Yoga Towel VS Mat: Which Do You Use? A Side by Side Comparison

Yoga Towel VS Mat: Which Do You Use?

If you are just starting off your yoga journey, know that you are going to do a wonderful thing for both your body and your mind. A lot of people practice yoga not just for the health benefits it implies, but also because part of yoga is meditation and becoming more aware of your body and the environment around you. Yoga isn’t just about living in the now, it also has a social factor (if you attend classes) that all people crave for at a certain point in life.

One of the best things about practicing yoga is that this is a form of exercise that requires a very small investment upfront. All you really need are some comfortable clothes that you can stretch in, plus a mat and a towel. No, these two aren’t the same thing, but they do complement one another and help you make the best out of your yoga experience.

Yoga Towel VS Mat Comparison

Towel ​​​Mat
Yoga Towel
Yoga Mat
  • Are made from fabric.
  • Are used on top of a yoga mat.
  • Can typically be washed in the machine.
  • Are made from thicker materials.
  • Can be used without a yoga towel.
  • Most likely require wiping/spot cleaning.

Towel

General Characteristics

Unlike yoga mats which serve as cushioning, insulation, and protection when you’re practicing, yoga towels are kind of like the protective cover of mats. There are plenty of reasons why people who practice yoga should consider buying a towel. First of all, these towels create a more hygienic yoga environment. Second, they add to the longevity of the mat which could otherwise get scratched while being in use. Towels also do a very good job of absorbing moisture, prevent sweat from gathering on the surface of the mat and making it slippery.

There is quite a difference between yoga towels and regular towels. Yoga towels should come with grippy nubs located on the bottom side which keep the towel secured against the mat. Another major difference is that towels that are designed for those who practice can absorb moisture very quickly, without sacrificing the grip that you need while you’re practicing.

Construction/Fabrics

(Top view image) Grey Towel Fabric Texture Background.

There is quite a variety of fabrics that are used to make yoga towels, and the quality and blend of these fibers will be reflected in the end price of the product that you wish to buy. Some of the most affordable yoga towels are made from mixtures of polyester and nylon, but you can also find towels made from fibers obtained after recycling plastic bottles. you can find towels made from a multitude of fabrics, from bamboo rayon to cotton.

Before buying a yoga towel, you should pay close attention to the materials it’s made from, and then research to see what the characteristics of each fiber are used in the blend. This information will help you determine whether that towel will actually be efficient. While you’re at it, look for towels that offer some sort of padding on the bottom side (towel with bottom silicone grips are a good choice).

Maintenance

Caring for a yoga towel is simple (at least it’s simpler compared to cleaning a mat). The vast majority of yoga towels can be washed in the machine, but make sure that you pay close attention to what water temperature you should be using and whether or not you can tumble dry the towel. Some fabrics are prone to shrinkage, and you wouldn’t want to spend money on a product that will become too small after the first wash.


Mat

General Characteristics

A green yoga/pilates/exercise mat rolled up on white

Yoga mats are kind of like rugs that you use to practice. There’s tons of different kinds and they come in many materials and several thickness levels that make them suitable for different types of situations. Yoga mats aren’t just good because they prevent injuries, they also provide a clean workout environment, cushion the body, and offer insulation and protection against the cold floor.

Construction/Fabrics

Unlike yoga towels, the mats aren’t just a piece of fabric; they are in fact made from one or more materials, each one with its own set of properties. It’s true that yoga mats these days have plenty of textures and materials variations, but at their core, they are generally made from three possible materials.

The first one is PVC. PVC yoga mats are typically the most durable mats of all, and also the least expensive. However, there is plenty of controversy surrounding these mats because of two things. First of all, PVC mats are made from synthetic materials, plastics, if you will. That means that they are most likely imbued with potentially-harmful toxins. Second, PVC mats are not biodegradable, which is really a downside if you are an eco-friendly type of person.

two yoga mats stacked in the shape of heart green and blue colors

TPE mats are now gaining in popularity. Short for “thermoplastic elastomer”, yoga mats that are made from TPE are surely an improvement compared to PVC mats. They emit less off-gassing, are very lightweight and easy to travel with or take to classes, and they have a soft and pleasant surface. However, they have quite a major downside: they aren’t as durable as PVC mats.

The third material that’s generally used to make these mats is rubber. While rubber mats are the most expensive and heaviest ones, they provide a lot of advantages. their surface is harder, which makes it easier for yogis to maintain their balance when practicing. They are also made from natural rubber and are biodegradable, which makes them very eco-friendly.

Maintenance

The correct way for you to care for your yoga mat is a piece of information that the manufacturer has to provide you with. There are plenty of yoga towels that can easily be cleaned with mild soap and water. Others require just a damp cloth to use when wiping it clean. It is very important to know how you should care for a mat before buying it, otherwise, you might get frustrated when having to face a complicated cleaning process after every exercise session.

Cropped image of men hands rolling yoga mat

Conclusion

To those who do not practice yoga, the concepts of towel and mat often seem similar. However, it’s like trying to say that a smartphone and a smartphone case are the same thing. The truth of the matter is that you can practice yoga without any of these products, but if you decide to invest in either, you will see an improvement in the way you practice yoga.

 

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