Traveling With A Yoga Mat (All You Need To Know)
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Dream of traveling with a yoga mat? Our ‘how-to travel with a yoga mat’ guide explains everything you need to know!
TRAVEL WITH A YOGA MAT CONTENTS
Traveling to places is always an exciting experience but the long hours on the plane and layovers can take a toll on the body. A lot of travelers refresh their mind and body by incorporating yoga into their routine and make yoga part of their travels. If you don’t want to miss out on your yoga practice wherever you may be, traveling with a yoga mat is the best solution.
Yoga mats may be available in gyms or studios in areas where you travel to, but nothing beats bringing one that you own. When you have your yoga mat with you, there’s no need to think about whether or not it has been cleaned. And of course, you’re using a trusty one that fits your unique needs.
Have you already invested in a portable yoga mat? If not, this article will guide you in making an informed decision when looking for the best travel yoga mat.
Yoga Anywhere, Anytime
A yoga mat can be your ultimate travel buddy that lets you carry on with your practice wherever you may end up in. Got a long layover from your flight? It doesn’t have to be that bad. You can make the most out of the long layovers by finding a quiet spot at the airport and doing some yoga.
Do you feel the need to stretch out and relax with breathwork without going to a nearby studio? You can simply take out your mat, plop it on the floor of your hotel room and you can start right away.
Yoga doesn’t always need to be performed in groups or in a class. Even just 15 minutes a day on your own, anywhere, can be beneficial. You can be your own teacher who listens best to the needs of your body. You can also be realistic when it comes to setting and achieving your yoga goals. And you’re taking the time to improve your practice while making it fully yours!
Online yoga classes are awesome, but the best way to do yoga while traveling is to learn to do yoga on your own and craft your own sequences. Download my free guide on how to do this here.
Why Travel With A Yoga Mat?
Yoga can easily be that physical activity to stick to when traveling. And when you have the best yoga mat, you can do it anywhere. But the benefits don’t stop there. Below are just some of the reasons why you should travel with a yoga mat.
You may visit your hotel’s gym or the yoga center nearest to your Airbnb for your practice. Sure, they have mats that you can use but think about other people who have probably done yoga on that mat.
Laying on your mat means you only get to deal with your own germs – and that is more acceptable than getting sweaty and doing different poses on a common mat. Another plus is you can use your mat, should you want to lie down on a floor of a public place – an airport or at the beach, for example.
I know I have mentioned this a couple of times above, but I can’t reiterate it enough – bringing your own yoga mat means you get to practice anywhere. Imagine finding yourself in a park you haven’t visited. You see it offers a tranquil environment perfect for some meditation. When you have a travel yoga mat, you can simply take it out and start with your practice.
If you enjoy practicing yoga, you probably like traveling to places where yoga is a big part of the culture. Having your own mat will help you discover everything these yoga hotspots have to offer while avoiding renting a mat each time or being forced to practice on the floor.
It doesn’t matter where – on the beach, at a train station, in the forest. Have a traveling yoga mat so you can be ready at all times.
Last-Minute Yoga Participant
Need to join a class nearby? You don’t have to worry about arriving at the last minute or being the extra participant who cannot use the mat in the studio. You have your own – roll it out and just join in.
Some cafes have wrought-iron chairs that you might find too hard on your skin. But that doesn’t have to be the case when you have a portable cushion in the form of your travel mat. Use your mat as a seating pad as you enjoy a relaxing time in a cafe.
Mats are also perfect for sitting around on the grass at a park or even sleeping on on that airport or bus station ground during desperate times.
Connect and Make Friends
I’m certain that you will meet a lot of people during your travels. And you will make friends with fellow yogis as well as having a yoga mat with you is a great conversation starter. When you meet up with others who also brought their yoga mat with them, it’s going to be an instant yoga session with new people.
Why Invest In a Special Travel Yoga Mat?
Without a doubt, yoga can be a fun practice to include in your routine. But when you’re a traveler, it becomes a challenge since you’ll need enough space to pack it up. That could also mean added fees for your baggage. For this very reason, some people would skip on bringing along their usual yoga mats as they tend to be too big and heavy.
You don’t have to ditch the idea of bringing a mat during your travels. While there is no rule against traveling with a normal yoga mat, you might benefit more from having a compact, lightweight, foldable material that will save you baggage space and fees.
Foldable Vs Rolled: How to Choose a Yoga Mat
Yoga mats designed specifically for traveling can either be folded or rolled. A folding yoga mat can be packed however you wish but a rolled mat should not be folded in order to avoid fold marks and kinks. So what is the right way of packing and storing them?
Foldable mats fold flat easily so you can stuff it in your backpack or a tote bag like a towel. And since it doesn’t take up space, you don’t have to check it in; you can have them in your carry-on without issues.
On the other hand, rolled travel mats may take up more space than a folding mat, but less than a regular yoga mat due to its thinness. While it’s less flexible than the foldable mats, some brands do state in their packaging that the mat can also be folded – two features in one!
One example is the Manduka Travel Yoga Mat, which is purchased as a rolled mat. But if you want to, you can fold it into a rectangle so it fits better in your bag. As for foldable yoga mats, one popular choice to check out is Gaiam Foldable Yoga Mat.
