How to Travel with a Yoga Mat

There seems n’to be a resurgence in Yoga and meditation lately. I, too, enjoy my share of downward dogs and child’s poses. I find meditation soothing and calming for the body, mind and soul. I sure would like to do more of it. Why not do some yoga and meditation while on vacation? And of course, to do Yoga and meditation requires a mat.

So, I was thinking... How to travel with a Yoga mat?

History of the Yoga Mat

The ancient practitioners of yoga in India conducted yoga on kusha grass, on the hard earth, or on a deer or tiger skin rug.

People who practiced yoga when it was brought in the western world used towels or cotton mats on wooden floors. Soon after that, rubber mats were used. In 1982, “sticky mats” were first sold. Surprisingly, the first mat purposely made strictly for yoga was developed in the 1990s by Hugger Mugger Yoga Products.

What to Look for in a Yoga Mat

Although I am not an extreme yoga enthusiast, there are three things that I look for in a yoga mat. They are the length, thickness and durability.

LENGTH: The standard size of yoga mats is 24 inches wide by 68 inches long. The extra long mat can come in 71, 72, 74 or 84 inches long. Some may even go beyond 7 feet long! I would recommend looking into a mat that fits your physical stature. There is nothing worse than trying to do a yoga pose and not having enough space to comfortably complete your pose. Even though I am a mere 5’2″, I would choose a longer yoga mat.

THICKNESS: A standard yoga mat is about 1/8 inch thick but there are some that go as thick as 1/4 inch. A travel yoga mat is 1/16 inch thick. I prefer the 1/4 inch thickness because it’s more comfortable on my knees when I need to do a pose such as cat to cow or bird-dog.

DURABILITY: Replacing your yoga mat every six to twelve months is the general rule of thumb. This is a reasonable rule. However, it really depends on a lot of factors such as the frequency of use, the styles of yoga that is done and where you do yoga. I have used yoga mats that start to fall a part or lose their stickiness even way before the 6-month period. Since I only do yoga in the comfort of my living room I expect a yoga mat that will downward dog with me for at least the full 12 months.

Types of Yoga Mats

TRADITIONAL MATS are rectangular “sticky mats” so that poses can be held without slipping. Traditional mats are made of PVC, or vinyl. They come in various thickness and lengths. Both beginners and seasoned practitioners use traditional mats.

NON-TRADITIONAL MATS come in different shapes. You can now choose circular, oval and even hour-glass shapes Yoga mats. Non-traditional mats also come in much more eco-friendly materials.

Natural Rubber mats are non-toxic and are made from biodegradable and recycled materials.

Thermoplastic elastomer mats are made from natural materials and are considered healthy and environmentally friendly.

Cotton mats are all natural and are washable. They are soft and cushiony and absorbs sweat better.

Hemp mats are also all natural and last long because hemp has great elasticity and strength.

Jute mats are made from all natural jute fibers which is biodegradable. Jute mats are considered the most eco-friendly.

TRAVEL MATS are much thinner than other yoga mats. They are made to fold and roll up for travel purposes. Travel mats are only meant to be used for traveling so they are not as durable as the conventional yoga mats.

Yoga Mat Accessories

With the popularity of Yoga and meditation, not only are there Yoga mats to choose from but there are also Yoga mat accessories:
Yoga Mat Bags:
These are basically bags to fit your Yoga mats in and they come in different styles and colors. These bags have an attached strap to it so that it can be carried over your shoulder.

Harness Straps: These are straps made of elastic that can wrap around the Yoga mat and carried over your shoulder for easier transport.

Yoga Backpacks: This is a multi-purpose backpack that you can place your Yoga mat in and sometimes multiple mats. It also has other compartments that you can use to put other travel necessities. It’s very practical and easy to carry on your back just like a typical backpack.

How to Travel with a Yoga Mat

So, back to my original question… How to Travel with a Yoga Mat?

The logical answer is…bring a travel Yoga mat. It makes sense. It’s made for travel because it’s very thin and can be rolled up or folded and packed in your luggage.

OR do what makes you feel happy….bring along your favorite Yoga mat. Roll it up with an elastic harness strap or place it in a yoga mat bag with a sling or carry a Yoga back pack on your next travel adventure.

Namaste

There shouldn’t be any pressure or stress. So, whichever way you decide, How to Travel with a Yoga Mat, is up to you.

