When you're in Downward Dog, it's all about crisp angles and perfect posture. Of course, that's almost impossible to do when your hands are slipping and sliding all over the mat. A slippery mat is usually the sign of a good workout, since the problem often occurs when you're sweating. Still, you don't have to compromise posture because of a slippery mat. A few seconds and quick fixes can put you back in control with better traction so you can finally nail a perfect Dog.
One of the simplest ways to gain traction again is to flip your mat. Since the contact points between your hands and mat is prime real estate for slippery sweat, flipping the front of your mat to the back can give you a drier spot on which to work. Or, if you have a reversible mat with traction texture on both sides, you can flip the entire mat over between asanas and get a better grip on your posture.
If you have a yoga strap handy, you can use it to get your hands off of the slipper mat. Just unbuckle the strap and lay it flat at the top of your mat. Then, when in an inverted position, allow the palms or heels of your hands rest on the strap and you should be able to get a better grip. You can do the same with your feet by placing a strap under your heels instead.
Grab a Towel
Bring a towel with you to yoga class and you can toss it over a slippery yoga mat for a quick fix. While this definitely isn't a long-term solution, it can help you get through a challenging series safely by ensuring that you have a dry surface.
Clean Your Mat
Sweat, dirt and other residue can build up on the surface of your yoga mat, making it more slippery with each use. Your best bet to get your mat back to like-new condition is to wash it. Some mats are machine washable; however, the simplest way to wash is to mix equal parts apple cider vinegar and water, and then sponge down your mat to remove the residue. Rinse it clean and then allow it to dry -- you should find that it's much stickier.
Respect the Life Cycle
A that is mat is too old or too new might be too slippery as well. A new mat hasn't yet been broken in, resulting in a slick surface. After a few uses it should become stickier. When a mat is too old, some of the traction texture can way away, resulting in a slippery session. Replace your mat every six to 12 months, depending on how often you practice.
Kay Ireland specializes in health, fitness and lifestyle topics. She is a support worker in the neonatal intensive care and antepartum units of her local hospital and recently became a certified group fitness instructor.