Choosing between folded and rolled will depend on your preference. If you don’t want an extra bag specifically for a yoga mat, then a foldable one that you can put in the backpack together with your clothes will be the best option. Alternatively, if you don’t mind having a rolled travel mat placed in its own bag, then choose from the plethora of options.
The Top 10 Best Travel Yoga Mats Compared
Wondering how to pick a yoga mat perfect for travel? We compare our favorite travel mats in the table below. If you want more information on each specific yoga mat, read our post on choosing a yoga mat for travel.
|Yogo Ultralight||24x68 inch|
|1.5 mm||Best Overall|
|Jade Travel Yoga Mat||24x68 inch|
|Manduka eKo SuperLite||24x68 inch|
|Gaiam Foldable Yoga Mat||24x68 inch|
|2 mm||Best Price|
|Lole Travel Yoga Mat||24x72 inch|
|1 mm||No Ratings Yet|
|prAna Nomad||24x72 inch|
|3 mm||Super Lightweight|
|Liforme Travel Yoga Mat||26x71 inch|
|Clever Yoga Mat||24x71 inch|
|1 mm||Hot Yoga Mat|
|Yoga Design Lab Travel Yoga Mat||24x70 inch|
|1 mm||Thinnest Yoga Mat|
|Khataland YoFoMat||24x72 inch|
Accessories For Your Travel Mat
Since your yoga mat is designed to be thinner to make it easier to transport, that also means less cushion for you. And if you have sensitive knees, that might be an issue.
Depending on your style and needs, having yoga mat accessories can help improve your practice as well. In this section, I will discuss some of the common yoga mat accessories that should be included in your travel gear.
I cannot stress enough just how necessary a yoga towel is. This helps if you need extra grip from your smooth mat to prevent slipping and sliding. Your yoga session can quickly become stressful when you lose your balance because you slipped. A yoga towel can also provide that extra cushion for your thin travel yoga mat.
You may or may not need a yoga bag for your mat. If you have a foldable one, you can mix it with your belongings in the backpack. A rolled one, however, may need a bag of its own. Yoga bags come in various sizes and shapes, but ideally, you need a smaller one where your mat can fit in perfectly – if you travel frequently.
A roomier bag will also come in handy especially if you have other accessories such as the yoga towel.
Wondering how to carry a yoga mat without a bag? Get a sling instead. This handy accessory allows you to buckle up your mat in place so you can just grab and go. It’s perfect for minimalist travelers who are looking for something easy and quick that can be repurposed as a yoga strap.
When choosing yoga slings, make sure it doesn’t dig into your shoulder when you wear it on your body. Also, check the capacity of the sling. Some are made for heavier mats, while others are perfect for lightweight mats for travel.
How to Clean a Yoga Mat
Nothing feels more uncomfortable than rolling out a dirty mat and feeling the ickiness during your practice. After all, you are putting your face on your mat often! Cleaning your yoga mat is one way of taking care of it so it can last longer. So how do you do it during your travels? And how often should you be cleaning your mat?
How Often to Clean a Yoga Mat
The cleaning frequency for your yoga mat will mostly depend on how often you practice or how intense each session is. Usually, you can wait a week or so before you clean up your mat. However, if you’re a heavy sweater, the mat tends to retain the odor more, needing you to clean the mat more often.
Ways to Clean Your Travel Yoga Mat
There is more than one way of cleaning your yoga mat. Don’t worry about being always on the go – you can still clean your yoga mat. For a quick clean after your session, here are some tips:
Using Vinegar and Water
I usually make a mixture consisting of equal parts of water and white vinegar. This is usually my go-to homemade cleaning solution. You can add some essential oils to your solution for that pleasant aroma.
Simply spritz some of the solution to your yoga mat and wipe it down with a clean cloth or sponge. Never use any rough material like steel wool as this can easily damage your mat surface. Once done, allow your mat to dry outside or inside if you have a well-ventilated room.
Using Soap and Water
Cleaning with a mix of mild ecological dish soap and water is another method of cleaning your yoga mat. Make sure not to use too much soap in your mixture. During rinsing, run water on each side of your mat to remove any residue.
If you have either of the abovementioned cleaning solutions, you can carry it around and use it to lightly spray and wipe down your mat after a sweaty session.
Other Tips for Cleaning Yoga Mats
Meanwhile, you might find the need for a deep clean especially if your yoga mat smells a lot or has been stained. But before you use a stronger cleaning solution, you might want to check out the recommendations from the manufacturer.
If you want a much more convenient way, you can just have it washed at the laundromat. Be sure that your travel yoga mat is designed to be machine washable. What you want to be sure to avoid is to let it spin and wash it with harsh detergents. More importantly, your yoga mat should not be put in the dryer.
Another tip from many yogis, which can be useful for avid travelers, is to soak your yoga mat in the bathtub for a few minutes. This method can be used when your mat is heavily soiled or stained. By soaking, oils and other buildups that are causing your mat to smell will be removed slowly. If you have to use cleaning agents, always go for mild or hypoallergenic detergents or dish soap.
Investing in a travel mat is a great idea when you want to remain consistent with your yoga practice. It is also necessary if you travel a lot. A compact, lightweight travel mat will help you save money on baggage, and of course – you’re bringing a personal item along during your travels.
Regardless of what you choose, always remember to have fun with your yoga practice, anytime, anywhere.
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