Practitioners of Bikram, or hot yoga, will need to put a little extra thought into the yoga mat they use. This is because the elevated temperature in the room can significantly increase perspiration, making a standard yoga mat slippery, with less traction. A Bikram yoga mat aims to address this problem, typically by placing an extra absorbent layer on the top of the mat to absorb sweat, and still provide grip and traction. To choose the best Bikram yoga mat, you will generally want to look for one with this extra feature, as well as one that is made of eco-friendly, nontoxic materials.
Most yoga mats are the same size and thickness, so these are generally not things you will need to consider when purchasing a yoga mat unless you are specifically looking for a thicker one with additional cushioning. Instead, you will want to consider the extra features of a yoga mat that might make it more effective during a Bikram yoga class. A Bikram yoga mat will often include additional layers on the top and bottom; a soft top layer to absorb sweat and make it easier to maintain grip, and a bottom layer with extra traction to prevent the mat from sliding on the floor. The middle layer will generally just look like a standard yoga mat.
Consider also how you will clean the Bikram yoga mat. It is a good idea to select a yoga mat that is machine washable, or which at least allows the top layer to be removed to be run through the wash, and for the bottom layers to be wiped down. In addition, choosing a yoga mat made of eco-friendly materials is not only better for the environment, but ensures you will not be breathing in any chemicals during your yoga practice. Natural rubber, hemp, or jute are some common natural yoga mat materials, but there are some other options available as well that are also easy to wash.
Rather than purchasing a separate Bikram yoga mat, some people will simply purchase a yoga towel to go on top of their standard yoga mat. These towels grip the mat on the bottom and add extra traction and sweat absorption on the top. They are easy to simply roll up with the mat, and then throw in the washing machine. For people who practice a number of different styles of yoga, this can be the most versatile choice for different types of classes.