The Best Travel Yoga Mats

One thing that came out of my fabulous California Spirit Festival experience was how beneficial it really is to have lightweight travel yoga mat.

My travel yoga mat had been through some serious, loving abuse, so I took my regular yoga mat with me to the festival. It was big, chunky, and heavy. At one point late in the day I watched enviously as someone folded up their little travel yoga mat and popped it into their bag while I lumbered around trying to get mine put away. After a long day at the festival I was starting to feel it’s weight.

I love having a big, comfortable yoga mat for my at home practice, but having a portable, small, and lightweight travel yoga mat is a must have for any wandering yogi! There are just too many yoga festivals, yoga retreats, far away beaches, and quiet hotel rooms to not be practicing yoga while journeying around unencumbered!

The Yoga of Travel has some recommendations for your new yoga travel mat:

Manduka eKO Superlite Travel Mat

Exceptional for traveling .

Folds to fit in any travel space or purse

Surface texture offers superior grip, even with light perspiration

Tightly woven scrim resists tearing or stretching

Closed cell design will not absorb bacteria

Made from non-Amazon harvested, natural tree rubber – No PVC, toxic plasticizers or harmful dyes

 

Gaiam Travel Yoga Mat, Purple

Gaiam’s Travel Mat can be folded or rolled into your carry-on so you’re ready for yoga wherever you land. The surface is a comfortable and slightly sticky blend of microfiber and natural rubber.
On a buget? 

YogaAccessories (TM) Travel Yoga Mat


Want something even MORE portable?

Gaiam Grippy Yoga Sock and Glove Set

 

Yoga Paws: Mini Yoga Mats for Your Hands and Feet


How cool are those? Looks like freedom to me…

 

 

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How to Clean Your Yoga Mat at Home and On the Go

It doesn’t matter if your yoga mat has seen the world or just your local gym. Wherever you practice you are sure to sweat on it and eventually, if not after every yoga session, your mat is going to start to smell. The last thing I want to worry about when I lay down in Shavasana is the fact that I can smell my mat or even worse, that the person next to me can smell my yoga mat!

Cleaning your yoga mat does not have to be a dreaded time consuming activity but there are some things to think about in order to properly care for it.

Depending on your yoga mat, there may be specific instructions for washing due to the type of material your yoga mat is made from. If you are buying a top performance yoga mat or an eco mat I highly recommend checking with the manufacturer for cleaning instructions. Some mats are so durable you can throw them in the washing machine, while others can really only be washed lightly with water.

Once you know the needs of your yoga mat (who knew yoga mats were so needy?) you have many options to keep the air around your yoga mat smelling fresh.

I often keep a bottle of home made yoga cleaner and a terrycloth washcloth handy for quick, after practice cleaning. This homemade yoga cleaner, dries fairly quickly and does not have an oder that may affect people in the surrounding area . Once I am done with my practice, I spray it, wipe it, and by the time my shoes are back on and I am ready to move about the world, my yoga mat is fresh, dry and ready to be rolled up.

Here are a couple of different options for homemade yoga mat cleaner:

DIY Natural Yoga Mat Cleaner #1:

Mix 1 part warm water with 3 parts white vinegar.

You might want to consider adding a drop of an essential oils like eucalyptus, lavender, or tea tree oil to cover the slight vinegar smell and also to increase the potential for limiting germs and odors.

DIY Natural Yoga Mat Cleaner #2:

1 cup equal amounts water and witch hazel
10 drops of tea tree oil
5 drops lavender

Put it in a 3 oz clear bottel for your travel carry on and you are good to go!

If your are not the do it yourself type of person, you have several yoga mat cleaner options for purchase:

Aurorae Organic Yoga Mat Wash-Cleans, Restores, Refreshes and Disinfects your Yoga Mat, Biodegradable. USDA approved, Made in USA.

Gaiam Yoga Mat Wash

Manduka “Mat Renew” Yoga Mat Spray

Even though I clean my yoga mat reguarly there are times when some build up starts to occure and my mat needs some serious hygene maintanance.