Relax.

Continue breathing gently.

Slowly open your eyes.

Namaste.

 

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18 Replies to “How to Travel with a Yoga Mat”

  1. Geri,

    I love that you talk about yoga mats made out of eco-friendly materials. Let’s move away from the PVC! I am in need of a new yoga mat and will consider one of these options. Good article, and bottom line- keep doing yoga!

    1. Yes eco-friendly items are always well worth it!

      Thank you for visiting my site and I am so happy that you found the information useful in helping you choose a new yoga mat.

  2. What, the first mat produced specifically for Yoga was in 1990? That’s surprisingly late indeed! Tons of great background information on Yoga mats. Something I wonder about travelling by plane though: Do you check it in or bring it as hand luggage? It’s no problem for me to bring it in the car but when flying I’m still hesitant.

    1. Right?! I didn’t realize how “new” Yoga mats are.

      As for air travel, I believe you can do either…check in or hand carry. It really depends on you and your travel load. I know some people take it as carry on so that they can do Yoga at the airports during layovers.

      Thank you so much for visiting this site!

  3. Hi. I didn’t know you can buy a travel yoga mat. I take mine with me rolled in a bag, but it takes space. I will get a traveling mat now. Thank you for your advice. It will be much easier now.
    Have a nice day.

  4. Hey Geri,

    Another great post you have written. I wasn’t aware that there were so many different types of yoga mats. I play a lot of guitar so I wonder if there is one out there for me with a guitar design on it. Now that would be cool!

    I have never traveled with a yoga mat, although I believe that it would be great for when I have long layovers and need somewhere comfortable to sit on the ground.

    Have you ever traveled with a yoga mat? Where did you go with it? I would be interested in finding out your experiences with traveling with a yoga mat.

    Again, thanks for the great post.

    Cheers,

    Max

    1. I believe there are sites that do custom printing on yoga mats. So, you might just find one or create one with a guitar design.

      I did this article as research on how to travel with a yoga mat. So, I haven’t just yet. I thought that my research would also help others who have been wondering about taking their yoga mats while traveling.

      And yes, that is a great reason to also carry a yoga mat.

      Thank you for visiting my site. Best wishes to you, Max.

    1. Thanks for visiting my site, Anna.

      A lot of people were surprised to know that there is a travel yoga mat as well.

      So happy that you found the information valuable.

  5. I didn’t know that travel yoga mats were a think. This is nice to know. My yoga mat rolls up, but it does take up a lot of space. I keep it behind my sofa and it often rolls behind or falls down. So I think a travel mat would be perfect for home as well. Thanks for the nice selection.

    1. You and a few others are discovering travel yoga mats. I am s happy about it. Try it at home but it might not endure frequent use as a regular yoga mat. Let me know how it works out for you though.

      Thanks so much for visiting my site.

  6. Hey Geri,

    I frequently partake in yoga as part of my post weight lifting routine. A lot of people don’t know this; but it helps boost testosterone, this helps with increased muscle mass gains, fat loss and improved response to your workout.

    It helps boost T due to being great for reducing stress & cortisol, I travel a lot for business and I tend to workout while I’m on “the road”. I hadn’t considered taking a travel yoga mat with me; but it’s a good idea and a worthwhile investment for me; plus I can recommend it to some of my clients as well!

    1. Yoga is definitely great and I wish to do more of it. It’s wonderful to learn more of the effects of yoga in regards to weight lifting,

      Many are surprised to know that there are travel yoga mats. i am so happy that I can help them to discover it.

      Thanks so much for visiting my site.

      Namaste.

  7. Hi Gery,

    Thanks for sharing a great article to know more about the Yoga mats,

    I didn’t know Yoga mats need to be changed from 6 to 12 or 18 months, so it’s time I get a new one!

    With the great information you provide on your article it’ll make easier for me to shop for a new one, and I;m going to look one made of natural eco-friendly material.

    I will also shop for one that can be used at home or when I travel, it will help me to keep doing Yoga no matter where I am.

    1. Wow, Alejandra! I am so happy that you found so much value in this post. Thank you for visiting my site.

      I, personally, was surprised to learn that yoga mats haven’t been around for ages.

      Eco-friendly mats are all the rage now and that is such a great thing.

      Namaste. Enjoy your yoga time.

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