What is the Best mat for Ashtanga yoga practitioner?
The answer to the question depends on a couple of factories. It depends on:
- Surface you practice on – wooden floor, solid rock or carpet
- Temperature and Body heat
- Location – where do you practice yoga
Answers to every question will give you more clarity which yoga mat or yoga rug should you choose for your yoga practice.
When you practice in a room with a hard floor (wood, rock...) you might need some cushioning for your joints. Therefore, choosing a natural material such as a cork yoga mat could be the option for you. The mat will stay on the floor and won’t move during the practice.
On the other hand, most of us have carpets in our house. The best yoga mat in my personal opinion is a natural cotton yoga rug. You can place a yoga rug over the carpet at your home. You will get extra cushioning for your joints and benefit from practicing on the rug, mentioned in the article here.
Temperature in yoga room
As mentioned in Ancient texts, yoga should be practiced in a clean room with ventilated air but not strong wind. Depends in which part of the world you are located, but the temperature plays a major role during the practice.
The temperature outside has an effect on our body temperature and that leads to our sweat factor. If we practice in a warmer room and accumulate more heat with the practice we might start sweating. When our palms and feet get wet, it's way harder to ‘stick‘ to the mat itself. Water is not very friendly with yoga mats from materials like PVC. When this material gets wet – it’s slippery.
Since one of the priorities in Ashtanga practice is to create internal heat – sweating is very good! It’s beneficial for your muscles and body system to clean!
Most Ashtanga practitioners I know are using Cotton Yoga mat for their practice. Some of them use it during whole practice, some of them roll it out for the sitting sequence.
Cotton mat gives you extra cushioning but increases traction and strength in looms by 30%!
So, the more you sweat the more you stick. Instead of sliding on your mat, the yoga rug will hold you whenever necessary.
It is also very handy to maintain. After a couple of Yoga sessions, you simply put the yogarug into the washing machine and make it clean!
Location – Home or Studio?
Everyone lives in different conditions. Some of us practice at home, some of us visit yoga studios. Most of the yoga mats are heavy and bulky. It is good when you don’t need to commute so much or travel longer distances to work or yoga studio.
I personally don’t travel with my yoga mat. I have it at my house and on top of it I use a cotton yoga rug. No matter if I travel to visit my teacher in India or I go to Shala nearby. I love the fact that I fold and carry my cotton yoga rug with me. Especially, that I know it’s always clean and I can always wash it. I make sure I practice on a clean surface.
So, what is the best mat for Ashtanga yoga?
In my personal honest opinion, the best thing you can do is to switch from yoga mat to yoga rug. It has so many benefits!
On top of it, it is the most traditional surface for yogis. It’s been here for centuries and proudly survived until these days. Keep up your practice, take care of it and yourself.