Do You Need A Mat For Yoga?

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Woman placing a yoga mat - Do You Need one For Yoga?

Like many other things in life, some accessories for certain activities are necessary, while others are simply fashionable or for show.

The short answer is, yes, you do need a yoga mat for yoga. Yoga mats provide safety and comfort for the user in a variety of ways.

Without the mat, injury is likely. Wanting to start your yoga practice as soon as possible is understandable, but your health and safety are more important. 

Luckily, some alternatives to yoga mats are available short term. Keep reading to find out the importance of a proper yoga mat and explore your other options. 


Why is a Yoga Mat Necessary?

Yoga mats are necessary for yoga because of their traction and cushioning. Yoga, as a practice, usually entails a lot of poses that push the body to its limit. As a result, a person who practices yoga often does extremely difficult things. 

A yoga mat is helpful to make things easier on the body while doing these things. It makes the positions more comfortable by cushioning the body at different points of contact. It also helps to prevent slipping when in these positions. 

Both the cushioning and traction of a yoga mat help to prevent injury and make things more comfortable for the practitioner.  


Can You Use a Towel as a Yoga Mat?

Yes, you can use a towel as a yoga mat. While there are better alternatives to a yoga mat, towels are an option. Towels can still provide the traction that is helpful for a yoga practice. However, it does not provide as adequate cushioning as a yoga mat would. 

If you are going to use a towel in place of a yoga mat, be sure that it is a high-quality, thick towel. The higher the quality of the towel, the better it will be in place of a yoga mat. 

It will be less likely to rip or slide during your practice. It will also provide more cushioning than a cheaper towel. 


Can You Do Yoga on a Blanket?

You can also do yoga on a blanket. Again, it is not adequate in place of a yoga mat due to the lack of traction and cushioning, but it will work. Unlike a towel which will usually have more traction, your usual blanket will not. 

As a result, choosing a regular blanket to use for your yoga practice needs to be as similar to a yoga mat as possible. In addition, it needs to be thick and comfortable to provide cushioning.

It also needs to be non-slip or have a texture that grips the floor better. Both the cushioning and security of a yoga mat alternative are important to avoid injury. 


Why are Mexican Blankets used in Yoga?

Mexican blankets are used in yoga because they are a good balance of the different things needed for safe yoga practice. Mexican blankets are soft enough to provide cushioning but firm enough to prevent slipping. 

Mexican blankets are also very easy to store. All of these things make them ideal for yoga practice. These blankets became a popular choice for yoga practice in the 1970s when B.K.S. Iyengar, the founder of Iyengar yoga, popularized them. 

Cotton blankets were already being used in traditional yoga practices at this time. So Iyengar sought to find a cheaper source for these blankets and eventually found what he was looking for in Mexico, buying them in bulk to give to his students.

This popularized the use of Mexican blankets in yoga and why they are still used today by practitioners around the world. 


What’s the Difference Between a Yoga Blanket and a Regular Blanket?

The difference between a yoga blanket and a regular blanket is a few things, including thickness and size. Yoga blankets are designed to be perfect for yoga specifically. 

These blankets are made to be the perfect thickness to protect your body best and allow for comfortability: neither too thin nor too thick. They are also designed to be the perfect material, length, and width to make it easier to develop your practice. 

While regular blankets can be a good choice for yoga in the short term, they are not made for it. In addition, regular blankets have different textures and styles, making them more unsafe to use. You are better off using a yoga blanket for safety and ease. 


Final Thoughts on Do You Need A Mat For Yoga

There are several options for a yoga practitioner when it comes to a yoga mat. Blankets and towels are both fine options, but they are not the best. When it comes to yoga, you must follow all of the steps to have a productive practice.

Those steps include proper tools, one of those tools being a mat that is right for you. When exploring your options, be sure to consider thickness, grip, and size. 

All of these factors go into the health and safety of a yoga student while practicing, without which it would not be possible.