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Which Side Is the Right Side of a Yoga Mat?

author image Beth Rifkin
Based in San Francisco, Beth Rifkin has been writing health- and fitness-related articles since 2005. Her bylines include "Tennis Life," "Ms. Fitness," "Triathlon Magazine," "Inside Tennis," "American Fitness" and others. She holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from Temple University.
Which Side Is the Right Side of a Yoga Mat?
The mat can help to stabilize your yoga poses. Photo Credit dolgachov/iStock/Getty Images

Your yoga mat not only keeps you from working out on a dirty floor, it helps to keep you stable while balancing on one leg or when doing poses. While some yoga mats are reversible, most have one specific side that is meant for practice and it is indicated by their texture or sticky coating.

Tactile Texture

Some yoga mats have a raised texture on one side that helps to keep you from slipping during the standing poses in a practice; the texture actually makes it more likely that your feet stay in place. Made usually of rubber, jute or cotton, textured mats can be helpful during a particularly hot or sweaty practice. Though keep in mind, the raised bumps can be somewhat uncomfortable during seated or prone poses.

Strike a Pose

If you are sensitive to the feel of your mat and would like a smoother surface that won't make you slip, a traditional sticky mat may be the optimal choice. Made of PVC, which is also known as vinyl, sticky mats are coated on the active side to help you stay in place during downward dog, warrior III, triangle and similar poses. Sticky mats must stay clean to maintain their stickiness; spray your mat with a mat cleaner after each practice and avoid rolling it up until it is completely dry.

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