10 Best Yoga Towels | April 2017

We spent 28 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top selections for this wiki. If Bharadvaja’s twist, downward-facing dog and upward salute mean something to you, then you might need one of these fast-drying yoga towels. They're designed to lie on top of your mat to improve grip and traction, and can also be used to wipe away sweat during your workout. They are also much lighter and thinner than regular towels, so they fit in a gym bag easily. Skip to the best yoga towel on Amazon.
10 Best Yoga Towels | April 2017
Overall Rank: 9
Best Mid-Range
★★★
Overall Rank: 1
Best High-End
★★★★★
Overall Rank: 7
Best Inexpensive
★★★
10
The Yoga Mate features beautifully accented stitching, so you'll have the most fashionable workout area in your class without breaking the bank. It's available in a wide range of colors and even in a matching hand-sized counterpart.
  • fits on top of standard-sized mats
  • designed for quick sweat absorption
  • tends to move during stretches
Brand Yoga Mate
Model pending
Weight pending
Rating 3.6 / 5.0
9
Extend the life of your mat and protect yourself from bacteria with the Youphoria Microfiber. At 72 inches long, it offers plenty of stretching room, and it's available in 11 different color combinations so you can be sure there's one that'll help you find your center.
  • thick fabric won't curl at corners
  • extremely absorbent and quick drying
  • not particularly slip-resistant
Brand Youphoria Yoga
Model pending
Weight pending
Rating 4.0 / 5.0
8
Get a free PDF copy of "Yoga for Beginners" when you purchase the Shandali GoSweat, which weighs much less than a standard mat, yet still provides a comfortable platform for poses and stretching routines. It's available in eight soothing colors.
  • provides a slip-free foundation
  • colors won't bleed in the wash
  • feels a bit thin
Brand Shandali
Model pending
Weight pending
Rating 4.0 / 5.0
7
Get your downward dog on with YogaRat Microfiber, available in three mat-length sizes to perfectly suit your needs. A range of colors lets you subtly express your personality as you embark on your spiritual journey and sweat your troubles away.
  • can be machine-washed and dried
  • textured weave prevents slipping
  • tends to hold odors
Brand YogaRat
Model pending
Weight pending
Rating 3.6 / 5.0
6
The Gaiam Grippy dries in half the time of cotton, and the dual tone design ensures you'll never work out on the wrong side. Its top layer consists of a hypoallergenic microfiber and the bottom is nonslip PVC, so you can focus on centering and strengthening yourself.
  • available in 7 color combinations
  • can be used on its own without a mat
  • needs to be washed separately
Brand Gaiam
Model 05-61345
Weight 1.3 pounds
Rating 4.2 / 5.0
5
The Fit Spirit Microfiber includes a matching hand towel to wipe away sweat after class or even as you exercise. It's great for travel and can also double as a bathroom floor mat thanks to it absorbent and quick-drying material.
  • very soft with a plush feel
  • great value for the price
  • smells a bit like plastic
Brand Fit Spirit
Model pending
Weight pending
Rating 4.4 / 5.0
4
If you care as much about the environment as you do about your body, then the Zen Active Nonslip is the right choice for you. The materials used, the production process, and even the packaging are all extremely eco-friendly.
  • comfortable waffle-knit fabric
  • lifetime guarantee against tears
  • tends to bunch underneath you
Brand Zen Active
Model pending
Weight 1.1 pounds
Rating 4.5 / 5.0
3
With the Aurorae Microfiber you can choose from nine different color options to get just the right one for your personal style. Made from a unique blend of polyester and polyamide, it can be machine washed without losing its color or softness.
  • lightweight and easy to roll up
  • provides a slip-free workout surface
  • won't bunch up during stretches
Brand Aurorae
Model pending
Weight pending
Rating 4.7 / 5.0
2
Stop worrying about sweat and instead center your mind and body when you take the nontoxic, soft, durable Yoga Design Lab Eco to your next session. It looks great, with a non-fading, water-based print and plush cushioning to keep you comfortable while you stretch.
  • durable extra-strength whipstitching
  • dries in mere minutes
  • available in 11 colorful designs
Brand Yoga Design Lab
Model pending
Weight 11.8 ounces
Rating 4.8 / 5.0
1
An easily washed, highly portable alternative to a mat, the Yogitoes Skidless keeps your hands and feet from sliding during any pose. Beautifully printed multicolor designs transport you to a soothing spiritual plane, or at least keep you fashionable as you sweat it out.
  • silicone nubs improve bottom grip
  • absorbent polyester and nylon blend
  • machine washable and dryer safe
Brand Yogitoes
Model YTRBIGSK-MOONSTONE-P-P
Weight 16 ounces
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

Buyer's Guide

What Does That Yoga Towel Really Collect?

