By Su Reid-St. John
One of my fitness-expert friends recently urged me to check out the yogitoes SKIDLESS yoga towel, saying that it had changed her yoga practice (and no, she's not on the company's payroll). How could I not check it out after a recommendation like that?
A yogitoes towel is meant to be laid out on top of a yoga mat, and has two purposes: to keep you from slipping, and to protect you from germs. The top side of the towel is soft; the bottom side, which touches your mat, is covered with little silicone nubs to keep it in place.
When I took a yogitoes towel (the "Water" style, from their Chinese Element collection) to my weekly yoga class and spread it on top of my mat, I felt a bit prudish, like one of those moms who won't put her kid in a shopping cart without some elaborate seat cover. And I was a bit skeptical: The top of the towel is super-soft, and I was sure I would slip right out of my first downward dog and land on my face. (America's Funniest Yoga Videos, anyone?)
But that didn't happen. First down dog, no slippage. On to plank, then up dog—and my hands and feet stayed solidly in place. I began to notice as class went on, too, that the sweatier my palms got, the more grounded I felt, which isn't usually the case when I'm practicing directly on my mat.
I was also enjoying the serenity of the cool blue color. Plus, the "drishti" (or focus point)—the Chinese symbol for water, near the front edge of the mat—helped keep me, well, focused. In short, it supported me beautifully and literally through a pretty tough class. Afterward, I tossed it into the washer and dryer—something, truth be told, that I rarely do with my yoga mat.
It occurred to me along the way, too, that you could tuck this into your suitcase or overnight bag and use it in place of a mat while traveling. (Although the nubbies might be a little uncomfortable on my hands and knees if used on a hard floor.)
Am I sold on the yogitoes SKIDLESS? Not completely, and here's why: Yoga class is where I go to lighten my mind and stretch my body. Do I really want to start lugging another piece of (somewhat pricey) "stuff" with me? If I borrowed a mat from the studio, this would serve as an excellent barrier against other people's germs and stinky foot odor. And if I practiced Bikram (hot) yoga, this towel would be indispensable. But since I loathe being any hotter than I have to be, this will probably never happen.
But I can't deny the power of knowing that if I use it, my sweaty hands and feet won't budge, no matter what pose I do. That's a powerful sell. So I may indeed start schlepping it to class—only time will tell.
Product: yogitoes SKIDLESS yoga towel
Pros: Does an excellent job of keeping hands and feet in place, no matter how sweaty. Also works as a barrier between you and germy borrowed yoga mats. Good for travel too.
Cons: It's a little pricey, and yet another thing to lug to yoga class.
Cost: $64 at Yogitoes.com
Extra tip: Choose one from the Deity or Chinese Element collection and yogitoes will donate part of the proceeds to children's foundations such as the Sechen Charity Orphan School in Tibet and the Casa de Milagros children's home in Peru.