If you’re an avid yoga practitioner or just beginning but don’t want to break your rhythm, there are many ways to bring yoga with you on a trip. It starts with bringing your mat along.
There are many reasons why it’s important to own your own yoga mat (yes, hygiene is one of them) but there are other reasons as well. If you practice yoga and you’re planning to travel, you definitely want to bring your yoga mat along with you.
You might be wondering how to travel with a yoga mat? Bringing your yoga mat along on a trip is easier than you might think.
There are plenty of portable yoga mats designed especially for travel. That means you won’t have to make tough decisions about economizing on other travel items just to bring your yoga mat along.
Read on to find out how to fly with a yoga mat.
Why should I bring my own mat with me?
First things first. Why would you bring a yoga mat with you on a trip? There are lots of reasons. Let’s start with the obvious one: hygiene.
While borrowing mats from fitness centers and yoga studios has always been a bit risky (who knows how often they sanitize them or who used them last??) in the age of Covid, it’s more important than ever to be careful about exposing yourself to someone else’s germs.
When you use your own yoga mat, you limit your exposure to other people’s germs, reducing the risk of spending your vacation or business trip laid up sick in bed.
Another reason is that many yogis develop a personal relationship with their mats. Their mats have seen them through some challenging postures, held space for them during failures and triumphs in class, served as a seat for their meditation practice and, of course, allowed them to rest deeply in Savasana at the end of practice.
So, when they travel someplace, they want to take their own mats with them and continue the journey of yoga together.
Also, if you go to the effort of packing and bringing your mat with you, you’re more likely to continue your practice. Every yogi knows that consistent practice is the key to progress, and you don’t have to let travel interfere with the development of your practice.
Another reason to bring your mat is that yoga can be a great way to relieve tension and stress, calm the mind and keep the body limber and strong. Maintaining your practice while traveling can help you stay centered in a strange environment and help you stay balanced and focused if you’re traveling for business.
And finally, another reason you should bring your own yoga mat with you when you travel is that there’s no reason not to: with so many lightweight travel yoga mat options out there, you don’t need to sacrifice space or luggage weight (more on this later).
Where can I use my yoga mat when I travel?
The great thing about yoga mats is their versatility. You can use them virtually anywhere. If you happen to be stuck on a long layover, you can even break out your yoga mat in the airport and practice some self-care. There are even some airports that have yoga rooms especially designed for that.
There’s nothing better for the body than to roll out your yoga mat on your hotel room floor and get to stretching after a long journey. You don’t need a live class to practice yoga.
Even some light stretching can be so good for you after a long flight. Also, there are so many virtual yoga classes and videos these days that it’s easy to set up your laptop of cell in front of your mat and do a guided practice in your hotel.
If you’re looking for an in-person class, many cities and towns around the world today have yoga studios, so you can join a live class and bring your own yoga mat with you. Many yogis love the experience of getting to try out new classes and meet other yogis on their travels.
If you’re going someplace tropical, practicing yoga on or near the beach can be exhilarating. If you’re going to practice on the beach, bring a towel or two to place under your yoga mat to avoid getting sand all over it as it can be quite a task to clean all that sand off your mat later!
How to pack a yoga mat
Should I fold or should I roll? Most yoga mats are designed to be rolled, plain and simple. If you fold them, yes, they will fit neatly at the bottom of your suitcase, however, the creases might take a long time to uncrease.
Depending on the material of your mat, folding it for a long period of time might cause permanent damage. That being said, there are some great portable yoga mats that are specifically designed for folding.
If you happen to buy one of these, that will answer the question of how to fold a yoga mat for travel. Foldable mats fold right up and can be stored conveniently in your suitcase.
However, it’s not difficult to bring a rolled mat with you on a trip. Most check-in luggage is long enough to accommodate a full-sized yoga mat. If you roll it up and store it on the bottom of your suitcase, you can pack the rest of your items around it.
For backpackers, a rolled mat should fit horizontally in your backpack. You could also store your rolled mat in a yoga tote and bring it as a carry-on. It will easily fit in the overhead bin of any plane.
The pros and cons of getting a travel yoga mat
You may be thinking of investing in a travel yoga mat for your trip. There are pros and cons to consider before buying one.
Let’s switch things up and start with the cons:
- There’s nothing like practicing with your regular mat. This is the mat you know and love. It feels like home and when you’re far away from home, it can be a comfort to have the mat you use for your regular practice with you.
- Some travel mats are so thin it’s like not using a mat at all. If you’re used to having a thicker, more sturdy mat, be aware that switching to your travel mat will take some getting used to.
- As travel mats are generally thinner than regular ones, you might miss the extra padding, especially if you have sensitive joints.
- It’s an extra cost and you may not see the benefit of the investment if you don’t travel often.
And now for the pros:
- The lightweight mat will take up less space and less precious pounds than your regular mat would. Also, there are some foldable travel mats for easier packing.
- Travel mats are designed to be practical and easy to carry on the go, so they won’t slow you down like the heavier, more cumbersome regular mats.
- Trips can be unpredictable – your luggage could get lost or something could get damaged or stolen. It wouldn’t be as heartbreaking if something happened to your travel mat as if it happened to your regular mat.
- Most brands’ travel mats are significantly less expensive than their regular mats.
Ideas for travel yoga mats
Most major yoga mat brands produce a travel version of their mats. The best travel yoga mat is both comfortable and lightweight. If you’re in the market for a portable yoga mat, here are our picks:
Gaiam’s Foldable Yoga Mat – Finally, a foldable yoga mat! This lightweight foldable mat was designed for traveling as it folds up into a 10×12” square to be packed neatly into the bottom of your suitcase. Made with standard PVC material (the original yoga sticky mat material) and weighing only 2lbs, making it one of the most lightweight options out there.
>>> Gaiam Yoga Mats on Amazon <<<
Mikkoa – This is like a hybrid of a yoga mat and a yoga towel. Made from vegan suede, it has a soft towel-like surface that’s ideal for hot yoga classes where you sweat a lot. Underneath is a natural rubber, which helps maintain grip. It’s machine washable and foldable and gives you 10 extra centimeters of length from standard mats at only 2lbs.
>>> Mikkoa Yoga Mats on Amazon <<<
Liforme Travel Yoga Mat – Liforme offers a variety of travel mats with different styles. Their claim to fame is their alignment lines on the mat’s surface that help students maintain proper alignment throughout their practice. Made from natural rubber, Liforme values sustainability, comfort and durability, and their travel mats are no different. Heavier than the standard travel mat at 3.5lbs, if you have sensitive joints or just want a lighter than standard mat but don’t want to sacrifice comfort, this would be the mat to choose.
>>> Liforme Yoga Mats on Amazon <<<
Traveling with a yoga mat doesn’t have to be a burden. Lightweight and foldable mats offer convenient alternatives to bulkier, heavier mats.
Even the non-foldable mats roll up easily and fit in most check-in luggage. You don’t have to stop practicing on your trip just because you didn’t bring your mat. Nor do you have to risk exposing yourself to germs by borrowing mats from gyms and studios.
For yogis at any stage in their practice, traveling with a yoga mat is worth the effort. Whether you bring your regular mat or invest in a travel mat, you can easily bring your practice with you while traveling.