There are plenty of great things about hot yoga: It can increase your flexibility, help you unwind from a stressful day, and definitely give you a great sweat! But all that sweat creates an interesting challenge. It can be hard to maintain proper alignment in your downward facing dog (or any pose!) when your hands and feet are slipping all over the mat. Sometimes your mat gets so slick, you completely wipe out in a pose that wouldn’t challenge you in an unheated yoga class.
But don’t let that discourage you from pursing your hot yoga practice. Learn how to stop slipping by following these pro tips from Amy Apgar, teaching manager and instructor at Y7 Studio, which specializes in hot yoga. Then, you can get your sweaty asanas on with no problem.
1. Choose a yoga mat with grip
Not all yoga mats are created equal. The best yoga mat for hot yoga should feel grippy: “Look for a more rubbery material with a little bit of texture,” Apgar says. You may also want a mat that absorbs sweat and is antimicrobial to prevent the growth of stinky bacteria, like this one from Youphoria Yoga.
2. Add a yoga towel
You may have seen other yogis in a hot yoga class put a towel on top of their mats. But it’s probably not just any old towel — it really makes a difference if you use a spare bathroom towel or a yoga towel designed specifically for the practice.
“I always practice hot yoga with a Yogitoes skidless towel,” Apgar says. “It sits in place nicely on top of my mat and absorbs large amounts of sweat much better than a mat can. I love it because I can still properly engage my muscles and find grounding like I would on my mat, without worrying about sliding in a sweat puddle and wiping out.”
3. Spray down your yoga towel
Even if you place a yoga towel on top of your mat, you might find that you still slip around at first. But there’s an easy fix for that! Simply dampen the towel before class.
“Place the yoga towel on your mat, then spray the towel with water, or even drip water from your water bottle,” Apgar says. “This allows you to find grip right away before you start to sweat.”
4. Have a hand towel
When the sweat really starts to flow, it can be helpful to wipe it off from time to time. “It’s always nice to have a small sweat towel handy to handle any extra-drippy moments,” Apgar says. This can be especially helpful for some moves in particular, like when you’re balancing on your arms. Try wiping off your arms and legs before going into crow pose and see how much easier it gets!
5. Use your muscles
The way you place your hands and feet can make a big difference between sliding around in asanas and sticking them. “In any posture in which your hands are load-bearing, gripping with your fingertips rather than just pressing through your palms will not only relieve slippage, but also protect your wrists and engage more muscles,” Apgar says. “Similarly, more activation in your legs should help you find grounding and stability.” So engage those quads and hamstrings!
6. Move mindfully
Slowing down just a little bit and moving with intention and awareness can also help prevent slippage, Apgar says. Purposefully placing your hand or foot down onto the mat as you transition into the next move can give you more stability than just rushing into it.
7. Properly store your mat
Never let a sweat-drenched yoga mat dry in the sun. “Leaving your mat in sunlight can wear off the nonslip properties,” Apgar explains. Instead, wipe your mat down right after class and then lay it on something like a clothing rack where it can be opened up all the way. Once it’s dry, roll it up and store it out of the sun until next class.