A sticky mat is supposed to be just that — sticky. This helps you to stay put, but sometimes the tack is no match for sweaty hands and feet. Little is more frustrating than slipping and sliding during your yoga practice.
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If you're partial to a flowing class, especially one in a little heat, it's going to be hard to turn your sweat glands off. Instead, use accessories to absorb some of the sweat so you can balance, Down Dog and Warrior with secure confidence.
What's Up with Those Sweaty Digits?
You may just normally sweat a little extra through your hands and feet if you practice in a hot room or undergo a particularly rigorous flow. However, if you feel your sweating is abnormal, you may have palmer hyperhidrosis.
The Center for Hyperhidrosis reports that the condition affects 1 to 2 percent of the population. If your sweaty hands and feet affect more than your yoga practice and interfere with your daily function, see a doctor to discuss medical solutions to the problem.
Sometimes you sweat so much that you can't rely on a sticky mat alone. Use a yoga towel to add an extra layer of absorption to your practice. These specially made towels are crafted from sweat-wicking fabric that stays grippy even when wet. One side features nubby bits that grip your mat so, unlike a bath towel, they stay put when you stand on them.
To use a yoga towel, lay it down over your mat and spritz it with water to initiate the grip for your hands and feet. Even as you sweat, it should keep you solid in your poses.
If you'd rather not use a full-sized towel, keep a smaller hand-sized one folded near the top of your mat. These microfiber towels are made of the same wicking fabric as the full-sized ones, but are not as expensive nor cumbersome to carry. Use it to wipe off sweaty feet and hands between postures or flows.
Yoga Gloves and Socks
Wearing a pair of winter mittens and slippery socks may keep your sweat contained, but won't help prevent slipping on the mat. Plus, they'll just make you hotter and sweatier!
But, many manufacturers make yoga-specific gloves and socks that are perfect if you sweat excessively through your hands and feet. They're usually made of a thin fabric that absorbs extra sweat and features tiny nubs of PVC (or vinyl) at the pressure points on your toes, soles, palms and fingers. You wear them throughout practice; they're so grippy, some people find they can practice without a mat on a bare wood floor.
The Right Mat
Yoga mats come in a variety of types made from different materials. Some of the most commonly found ones are made of PVC, which can be quite slippery especially when you first unroll it. Manufacturers coat them with a preservative to prevent them from degrading on the shelves, but this treatment leaves them slippery when presented with the slightest hint of sweat.
So, thoroughly cleaning your yoga mat before your first use is essential in breaking down this preservative's surface. Sometimes a spritz with water combined with a few drops of essential oil is enough. Some mats require a little more roughing up with a salt water treatment.
If your sweaty hands make PVC too slippery, regardless of how broken in the mat is, choose a mat made from a different material. Mats made from natural rubber or jade often provide a slightly grippier surface and combat sweaty hands and feet.