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Enhance Your Workout

What are Yoga Towels & Should You Get One?

Yoga enthusiasts often encounter a specialized accessory in their practice: the yoga towel. But what is a yoga towel, and is it really necessary? Unlike regular towels, these purpose-built companions are designed to enhance your yoga experience, offering superior grip, sweat absorption, and hygiene on the mat. Whether you're a beginner or an experienced yogi, we'll dive into the features of yoga towels and explore whether you might benefit from using one in your yoga sessions.

What are Yoga Towels?

Yoga towels are specialized accessories designed for use during yoga practice, particularly in hot or sweaty conditions. They are typically rectangular, thin, and made from highly absorbent materials like microfiber. These towels serve multiple purposes: they provide a hygienic barrier between the practitioner and the yoga mat, absorb sweat to prevent slipping, and offer additional cushioning and grip. Unlike regular towels, yoga towels often feature non-slip backing or corner pockets to keep them securely in place on the mat during various poses and movements. They come in different sizes to fit standard yoga mats and are easy to clean and quick to dry, making them a popular choice for frequent yoga practitioners or those who attend hot yoga classes.

Related: Yoga Rugs vs. Yoga Mats: Which Should You Use?

Should You Use a Yoga Mat or Towel?

The choice between a yoga mat and a yoga towel depends on your specific needs and practice style. Generally, a yoga mat is considered the primary equipment for most yoga practices. Mats provide cushioning, stability, and a defined space for your practice. They're especially important for poses that involve weight-bearing on hands and knees. 

However, yoga towels are often used in addition to, rather than instead of, a mat. Towels are particularly useful in hot yoga or any practice where you sweat significantly, absorbing moisture and preventing slipping. 

Yoga towels are also great for unconventional spaces. Whereas you might need an outdoor yoga mat to do your poses outside, a yoga towel is portable and flexible. In certain situations, like traveling or practicing on a beach, a yoga towel might be used alone due to its portability and versatility. 

Yoga towels can also be a great substitution if you’re practicing yoga on a softer surface. For instance, if you’re practicing yoga on a beach, a towel might be enough to keep your hands and feet in place. On a hardwood floor, you might want some more cushion. 

When Should You Use a Yoga Towel?

There are certain scenarios where you should consider using a yoga towel. Let’s take a look at some times when you should substitute the mat for the towel. 

Shared Mats

Shared yoga mats pose hygiene risks due to the accumulation of sweat, bacteria, and fungi from multiple users. Using a personal yoga towel creates a protective barrier between you and these potential contaminants, reducing the risk of skin infections or other health issues. The towel also absorbs your sweat, preventing slipping on the potentially worn or slick surface of a shared mat. By bringing a yoga towel, you ensure a clean, familiar surface for your practice, regardless of the shared mat's condition or cleanliness.

You're Sweating Heavy

If you’re a regular, you know the perils of sweating on a yoga mat. Using a yoga towel is the solution for any person who sweats heavily when they do yoga. The towel absorbs excess moisture, preventing slipping on a wet mat surface, which could lead to injuries. It maintains grip in challenging poses, allowing for better stability and form. As sweat accumulates, the towel continues to provide a dry, non-slip surface, enhancing your practice and reducing distractions caused by a slippery mat.

You Prefer Yoga Towels Over Yoga Mats

Sometimes, you might just like the feeling of a yoga towel over a yoga mat. At the end of the day, a yoga mat isn’t necessary for your classes. If you like yoga towels more, we say go for it. 

Optional: Hot Yoga Classes

If you sweat a lot, yoga towels might be one of the essential items for your next yoga class. In hot yoga classes, like Bikram yoga, temperatures can reach past 95 degrees Fahrenheit. When you’re taking a class where temperatures are intentionally raised to induce sweating, using a yoga towel becomes almost necessary. It allows you to maintain a grip during hard yoga poses where every part of your body is being used. 

Can You Use a Regular Towel? The Main Differences

Now, you might be thinking…why not just use a regular towel? Many differences make a yoga towel different from a towel you might use for swimming or a bath. 


Yoga towels are designed to match the standard length and width of yoga mats so that you can cover every yoga pose and movement. Regular towels may be too short or too bulky for you to effectively use. If you ever look at a regular towel, most of these will only cover half of your body length.

Considering a regular yoga mat can stretch out to 68-72 inches, you’ll need a towel that can match the mat’s dimensions. 

Sweat Absorbency

Yoga towels differ from regular towels in several key ways, all designed to enhance your yoga practice. They're typically made from microfiber, which makes them more absorbent, quick-drying, and odor-resistant than standard cotton towels. Yoga towels are longer, usually 68-72 inches, to cover your entire yoga mat, and they're thinner to maintain close contact with the mat. 

