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What is a Travel Yoga Mat?

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  • Written By: Tricia Ellis-Christensen
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 28 November 2016
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Many people who are regular practitioners of yoga don’t want to give up their practice when they travel. The standard yoga mat can create a problem for those who need to travel light and must fit all items in one piece of carry-on luggage. In general, yoga mats are fairly lightweight, especially if they’re made of foam, but they still may not be light or thin enough to easily pack. People may solve this issue by purchasing a travel yoga mat, which is typically lighter and thinner than standard mats.

Like standard mats, the travel yoga mat comes in numerous materials. Some are made of durable types of foam, and others are made of materials like very thin cotton. Typically, these mats weight about one to two pounds (.45-91 kg) and fold more compactly than do standard mats. Most can easily fit in carry-on suitcases without creating too much bulk.

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Sometimes people who don’t require much cushioning use a travel yoga mat for all yoga practice. This isn’t ideal for everyone because these mats are typically less than a half-inch (1.27 cm) thick. Lack of appropriate cushioning may not make these mats a good choice for other matwork programs, especially pilates. The amount of matwork that takes place on the back may result in pain for those people who are working out on hard surfaces with inadequate cushioning. Pilates mats are typically a little thicker than yoga mats, and it may not be a good idea to get an extremely thin mat for significant pilates work.

For those who do require some additional cushioning, packing a travel yoga mat or pilates mat in a suitcase isn’t always possible. There are some ways to bring a slightly heavier mat along. Many companies that sell mats also sell numerous carrying devices with them that can help fully protect the mat and have space to carry additional equipment. Though this may mean checking a bag when flying, the additional hassle or possible expense of this can be worth it if it means having a comfortable mat for workouts at travel destinations.

It isn’t always necessary to buy a travel yoga mat, especially if traveling by car. Many yoga fans merely bring their favorite mat along, and do so by packing it in a protective bag. Another very easy carrying device for yoga mats are yoga slings. These feature handles but only fit around the center part of a rolled up mat. They make it convenient for porting yoga mats to and from classes, and mats can be packed this way for travel. Yoga slings aren’t always practical for thicker pilates mats, and some may cause deep grooves in heavier mats, which ruins them.

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