If you've ever found yourself battling against a case of slippery hands whilst trying to hold your downward dog, you're not alone. Those more intense vinyasa flow sessions can get pretty sweaty, and often the mat alone just won't cut it. Enter the yoga towel – a handy attachable layer that will give you that much-needed extra grip, plus a very welcome barrier between your perspiration and the mat.
Like so many yoga accessories, there's plenty of choice on the market, which can be pretty overwhelming – but ultimately it comes down to material and design. Some towels feature a flap that hooks over the yoga mat underneath, while others use rubber dots for grip, and there are plenty of colours and patterns to mull over, too.
If you intend to use your towel for extra-sweaty hot yoga, it's certainly worth considering the more absorbent and slip-proof options, and how advanced your practice is. Equally, if you are someone who 'floats' between poses and doesn't often manoeuvre with feet on the mat – or you tend to opt for slower, restorative practices - you may not need to worry as much about the fabric crinkling, for example. It's also worth noting that most yoga towels work better the sweatier you get, and many brands advise you spray them down with water before you begin.
There may be other factors that are particularly important to you – be it eco-friendly credentials, washing instructions or even pretty designs, which some like to use to focus the eye during balance postures. Read on for five yogi-approved options.
A well-known and popular brand amongst yoga fans, the Manduka Yogitoes towel is well-loved for its range of bohemian and colourful motifs, as well as the silicone dots designed to stop it from slipping from the mat underneath. Since it doesn't hook over the mat, some buyers report crinkling during transitions – and most advise wetting it with water before beginning practice.
A slightly more sustainable option, Manduka state that the Yogitoes towel is made from eight or more recycled plastic bottles. It's easily washable, as are all options, but cannot be tumble dried – though buyers report it air-dries very quickly. With a range of prices depending on the size and design, it's a considered purchase and potentially more worthwhile for those who get extra-sweaty during practice.
This towel is well-loved for its unique design, with a fabric flap to hook it to the mat underneath as well as a silicone coating for extra grip. It gives a taut finish without crinkles, unlike other options which are not physically attached – and comes with a water bottle and carry bag included.
The drawback here is the silicone layer underneath the towel, which can shed or become damaged during washing. Most recommend hand washing with cold water and leaving to air dry, despite the manufacturer stating it's suitable for machine washing. It's probably best for beginner to intermediate users, rather than for very strenuous practice that may wear away the silicone grip.
Another fun option with plenty of designs to choose from, buyers love the Yoga Design Lab towel as it's ultra travel-friendly – it features an elastic loop so you can roll it up and secure it with ease, and is lightweight but absorbent. Though it doesn't feature the silicone dots or fabric flap that others do, its 'suede-like' texture provides good grip – but again, some prefer to wet it down before practicing.
From an ethical perspective, Yoga Design Lab's option is made from recycled plastic bottles and uses non-toxic, water based inks for the colourful designs – a percentage of each purchase is donated to youth yoga programmes, too.
These sets are handy if you find yourself wanting to mop your brow during practice, with a miniature towel included to wipe your hands, feet or face. Place it at the top of the mat for easy reach during poses. The larger towel, at 72 inches long, can cover and fold beneath a standard yoga mat to keep it in place. Like the others, it's made from absorbent microfibre, but unfortunately the brand doesn't mention any eco-friendly practices in its description.
There are no yogi patterns here, but some vibrant colours to choose from - it can also be used on either side unlike some of the other choices on the market. Some shoppers have reported trouble washing these towels, so care needs to be taken with detergents and temperature. The company offer a 'Namaste' warranty however, and will replace any unsatisfactory purchases.
Shandali is another reputable yoga brand, and many love the simplicity of its towel offering – made in bright block colours and admittedly, with no real bells and whistles. It doesn't have any extra features to keep it attached to the mat underneath - and some have experiencing slip and crinkling - but those that 'float' between postures may not find that an issue.
Again, this is more effective when wet, and may need spraying before practice. With its soft, cushiony material, we reckon this one is a better option for those who favour comfort and absorbency over slip-proof qualities. It is big enough to be tucked underneath a standard yoga mat, though, and is a good starter option.