Bikram yoga and hot yoga are practiced in rooms ranging from 95 to 105 degrees Fahrenheit. Not surprisingly, practitioners sweat profusely during the course of a typical class. Unlike regular yoga mats, yoga towels are thinner mats made with microfiber materials to absorb sweat. Yoga towels are designed to be layered on top of an existing yoga mat; they are too thin to use alone on a hard surface.
The underside of the towel is designed to grip the yoga mat for better traction. That said, yoga towels aren't just suggested for hot yoga devotees. They are also recommended for people who sweat heavily in regular yoga classes or those who want a hygienic layer between themselves and a rental mat.
By far, reviewers say the best option is the Yogitoes Skidless Premium Towel (*Est. $50). This yoga towel, which is designed to be layered on top of any yoga mat, gets high marks from experts and rave reviews at Amazon.com. The polyester and nylon towel sports silicone nubs on its underside to keep it from sliding or bunching during poses, and its microfiber surface effectively absorbs sweat and provides a stable surface during hot-temperature yoga classes. The towel comes in a variety of colors and designs, and it measures 24 inches by 68 inches in the standard size or 25 inches by 80 inches to cover extra-large yoga mats.
The Yogitoes Skidless Premium Towel gets excellent reviews from professionals and users alike, with most saying the towel is an essential for any yoga devotee who regularly works up a sweat. The Yogitoes yoga towel enjoys a 4.5-star rating after about 600 reviews at Amazon.com. Users say the towel does an excellent job of preventing slipping, and owners say they can hold poses longer and try more advanced positions thanks to the stability it provides.
"Hot yoga is impossible without this. Since I received this I can now focus on my session instead of slipping and sliding," says one owner. The Yogitoes Skidless Premium Towel also gets high marks from testers at Health magazine for its stability and support. It resists bunching and moving. "In short, it supported me beautifully and literally through a pretty tough class," says one tester.
Several users say the Yogitoes isn't truly nonslip until it is slightly damp. A number of reviewers say they still have problems with slipping when the towel is dry, so they recommend lightly misting the towel with water before class starts. The Yogitoes Skidless Premium Towel is machine washable, but reviewers caution that the darker colors bleed easily after repeated washings.
The Padapath Hemp Nonslip Eco Yoga Towel (*Est. $70), which bills itself as the eco-friendly alternative to Yogitoes, earns one recommendation. It is made from all-natural hemp, which has rough fibers to increase traction. The towel measures 24 inches by 70 inches and is machine washable.
The author of Om Shanti: A Yoga Blog gives the Padapath Hemp yoga towel a grade of A for its eco-friendly materials. He says the towel provides a good nonslip surface, but it may need to be moistened first. "Initially, I found myself slipping on the dry towel, but by sprinkling some water on it, I was eventually able to get the fabric to grip a lot more," he writes.
Many manufacturers used to make yoga mats designed specifically for hot yoga, but they didn't catch on and many of those mats have been discontinued. Experts advise fans of hot and Bikram yoga to look for a mat that will absorb sweat easily, such as those made with open-cell construction or natural fibrous materials.
PopSugar: Fitness recommends the Barefoot Yoga Original Eco Yoga Mat (*Est. $75) for hot yoga, since it is made from jute and natural rubber and the textured surface provides plenty of grip. Mats like these may prevent slips and falls, but they can be hard to clean because they readily absorb sweat and grime. Since yoga towels provide good grip while keeping your yoga mat clean, experts say they are a great choice for hot yoga.