It’s the enemy of all yoga aficionados: sweaty, slippery hands. I’ve been doing yoga regularly for more than 15 years, and whether it’s a hot yoga class (I take one or two a week) or a midwinter session in my underheated neighborhood studio, at some point during every practice, my hands get damp and start sliding around during Downward Dog. My usual fix has always been to have an old towel handy, to place under my palms and absorb the sweat, but often the towel starts slipping too (though if it gets soaked enough, it’ll cling to the mat).
So I’ve been on a decade-plus quest to find a yoga mat that really grips, even when sweaty. For a while I used a mat so sticky it would make tape-ripping sounds whenever I moved my feet and pull on my hair in savasana—and it still got slippery when wet. I had a brief love affair with a gorgeous mat printed with patterns and yoga phrases, but the printed overlay was so slick I’d slip even at the beginning of class. And of course I’ve used studio-provided mats all over New York City.
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Well, the search is over. I’m here to tell you that the best mat for yogis who sweat is the Gaiam Studio Select Dry-Grip Yoga Mat ($70; amazon.com). It’s designed for hot yoga, but it works great for any type of yoga practice. It grips my hands and feet without being sticky, and even when I get super sweaty, my hands never slip. The surface wicks moisture and actually seems to get more grippy the sweatier you get—though for a hot yoga session, you might still want a towel to help avoid puddles.
Bonus: It’s 5mm thick (a standard yoga mat is 2 or 3mm), which means it’s extra cushy; no more having to put a blanket or towel under my knees in low lunges. And I love the cool black-on-black design (it comes in purple and blue too). The downsides are that it’s heavier than average, and of course it’s on the pricey side. But it’s worth the investment to be able to settle in and think about my breathing—instead of worrying about sliding out of my pose.