Slippery yoga mat syndrome

I’m forever reading about or hearing people speak of their slippery yoga mats. I understand why yoga mats get slippery and how to remedy that, but I’ve been thinking a lot about yoga mats lately and wanted to put forth a little theory.

Any thoughts on the idea that if you are slipping on your yoga mat, you’re doing the pose wrong? If we’re slipping, that means we’re putting enough force in one direction where it’s not our musculature that is keeping us steady, it’s friction. In my opinion, a few of the most important points of even doing asana are to strengthen, release, and promote steadiness/stabilization and if we’re counting on friction to not move, then we’re not cultivating any of those as much as we could be.

Hi David,

it would actually be the concept of traction rather than friction.
Some traction is required , even if the student is practicing in Pune in in 1970 before mats were created. At the same time, you make an interesting point about weight distribution - though I’d not be able to go so far as to say if the pose is unstable that could only indicate a lack of integrity in the posture.

I can agree that some degree of TRACTION :wink: is required. But I can’t think of a pose that would require so much traction that one couldn’t properly perform it on a slippery yoga mat.

I’m sure some would say downward facing dog because you so often hear teachers say, “Push away from your hands.” But if the feet and hands are close enough together and the necessary musculature is open enough for the pose, then one shouldn’t slip on the mat.

As I’m thinking about this, I rather like the idea of performing poses on a less than sticky surface. Talk about moving consciously and ensuring each joint is properly stabilized :slight_smile: Maybe I should found “Slippery Yoga” to go along with the 432 other forms of yoga created this year.

Gordon, speaking of before yoga mats were invented, do you know what sort of surface yogis would tend to practice on?

There are many a slip betwixt cup and lip.
I’ve tried a number of mats and some are very sticky, others not so much.
Some get more slippery when wet others are basically towels and may slide a little or a lot.
There is the biological factor of how much one person’s feet perspire, what oils they may be secreting.
And of course environmental factors such as whether they are dolloped in peppermint foot cream or some such.

I love these new towels mats with the neoprene, or silicone traction padding.
I use them in all my classes now.

[QUOTE=David;48846]Gordon, speaking of before yoga mats were invented, do you know what sort of surface yogis would tend to practice on?[/QUOTE]

The myth is that yoga was historically practiced on bare earth so that the yogi might have a direct connection with the earth and a more authentic experience.

But it is worth noting that there is a long tradition in Yogic culture that have included mats, rugs, often of natural cottons that maintain one’s connection with the earth. But also have included skins of beasts and has for what 2000 years and more?

The Classical Yogic Period of the second century has the sage Patanjali clearly accepting the use of animal skins for postures and meditation is
"After practicing the postures as desired, according to rules, then, O G?rgi, the man who has conquered the posture will practice Pr?n?y?ma.
"Seated in an easy posture, on a (deer or tiger) skin, placed on Kusha grass, worshipping Ganapati with fruits and sweetmeats,…"PATANJALI?S YOGA APHORISMS


the story I’ve heard from my teacher is no mat, practice right on the floor, and in close quarters with the aroma of your neighbor solidly entrenched in your own nostrils. But there was no talk of whether the floor was wood or concrete. Whatever guruji had on the floor, and it was very hard.