At this point I usually toss it into the bathtub, soak it in warm water and give it a thourough cleaning with vinegar and baking soda. Then I hang it outside for about 40 minutes in the sun.

Not only will caring for your yoga mat keep it smelling fresh and reduce bacteria it will also extend the life of your yoga mat.

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Have Yoga Mat, Will Travel

Do you take your yoga mat with you when you travel or not? This is an important question for the serious traveling yogi. With so many options out there for yoga mats you now have choices in order to bring along this most vital yoga prop whether you are a minimalist traveler or love to travel with all the comforts of home. 

Although I am trying to live a more minimalist lifestyle, I do have two yoga mats. I have my thin foldable, travel yoga mat to save space in my suitcase or backpack and I have my sturdy, thick yoga mat for practicing yoga on rougher outdoor terraine or for longer periods of practice.

The Manduka BlackMatPRO 71-Inch Yoga and Pilates Mat is the best selling, top rated mat for a good reason. Aside from the high quality, this thick yoga mat is perfect for practicing on rocky beaches and forested areas. I know this yoga mat is on the high end of the price range, but for me my mat is not a luxury, I practice yoga daily in many different places, so I consider it to be a worth while investment in my overall wellness. Plus the Manduka Pro Mat has a lifetime warrenty! This is also the perfect mat going on retreats and yoga teacher trainings. There have been a few times I have ended up with not much else to sleep on, not to mention how many hours I end up sitting, eating and practicing on it while on retreat!

I also have the bought the Jade Harmony Professional 68-Inch x 3/16-Inch Yoga Mat. This is my favorite for home, the studio and for long trips. It has a wonderful no slip grip and it is thin enough to fold up and put inside my suitcase or carry on (sometimes you may find yourself with enough time for preflight yoga in the airport!). PLUS it is environmentally friendly since it is made with natural rubber,  a renewable resource tapped from rubber trees,  so this yoga mat contains no PVC or ozone-depleting substances. 

Both of my yoga mats are black. It’s not very exciting, but I found that having black left me free from visual distractions and limits the visual stains that naturally occur from regular use and the staining that happens when you like to practice in the sand, mud and sometimes on the streets and sidewalks!

 I used to buy yoga mats that had a ton of color and a beautiful design. On some level I realized that this wasn’t as much for me as it was for the unspoken “yoga mat competition” going on at the yoga studios. Who had the coolest, best, most beautiful yoga mat? Why I did of course! So now I take my, reliable black yoga mat into the studio, without the ego attachment to it! It is amazing the things that we do, even related to our yoga practice, that are full of of ways to seem “better” than the person next to us. Of course if you want to buy a beautiful yoga mat for yourself, I certainly see no harm in that!

 I still find that when traveling it is helpful to have some options for the transport and care of the mat. Even though I often fold my mat in my suitcase or backpack for checkin at the airport, there are times when I want to keep my mat with me for some airport yoga during long wait times. There are also times when I am going on retreat or know that I will be moving around with my mat during my vacation so I will often bring my yoga mat carrying straps (with attached carrying pouch=awesome!) and/or yoga mat bag. And though I am no longer concerned about how my yoga mat looks to other people, I do care about how it SMELLS so I keep a very small bottle of yoga mat cleaner handy. 

Whether you decide to have one yoga mat or more there are so many incredible options out there in varying price ranges. Though there are certainly many wonderful yoga mats available, do not feel that you need need to limit yourself to those options. Take the time to do some research, read some reviews, think about your needs and then choose what is right for you. There are so many types of yoga mats out there, that you will surely find the perfect yoga mat for your needs. 

The BEST thick yoga mat for traveling (and anytime!):
Manduka BlackMatPRO 71-Inch Yoga and Pilates Mat

The BEST thin yoga mat for traveling (and anytime!):
Jade Harmony Professional 68-Inch x 3/16-Inch Yoga Mat

Go to the Yoga of Travel store to check out other top rated yoga mats for travel! 

Related Topic:
How to Clean Your Yoga Mat at Home and On the Go