They often feature a non-slip surface or silicone dots for better grip, which improves when the towel is damp with sweat. This grip, combined with their high absorbency and ability to distribute moisture quickly, makes them ideal for sweaty practices like hot yoga. Unlike regular towels, yoga towels maintain their effectiveness when wet and are built to withstand frequent use and washing without losing their properties. All these features work together to provide a stable, hygienic, and comfortable surface for your yoga practice, regardless of how intense it gets.


Yoga towels are specifically designed to provide superior grip during yoga practice, especially when wet. They often feature a textured surface or small silicone nubs on one side that grip the yoga mat, preventing slipping during poses. This grip improves when the towel becomes damp with sweat. In contrast, regular towels become slippery when wet, which can be dangerous during yoga. Yoga towels also typically have a softer side for skin contact. This dual-surface design allows for stability on the mat while maintaining comfort for the practitioner. Regular towels lack these grip-enhancing features, making them unsuitable for yoga, particularly for styles involving sweat or dynamic movements.

How to Find the Best Yoga Towel For You

If you’re looking for a yoga mat towel, then you need to consider some factors like the differences we just highlighted. Here are some things we recommend you look for when buying a yoga towel:


A moisture-wicking towel helps regulate your body temperature more effectively, preventing that clammy feeling that can be distracting during your practice. Unlike regular towels, which may leave you feeling damp and uncomfortable, a good moisture-wicking yoga towel allows you to focus on your movements and breathing without the distraction of excess sweat. This improved comfort and safety can lead to a more enjoyable and effective yoga experience overall.

Length & Size

Focus on getting the right size to match your yoga mat and practice needs. Look for a towel that's at least as long as your mat, typically 68-72 inches, and wide enough to cover it fully, usually 24-26 inches. This ensures you have coverage for all poses, even when fully stretched out. If you have a larger mat or prefer extra space, consider an oversized towel. For hot yoga or dynamic practices, a slightly larger towel can be beneficial. Some people like their towels to extend a bit beyond the mat for wiping sweat. 

The key is to choose a size that stays in place during your practice and provides consistent grip and absorption across your entire mat. A well-fitting towel enhances your yoga experience by offering reliable support throughout your session.

Yoga Towel Material

When purchasing a yoga towel, the material is crucial for performance and comfort. Look for towels made primarily from microfiber, which offers excellent absorbency, quick-drying properties, and durability. 

Some towels blend microfiber with other materials like nylon or polyester to enhance specific qualities. Avoid cotton, as it retains moisture and becomes heavy when wet. Seek out materials labeled as moisture-wicking and quick-drying to keep you comfortable during practice. Many high-quality yoga towels also incorporate antimicrobial treatments to resist odor-causing bacteria, which is especially useful for hot yoga. Some eco-conscious brands offer towels made from recycled materials or sustainable fabrics. The ideal material should feel soft against your skin while providing a good grip on your mat, even when damp with sweat. It should also be easy to clean and maintain its properties after repeated washing. 


A quality yoga towel will typically run you anywhere between $20 to $50, depending on the brand, material, and size. For a yoga towel like Yoga Strong’s, which uses non-slip microfiber suede and silicone nubs for extra grip, you’ll be paying a little more since they utilize higher quality materials. 

Smell & Material Resistance

When choosing a yoga towel, focus on microfiber materials for their excellent absorbency and quick-drying properties. These towels often blend microfiber with nylon or polyester for added benefits. Look for moisture-wicking and quick-drying labels to ensure comfort during practice. Many yoga towels include antimicrobial treatments for odor resistance, which is crucial for managing sweat-related smells, especially in hot yoga. Avoid cotton as it retains moisture. Some brands offer eco-friendly options made from recycled or sustainable materials. The ideal towel should feel soft, provide a good grip even when wet, resist odors, and maintain its qualities after washing.


When buying a yoga towel, focus on durability to ensure it lasts through many practices. Look for high-quality microfiber or blended materials that can handle frequent use and washing. Check for strong stitching along the edges to prevent fraying. Choose towels with colorfast dyes to avoid fading. Read user reviews to see how the towel holds up over time. Some brands offer durability guarantees, which can be a good sign. Avoid towels with fragile features like tassels. Look for descriptions mentioning resistance to pilling and long-lasting grip. A durable towel should keep its absorbency, quick-drying ability, and non-slip properties even after many washes. While durable options might cost more upfront, they often save money in the long run by lasting longer.

Related: Yoga Mat vs. Pilates Mat

Find the Best Yoga Towel For You (Conclusion)

Investing in a high-quality yoga towel can significantly enhance your yoga practice by providing stability, hygiene, and comfort. Whether you practice hot yoga or prefer a non-slip surface, everyone should look into investing in a yoga towel. It can be a great add-on to your yoga mat or act as a portable replacement.