Using a Yoga Mat
When we are at the studio or at home practicing yoga on our beautiful yoga mat we are creating for ourselves a personal private zone that no one can enter. Everyone in the studio knows that the floor is for the public but each yoga mat is personal and you should not step on it if it is not yours. Practicing yoga without a mat eliminates the ‘personal zone’ effect and everyone can stand wherever they want in the studio. when you are in the yoga studio with many other students each one knows their spot and will not step on someone else’s mat. Your mat is like your personal zone that others should respect.
When you are in the yoga studio with many other students each one of you knows their spot and will not step on someone else’s mat, the opposite will happen if all students will practice yoga without a mat, no one will now what the boundaries are and where they can step their foot and where not. Your mat is private and others should respect your zone but if the yoga mat is a personal zone then this is quite the opposite of the purpose of yoga which is to release our boundaries and learn how to expand ourselves rather then be defined by our rectangular space that we call our yoga mat.
Benefits of Practicing With a Yoga Mat
Practicing with a yoga mat can provide you with great cushion for your knees and bones in all sitting and standing poses, when you are using a yoga mat you may feel more comfortable knowing that there is something that is separating you from the ground.
Using a yoga mat in your practice can also help in preventing you from slipping during difficult poses that require much focus and concentration and also when you are moving between the different poses. The slipping effect can also be prevented if you choose to wear yoga socks, that help to prevent exactly that.
The slipping effect depends on which yoga mat you are using, some yoga mats are known to be slippery and there is a rumor that the stickier the mat the better – but that is not true, I think that the stickier the mat the more it has unhealthy ingredients in it, but that is only my opinion.
Practicing in a yoga studio with other hundreds of feet walking on the same floor every day, a personal yoga mat is a great idea to stay clean and protect you from germs. But remember that you must clean your yoga mat every now and again otherwise your mat can become even dirtier than the floor in your yoga studio.
Also, notice that if you are using the yoga mats that your studio provides you should check with them how often do they clean their mats and even then you might still prefer to bring your personal yoga mat to class.
Benefits of Practicing Without a Yoga Mat
Better for the environment – even though many companies are now creating eco-friendly yoga mats the fact is that it requires material to create those yoga mats, materials that are taken from the earth. The shipping of these mats aren’t very eco-friendly either, and it doesn’t matter if you receive your product by air or sea.
The cheap yoga mats are also not so good for the environment, they might be cheap and look great with all kinds of cool designs all colorful and looking beautiful, but they also may contain toxic material that isn’t good for you when you are in a yoga pose and breathing in the smell of your plastic yoga mat and it’s also not good for the environment.
If you care about these topics and they are close to your heart, then you should consider practicing yoga without a mat and take yoga outdoors. It is not a difficult task and you can practice on sand, grass or even large smooth rocks. This can also benefit you and help you achieve more strength in your feet as well as improving your balance.
Maybe you need a mat because your knees hurt when you are on all fours or in the cat-cow pose but you do care dearly for the environment, so what can you do? It is pretty simple actually, one option is to use a folded blanket or towel when you are practicing yoga at home and when you are practicing outdoors on a comfortable terrain, you might not need a cushion for your knees as much because the sand or grass provides that cushion for you.
Yoga Poses You Can Easily Do Without A Mat
There are some poses that you can definitely do without a yoga mat, I am not saying that they are all easy to do but here are some that you can try at home or outdoors: (Remember you can always use a blanket or a towel under your knees).
And What About Me
Currently, I use my yoga mat for each and every time I practice yoga and I haven’t really considered trying to practice without it until I started researching information in order to write this post. I have read many articles about this topic and many opinions and I think that there isn’t any right or wrong.
After writing this post I decided to give yoga without a mat a try and I will practice a few time outdoors in my backyard with a blanket or something of that sort and see how that feels.
Have you ever tried yoga without a mat? How did it feel? Did you enjoy it? If you haven’t tried it yet then I would also love to learn about your opinion. Leave a comment in the box below and I will be happy to reply.