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Although the yoga mat is the most well-known piece of yoga equipment in the world, it's far from being the only prop that yogis use during their yoga practice session.

Yoga, like all other exercises and practices, evolved. While it was originally done on tiger skin or grass, cotton rugs and, later, mats are now increasingly popular.

These props can help yogis improve their daily practice by helping to make it safer and promoting growth and development. When practicing yoga, a yoga rug or mat is a vital prop; however, yogis disagree over which is better.

The debate over yoga rug vs yoga mat has raged on for years. For some yoga practitioner, there is usually some slight confusion about whether to purchase a yoga mat or a yoga rug.

In reality, what's better is subject to your specific requirements, as how much you sweat, your yoga practice intensity, weight, and other factors should all be considered when deciding what's best to purchase.

So, what exactly is the distinction between a yoga rug and a yoga mat? There are numerous distinctions between mats and rugs.

Continue reading to learn about the differences and similarities between yoga rugs and yoga mats, as well as some helpful hints for selecting the best yoga mat or rug for your needs.

What is a yoga mat?

What Is A Yoga Mat

A yoga mat is a simple piece of equipment designed specifically from a non-slip material to support yoga practice by providing more grip, traction, adequate padding, and balance whilst remaining light enough to carry.

They are thicker, which can make practicing easier on your hips and knees. Yoga mats are widely used for yoga practice and could be found in almost all yoga studios or yogis' homes.

A yoga mat can either be as thin as 2mm or as thick as 9mm, with the thicker mats offering more extra padding against the ground and being far more durable, but at the expense of portability and weight.

What truly distinguishes mats is very much the material used in making them. A traditional yoga mat can be made of many different materials, including cork, polyvinyl chloride (PVC), synthetic and natural rubber, hemp, jute, and many other long-lasting materials.

Benefits of a Yoga Mat

Benefits Of A Yoga Mat

1.     Yoga mats are more cushioned

Padding is one of the significant advantages of most yoga mats over yoga rugs. A yoga mat can range in thickness from 2mm to 9mm or above.

This extra padding adds cushioning to your movements and could be more friendly to your hips and knees than yoga rugs would be.

2.     Yoga mats provide a greater deal of grip

The second major advantage of a yoga mat is the more grip it provides. Yoga mats do have sticky surface; that's how you easily distinguish between an exercise mat and a yoga mat.

Nothing is more infuriating than eventually perfecting a challenging yoga posture only to slip in the middle of a flow.

The best yoga mats will prevent your sweaty hands and feet from sliding around while practicing, which can happen while using a yoga rug, particularly on a slippery floor.

3.     There are more yoga mat options available

Yoga mats are far more prevalent than yoga rugs, at least in modern societies, so there is a wider range of options. There are numerous mat materials to select from, each with a different level of thickness.

Many traditional yoga mats are well-suited for travel, whether you are carrying it to your yoga class or taking it with you on vacation.

What is a Yoga Rug?

What Is A Yoga Rug

Yoga rugs are an older, more traditional type of floor mat for practicing yoga. They are far more absorbent, made of more natural cotton or jute fibers, and better suited for hot yoga and Ashtanga practices.

Yoga rugs were being used by yogis to add another layer of support between their knees or feet and the ground because yoga was originally designed to be practiced without a mat.

Most beginners will use a mat, but certain poses, such as upward dog, downward dog, and movements, such as jump backs, can benefit from the use of a rug.

Yoga was traditionally practiced on rugs made of animal skin and other animal hides by ancient yogis. While rugs continue to be popular in many regions of the globe, the West is just rediscovering the benefits of yoga rugs.

Benefits of a Yoga Rug

Benefits Of A Yoga Rug

1.     A yoga mat is a more traditional option

The main advantage of using a yoga rug instead of a yoga mat is that it's quite traditional. Above all, yoga is a spiritual practice, not a sport, so the tradition is important.

Yoga rugs have been in use far longer than mats. It is even preferable if you can find a hand-woven design.

2.     A yoga rug is typically more absorbent

When attempting a more difficult yoga practice, things can get sweaty, and a yoga mat can quickly become slippery. A good yoga rug, on the other hand, will easily absorb sweat or moisture and help keep your practice dry.

3.     Yoga rugs are ideal for jump backs, forward bends, and upward dog

Although yoga mats provide better grip, this isn't always desirable. Some Ashtanga yoga movements, such as jumping backward and forwards, necessitate you to scoot your feet just as you build strength.

4.     It is extremely easy to scoot your feet on a yoga rug without cutting them

Other yoga styles, such as power, Mysore, and hot yoga, may benefit from a yoga rug as well. The upward dog is a popular pose; a rug allows you to slide your feet into their proper position, whereas a sticky mat does not.

5.     A rug's cotton feels more natural

The touch of cotton under one’s palms while performing each yoga poses is undeniably superior to the plastic feel of a mat. A cotton yoga rug not only softer, but it also feels more natural and like you're closer to nature.

Differences Between a Yoga Mat and a Yoga Rug

Differences Between A Yoga Mat And A Yoga Rug

1.    Portability

Yoga mats have the added benefit of being quite portable than yoga rugs. What tends to make yoga rugs a great choice for durability can also make them a poor choice for portability, as their dense nature makes them stressful to wrap up, making them heavier for transport.

Yoga mats, on the other hand, can be easily rolled and lowered into your bag, or with the use of a yoga strap for hassle-free carriage.

Yoga mats also are available in a variety of sizes, allowing you to select a yoga mat that best suits your travel demand, whether it's simply from home to the gym, flying, or requiring a yoga mat in a guesthouse to relax.

