Why do I need to use a cover or towel for my yoga mat?
There is a simple answer for this question. Why do you have bed sheets for your bed? To keep the bed clean and protect it so it can last longer.
The reason for using a yoga towel or yoga rug is the same and there are few more benefits to do so.
1. Yoga towel or yoga rug is easily washable in the washing machine so it will not become stinky if you sweat. Whereas you can't do the same with your yoga mat because it is made of plastic or rubber.
There are many sprays and cleaners for yoga mats but after some time the sweat and dirt might go deeper and it will not be possible to clean anymore.
Therefore, It's great that you can wash your yoga rug on a regular basis and keep it clean all the time!
2. Another important aspect - at least for me is the skin contact with the material of the mat during the practice. I like to have something softer under my hands and legs rather than feeling cold sticky plastic or rubber mat.
What are the best materials for the practice and how they can influence your yoga practice is explained in this blog post.
3.Protection of the mat is crucial, so you don't have to buy a new yoga mat every year or two, when it wears out. If you use the protection on the top, your mat will not become ugly and worn out, it will stay brand new maybe for lifetime!
This is how your yoga mat will look like after year or two. Depending how often you is it and how strong is you practice. If you practice ashtanga yoga, you will definitely need a new mat after a year.
What happens if you throw away your yoga mat? Well, if it is made up of plastic the earth will take a long time to ''digest it''. If you use a yoga rug or yoga towel from natural materials it will biodegrade in a few years. You can read about sustainable materials for yoga practice in this article.
What should I use to cover my yoga mat? Yoga towel or yoga rug?
that's a good question! …what is the best cover for my yoga mat?
The best towels for yoga mats are not actually towels. Check out properties of yoga rugs to have a better picture of what I am talking about.
1.As per my research all the yoga towels listed on the internet are made out of microfibers. What is wrong with microfibers? Basically they are very tiny bits of plastic which are hard to see with naked eye. They are polluting the oceans and water we drink.
You can read more in this article in the point: 1 and 7.
If you are really interested in the topic, I am including one more article about how microplastic pollution may be having a profound impact on people’s hormones, affecting blood pressure, fertility, immune systems and causing multiple diseases including cancer.
2.Yoga towel is too light and it will keep lifting and disturbing you during your yoga practice in transitions.
3. Yoga rug is heavier, it has around 1.3 -1.5 kg and that's why it will stay in its place from the beginning till the end of your yoga practice.
4. Extra cushioning is another value that a yoga rug may bring you. As the yoga towel is very light it has a price for it as well - no extra cushioning is there.
Yoga rugs are made by hands of craftsmen using only 100 % cotton looms. As cotton fiber is thicker it makes the final rug heavier and thicker as well.
Take your time, think about it and consider all the pros and cons which cotton yoga rug may or may not bring you. Don't forget, it is non only affecting you and your practice, but the picture is bigger !