Sweat may seem simple enough. It is the salty water on your skin that is easily absorbed by a yoga towel during your practice. The process of sweating is actually a bit more sophisticated than that and has evolved into one of the body's smartest ways to eliminate waste while simultaneously cooling itself down.

There are over 2.6 million sweat glands on the average human body and most are activated during times of physical exertion when the body heats up rapidly. Sensing that the body is overheated, the brain signals two specific sweat glands into action; the eccrine and apocrine glands. Eccrine glands are most commonly associated with sweat. They cover most of the body and open directly onto the surface of the skin. By secreting sweat onto the skin, the body cools itself back down to its desired temperature through the action of evaporating this sweat. Exercise is not the only reason the body sweats, however. Sweat may be triggered when a person is stressed, anxious, fearful, or even simply excited.

The content of sweat is a bit more complex than commonly understood. Most people understand sweat to be a mixture of sodium and water. While minerals such as sodium, chloride, and potassium do make up a large amount of sweat released by the eccrine glands, sweat also releases a great number of cellular metabolic waste from the body via the apocrine glands. These glands are generally located where there is a greater concentration of hair follicles. Areas like the scalp, underarms, and genitals contain more apocrine glands, which produce different components in their sweat.

The sweat from the apocrine glands contains all the same salts and water, but also adds in fatty acids and byproducts of the body breaking down proteins, such as ammonia and urea. Sweat is also known to contain natural antibacterial and antiviral compounds like dermcidin, which protect the skin from infection.

Oddly enough, none of the components of sweat actually smell. It is the bacteria on the surface of the skin which break down the sweat secretions and cause the scent commonly referred to as body odor. Using a yoga towel during your practice helps to remove sweat and wastes from the body before they can be broken down by the skin's bacteria, thereby reducing the smell from a workout like hot yoga.

Yoga Towels And Hot Yoga

Perhaps the greatest use for a yoga towel is in the realm of hot yoga. Professionally known as Bikram yoga after it's founder Bikram Choudhury, hot yoga is a series of 26 postures and two breathing exercises carried out over 90 minutes in a room which is heated to 40 degrees Celsius. According to Choudhury himself, Bikram yoga allows the body to best stretch and tone; relieving stress, healing chronic pain, reducing inflammation in the joints and back, and promoting weight loss.

In a hot yoga session, one thing is for certain: the body sweats profusely. Most studios opt for a soft carpet instead of the traditional hardwood floor, to reduce the impact on the body. These carpets also serve a secondary, albeit unofficial purpose. They collect copious amounts of sweat from practitioners. Many practitioners opt for closed cell foam or polyvinyl chloride mats, and sweat simply runs off of these substances and into the carpet. The result is studios which often have a semi-permanent odor to them, despite the carpets being cleaned regularly.

Yoga practitioners opt for yoga towels for two main reasons. Firstly, yoga towels add an additional layer of cushioning which is vital to a pain-free experience in a highly active Bikram routine. Yoga towels also collect sweat from the body. Those not wishing to contribute to the smell of a hot yoga studio consider yoga towels a matter of personal hygiene.

Yoga Towels Or Yoga Mats: Which Do You Need?

While hot yoga is most commonly associated with yoga towels, the truth is they are beneficial for all types of yoga practitioners. On a hardwood surface, yoga mats are used to provide cushioning against the hard floor and give the user a work space for their asanas during the class. Keeping the poses organized onto a specific space, such as a yoga mat, helps to keep both the body and mind focused, rather than worrying over positioning of the body. Yoga mats also provide the user a slip-free space for strong poses such as warrior II and downward-facing dog.

Some yoga practitioners choose to replace mats with yoga towels. In addition to providing the same cushioning and organization of a yoga mat, yoga towels are also absorbent, providing added assurance during intense Bikram or Ashtanga routines.

Both beginners and advanced practitioners can benefit from using a yoga towel in addition to their mat. The added versatility of using the two together provides unequaled comfort and safety assurance in any yogic practice designed to keep the body healthy. Rather than use one or the other, both yoga mats and yoga towels should be seen as necessary components of the modern yogi's arsenal.



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Last updated on April 24 2017 by Ezra Glenn

Ezra is a writer, photographer, creative producer, designer, and record label-operator from New York City. He's traveled around the world and ended up back where he started, though he's constantly threatening to leave again.