rugs.
Yoga rugs may be better for your skin.
Since they’re not made with chemicals or plastics, yoga rugs can often be better for your skin, especially if you’re someone who spends a lot of time laying on your mat in restorative or Yin yoga poses. Some yoga rugs, like the Double Annatto Seed Ayurvedic Yoga Mat from Bennd, are designed specifically for yogis looking to protect their skin.
4 yoga rugs to check out
Are you ready to make the jump from your sticky mat to a yoga rug? Whether you’re looking for a yoga rug that feels a bit more like a traditional mat, or you’re searching for a more affordable option, here are a four yoga rugs we recommend:
This beautiful, plant-dyed yoga rug is perfect for those looking for a rug that retains some of the characteristics of a traditional yoga mat. With its six-ply cotton woven structure, Oko Living’s version offers some grip—and is extra supportive. Even better? It’s made with 20 skin-soothing herbs, so your 20-minute Savasana won’t lead to any unwanted breakouts on your back. $174
Can a yoga rug actually support your digestive health? That’s the promise behind Bennd’s Harda yoga rug. An exclusive formula of 22 different Ayurvedic medicines is woven into the cotton, promoting better digestion, sharper focus, increased memory retention, and anti-inflammation. It also comes with a travel bag and an all-natural soap to keep it clean and fresh. $170
If you’re looking for a more affordable yoga rug to use in tandem with your mat, this option from Jade Yoga may be for you. The company recommends that you use their product on top of your traditional yoga mat when practicing on harder surfaces in order to prevent slipping. Handwoven by artisans in India, Jade Yoga’s rug is made with all-natural vegetable dyes to give it a fun and vibrant color. $79.95
This extra-large yoga rug is great if you’re looking to have a bit more space during your practice. But even though it’s slightly bigger than traditional mats and other rugs, it’s also light and foldable, which makes it the perfect travel companion. Plus, its sweat-absorbent and antibacterial organic cotton will create a strong grip—without toxic plastics. $94.48
See also: The 7 Best Yoga Mats of 2021
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