Sunday, October 4, 2009

Endo-Yoga and how we influence a slippery mat

I adore my rubber yoga mat and unless it has recently been cleaned and absorbed all the water, creating a surface for my sweat to hang out on, I haven't had moments of slippage in about a year. As an update on how I wash my mat, I have discovered that as long as I let my mat air dry for at least two days it was fine! No slippage at all! During the drying time I used Andrew's mat, after which I told him it smelled like bum and he FINALLY washed it. (the view from our wedding venue!!)

Recently, as my downward dogs have improved, I've wondered if part of the non-slipping has to do with my FINALLY using the right muscles (abs-bhandas) during practice. My shoulders no longer hurt while holding downward dog, so I'm assuming that I'm not putting all the weight and pressure on my arms anymore. YAY.

My suspicions are correct, I just read Om Shanti's post regarding the student's part in the ever present "slippery mat" syndrome. It is an insightful and informative read, I highly recommend it! I think I'll give his downward dog with blankets a try! His post reviews how our core muscles create the strength that allows asanas like downward to stay in place.

What I like about this perspective is the intrinsic, or "endo" aspect where it's not just about finding the perfect mat that will never slip. Although I find the whole 'western yogis are spoiled' mantra annoying, in this situation I do believe that a part of our consumerism comes into play. We expect to have a mat that will be absolutely perfect, no slippage and no flaking (sigh I am guilty of both complaints!). If a mat is slightly slippery than we must move on, buy a new mat, buy special sprays, special 'grippy' blankets or towels...

Of course there are mats that are less slippery than others and I'm not suggesting that taking care of your mat won't help with stickiness. However, I do believe that as we use our inner core during practice as opposed to 'muscling' through the posture (i.e. pushing with our shoulders in downdog) we will feel more secure and stable. When it comes to products, things that we purchase or invest extrinsically, often we seem to switch into 'exo' mode, viewing our practice as disparate pieces. Instead we could try to remember that we dynamically interact with our environment and always have some influence.

The next time your trying out a new "eco" mat in a studio and there is slippage, take into consideration your part. :)

Blessings and welcome the Blood Moon today!

Article authored and copyrighted by EcoYogini at


  1. reading your blog makes me think i should try a yoga class again...
    and that's an awesome tell more about your venue!

  2. Since I sweat like a pig (seriously, I swear I'm dripping like crazy when nobody else in the room is--I'd probably end up drowning in a puddle of my own persperation if I did the Bikram thing), slipperiness tends to be an issue by the end of a session, no matter what kinda shape my mat's in at the beginning...though I have found recently that simply hanging it over a door in between uses leaves it dry & supple...I really should try using blankets or towels or something...but, yeah, I could work the core more...(but I hate the core...just kidding...kinda...).

  3. Excellent post!! I'm trying to remember if I have ever had an issue with slippage and I cannot remember a time. I think my mat is just "special." haha. I should probably clean my mat. It sucks because when I first got it (Gaiam brand), it was bright green, but not it has faded white spots from where I tried to spot clean. Not good!

  4. A little something pour vous...


  5. I love my eKo mat (very sticky!), but maybe I have been using my shoulders too much in Down Dog...hmmm. I'll focus on engaging my core next time and see if it makes a difference. Thanks for the reminder!

  6. I've been working super hard on my core, and really trying to make sure I'm entering poses in the correct manner. I never thought of relating that to mat issues! I think that's a great way to remind us to focus on the poses, and not on the tools we use to get into them.

  7. Yeah! I used to feel like I'd slip away in D-dog but you are so right that we have a big part in that and letting the shoulders take most of the weight contributes to the slippage. Engagement of the core body is key- as is the lengthening of the spine and LIFTING of the tailbone. Often there is a huge emphasis on getting heels to the mat but that can often compromise that length in the back-body.

    One thing that helped my shoulders, chronically tight, in this pose is the idea of lateral rotation in the arms, bringing the inner creases of the elbows so they are facing out from you. I often start in child's pose and establish this, long arms, lateral rotation, trying to separate the scapula and let them descend down the back and THEN tucking toes and lifting up to dog.

    I love down dog! I wanna post a blog on this pose now too! :)

    Your wedding venue is lovely, by the way :)

  8. Yay yoga! I've been out for the count since last Sunday due to the terrible migraine cold- so now that I feel better I'm excited to get back!

    Julia: yes yes- more yoga :) And I was thinking about posting about the wedding venue visit... perhaps I will do so today :)

    Dr. Jay: haha- well Andrew can relate- he has the same issue. I have heard that when there is dripping (which I have experienced!) the hot cotton mats (like the one I got for outdoor yoga) are excellent. They get MORE sticky the more you sweat... CRAZY :)

    Raspberry: oh ya- I go a few weeks without cleaning, and then a quick dunk in the tub and I am so grossed out about the amount of dirt-sweat... I can smell it! lol

    Mel: awww!! thanks Mel :)

    Vegan Burnout: sigh- Andrew wants one... someday! I find Mambinki's suggestions below work the best!

    Greenspell: lol, I always have to work on my core!

    Mambinki: Thank you very much for giving us these wonderful tips!

  9. The only reason I bought the eKo was because I found a great deal on eBay: eKo mat + Manduka mat bag for about $100. Otherwise, I never could have done it. Andrew will have his eKo someday; tell him to ask for it as a wedding present! :)


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