Chances are if you’ve been doing yoga for a while, you’ve come into contact with someone with a yoga towel. A yoga towel serves as an excellent accessory to anyone at any stage in the yoga learning process, and can ensure you practice yoga with a stable and safe foundation, as well as increase the life of your yoga mat.
Yoga towels have a multitude of very practical and useful purposes. The main reason people use yoga towels is because they help improve the grip and traction, which is exceptionally important when doing hot yoga, to wipe away sweat, to add an extra layer of comfort beneath their feet.
While you may be tempted to use an extra standard bath towel to cover your mat, you’ll quickly find that it just doesn’t work. It might look good before you start, but once you start moving around and the towel starts bunching up in all sorts of inconvenient ways, you’ll probably end up balling it up and throwing it at a wall.
The differences in fabric quality, size, price, and absorption level can make a huge difference. Before making a yoga towel purchase, read up to find which one will work best for you.
The Types of Yoga Towels
Thankfully, your search for a yoga towel isn’t going to be a long one. There are two basic types of yoga towels that serve different purposes. The first is the length of your mat and is at least 68 inches long. This is meant to help make your mat last long, improve stability, make the mat more comfortable, and most importantly keep you from slipping around when doing hot yoga. The second kind is the hand towel, which is essentially used to just absorb sweat off your face and body when necessary.
Which is better? Ultimately, since they serve different purposes it depends on what you will be using them for. If you are a hot yoga enthusiast, then hands down the mat length yoga towel is what you don’t only want, it’s what you need. You might even want to have the second type of hand yoga towel handy should you need help. I’ve found that once I start sweating, there’s not much I can do to keep sweating, and a hand towel only provide a brief moment of temporary relief. When I do yoga I like to focus on the stretches, as opposed to my sweat, so I’m not much of a hand yoga towel user, but I have friends that never come to class without one.
The Full Length Towel
The full-length towel is very useful for establishing some traction on the ground when you need it. If you aren’t doing hot yoga, it only provides some extra padding, but if you are doing hot yoga, it makes a world of difference. Most hot yoga studios offer yoga towels to rent, but if you go to classes consistently it might just be worth it to purchase one of your own.
The Hand Towel
The hand yoga towel is essentially just a high quality towel useful for wiping sweat off your face. They usually come in 30 x 20 inches and 25 x 14. Though they’re far from covering your entire mat, they allow you the freedom to wipe sweat off your face without having to rub your face on your mat (I can’t be the only one that does this). This is a great add-on item for people who already have a longer yoga towel, or a mat with great grip.
The main factors that influence a yoga towel purchase are the size, brand, price, and style. Most yoga towels are interchangeable, but there are certain factors that you need to look for to make sure you are getting exactly what you want. These factors include:
1. Does it serve its sticky purpose? The main reason people buy yoga mats is for a sturdy, skidless platform for hot yoga. Most yoga towels make it a point to be exceptionally sticky to your yoga mat, so you generally can’t go wrong on this factor, but do pay attention to any customer reviews that say otherwise.
2. Does it absorb sweat? This is where the quality of the mats starts to differ. Some lower end yoga mats will absorb sweat up to a point, but will turn into a soppy towel at a much faster rate than others. There are towels that are made of higher quality fabric that do a better job at absorbing sweat.
3. Is it comfortable? The higher quality mats also feel more comfortable, so if you want to show your toes some love make sure you look for one that is very comfortable as well. Some yoga mats are made from a high quality microfiber fabric that feels absolutely amazing.
4. Does it fit? You want your yoga towel to cover your yoga mat entirely to avoid any areas that you could end up wearing down or slipping on.
5. Does it look good? This factor is one of the more superficial ones and the only reason it is on here is because there are just so many cool yoga towel designs. Most yoga mats come in a pretty standard array of colors, but they only last six months to a year. The yoga towel world is completely different. Since a yoga towel can last years, buying one in a color or style that you like is a decision you will remember for a while.
Yoga towels aren’t incredibly expensive, and taking into account most yoga studios rent them for $3-$5 a day, purchasing one is pretty reasonable. Most yoga towels are in the $15-$25 price range, but if you’re shooting for a brand name it could run you closer to $50. When buying a yoga towel, keep in mind they can last for years (while extending the lifespan of your yoga mat as well). Ultimately, you want to find something that perfectly intersects the practicalities of what you want and a price that works for you.