2.    Durability

Durability may well be essential to you if you are the type that is rough with your yoga props or practices a strenuous form of yoga. If so, investing in a yoga rug could be a wise decision.

Yoga rugs have been shown to last longer than rubber mats, foam mats and and other types of mats. Yoga rugs are produced from woven materials, therefore you can clean them in your washer without worry, giving them a proper care and extending their lifespan.

While some yoga mats can be machine washed, almost all require you to brush dirt and sweat off your mat by hand, which not only is time-consuming and inconvenient but also decrease the yoga mat's durability and resiliency.

Furthermore, because yoga rugs are not crafted with chemicals or plastics, but with materials such as sheepskin and cotton material, which can withstand far more misuse than natural rubber or even PVC, yoga rugs can resist wear and tear while maintaining their shape.

Certain mats, like cork mats, can contest this durability, but it is not always the obvious choice.

3.    Variety

There is a greater variety of yoga mats readily accessible for your needs, with a wide range of options from which to choose.

There is an affordable option for your lifestyle, whether you want an eco-friendly yoga mat, a thick yoga mat for sensitive knees, a cheap yoga mat, or a thin yoga mat for travel.

Yoga rugs have fewer options because they are limited to all-natural woven materials.

The larger diversity of yoga mats is beneficial depending on what type of yoga you desire. A non-slip yoga mat may be required for hot yoga, whereas the physical structure of Ashtanga yoga may necessitate a further supportive yoga mat.

4.    Material

Material difference

Yoga rugs and yoga mats are made from a variety of materials. Yoga rugs are frequently woven as an eco-friendly option, generally with organic cotton.

Most yoga rugs are handwoven, embroidered, and dyed by skilled craftsmen, giving a natural feel comparable to a rug you'd find in your living room.

Yoga mats, on the other hand, can be made from a variety of materials to serve a variety of purposes. Several yoga mats are eco-friendly, with the base layer made entirely of natural rubber.

However, many yoga mats are made of low-cost synthetic materials such as TPE or foam, which are neither biodegradable nor recyclable.

There are also yoga mats using other eco-friendly materials, including cork or jute and are designed to reflect the nature of a yoga rug.

5.    Sustainability

Most yogis are environmentally conscious and would like their yoga practice to be as environmentally friendly as possible. Yoga rugs might well be the best alternative to many mats for yogis concerned with sustainability.

Rugs are typically made of organic materials like cotton, which means they are less environmentally harmful and will eventually decompose.

Many mats do not decompose in this manner; typically made of plastics like PVC mat, such mats can take time to decompose.

6.    Thickness and padding

Thickness And Padding difference

Many Yogis value the level of padding on their equipment, especially those who are beginning to recover from an injury. While it depends on the brand and material, in most instances, a yoga mat will provide more padding and thickness than a rug.

Although the thickness of many yoga mats could vary from 1mm for just a travel mat to 6mm for a foam mat. This indicates that yoga mats are generally thicker than yoga rugs.

When practicing yoga, you should aim for an alignment of cushion and thickness. If you have too much cushion, you could feel off balance, and if you have too little, your yoga mat will not provide enough support.

The yoga strong mat's natural rubber gives adequate padding at 3-5 mm and also has a higher density than the normal yoga mats.

Yoga rugs cannot provide similar thickness/padding to yoga mats as they are typically woven by hand rather than by machine. Thicker mats are more widely accessible than thicker rugs, getting extra-padded mats is also more accessible.

7.    Yoga poses

Depending on the style of yoga you enjoy practicing, you might choose to go for a rug or mat. A yoga rug is ideal for practices that require quick transitions from one asana to another.

This is highly prevalent in hot yoga, ashtanga, power yoga, and Mysore-style yoga practices.

Frequently Asked Questions

What type of yoga mat or rug is best for my practice?

The major difference between yoga mat types is the material used. This determines durability, weight, and comfort. To determine which mat is best for you, you must first understand the properties of the various materials and the yoga pose you enjoy the most.

Can I use a yoga mat as a rug?

Yes, of course. A yoga mat can be used as a rug since they serve the same function.

What thickness of yoga mat is best on carpet?

The average yoga mat is 3-4mm thick, which is fine for hard floors but it’s too thin for carpets since they tend to slide and bunch up. Instead, the ideal thickness for a yoga mat in a carpeted area is around 6mm.

If you do have knee problems or prefer extra cushioning in general, you may be inclined to go a little thicker, but then that level of padding, combined with the soft texture of your carpet, may make it more difficult to stay balanced.

Can a Yoga rug and a mat be used together?

Yes, you can use a yoga mat and a yoga rug together. The rug is typically placed on top of the mat. The rug will give you a natural feel, and its absorbent properties will benefit you. Meanwhile, the mat beneath will provide cushioning for your hips and knees.

Conclusion - Yoga Mat vs Yoga Rug

Choosing between a yoga rug and a yoga mat to aid your practice can be difficult because there are so many differences between the two.

They will, indeed, provide different experiences, which could have a significant impact on how you feel while flowing.

Nonetheless, both have a stand in yoga and are valuable additions to anyone's practice. Rugs, even though they are older, still have several advantages, especially for advanced yogis who would like to challenge themselves. Yoga rugs are more traditional, long-lasting, and natural.

Mats do provide padding, support, and anti-skid and anti-slip features, and thus are, of course, great for newbies, which is among the several reasons they have become attributed with yoga as its popularity grows.

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