Yoga Mat: Which Side Up? Unveiling the Secret to a Perfect Practice

Yoga Mat: Which Side Up? Unveiling the Secret to a Perfect Practice

When it comes to practicing yoga, having the right yoga mat is vital. But have you ever wondered which side of the mat should face down? If you’ve been practicing yoga for a while, you may recall seeing people in class flipping their mats before laying them down. Today, we’ll unveil the secret to a perfect yoga practice by answering the question: Which side of the yoga mat should be facing up?

The Sticky Situation: Traction and Grip

One of the essential features of a yoga mat is its ability to offer traction and grip, preventing you from slipping or sliding during your practice. This feature is especially crucial when you’re attempting challenging poses or maintaining balance. The secret lies in the material your mat is made of.

Most standard yoga mats have a smooth or polished side and a textured side. The smooth side is typically designed to provide comfort and easy cleaning, while the textured side offers enhanced grip and traction. Therefore, it is recommended to place the textured side of your yoga mat facing up, allowing your hands and feet to have better contact with the surface.

However, not all yoga mats have a clear distinction between a smooth and textured side. In such cases, you can try running your hand over both sides to determine which one offers better traction. It is crucial to choose the side that feels slightly rougher or stickier for improved grip.

Using Your Yoga Mat Outdoors

Outdoor yoga enthusiasts may have additional considerations when it comes to choosing which side of the mat to use. If you’re practicing in a grassy or sandy area, using the smooth side of your mat can help prevent dirt or debris from sticking to it. However, if you’re practicing on a hard surface, using the textured side facing up is still recommended for optimal grip.

Table: Pros and Cons of Different Yoga Mat Sides

Smooth Side Facing Up Textured Side Facing Up
Easy to clean Enhanced grip and traction
Prevents dirt or debris from sticking Improved contact with hands and feet
Other Factors to Consider

While placing the textured side of your yoga mat facing up is generally recommended, it’s important to consider other factors that might influence your decision, such as your personal preferences or specific yoga styles.

Some practitioners prefer the smooth side facing up during slower, more static practices like Yin yoga or meditation, as it offers a soothing, softness and a sense of stability. On the other hand, dynamic practices like Vinyasa or Ashtanga yoga may require the enhanced grip of the textured side to support faster transitions and stronger poses.


What if my yoga mat doesn’t have a clear distinction between both sides?

If your yoga mat doesn’t have an obvious smooth or textured side, try running your hand over both sides to feel for slight differences in texture or stickiness. Choose the side that feels more tactile and provides better grip.

Can I use a towel on top of my yoga mat for extra grip?

Yes, using a yoga towel or a grip-enhancing towel can provide additional traction, even if you have the textured side of your mat facing up. The towel absorbs sweat and offers a non-slip surface.

How often should I clean my yoga mat?

It is recommended to clean your yoga mat regularly, especially if you practice frequently or sweat heavily during your sessions. You can wipe it down with a solution of water and mild soap or use specialized yoga mat cleaners.

Remember, the direction in which you place your yoga mat can greatly impact your practice. By choosing the right side, whether it’s the smooth or textured side facing up, you can enhance your grip, stability, and overall yoga experience. Happy practicing!