Perhaps it’s your first time doing yoga, so you decide to sign up for a class at your local yoga studio. With an instructor, you don’t have to navigate the correct practice and nuances of yoga by yourself, so it’s never a bad idea when you’re starting.
However, everyone around you is rolling out their yoga mats once you arrive at your first class. To your dismay, you realize your mat has two very different sides. Or, maybe you find yourself slipping constantly and begin to wonder if you’re on the wrong side of the mat. So, which side goes up? Let’s find out.
Does It Matter Which Side Of The Yoga Mat Is Up?
Although it might seem silly, there is a right side up on your yoga mat. Most yoga mats feature two different sides, one designed to face up and the other to face the floor.
The side meant to sit against the floor should offer solid contact with the floor, ensuring it doesn’t slip around while you move. The side facing up should provide plenty of traction to ensure you don’t accidentally slide into the wrong pose (or worse, injure yourself). So, yes, it does matter which side of the yoga mat you position facing up.
Which Side Of The Yoga Mat Is The Right Side Up?
Every yoga mat is different, which can make determining the side that faces up somewhat tricky. Generally speaking, the smooth surface of the mat should face down. However, there are a few scenarios where this won’t help you. Luckily, there are a few hints that can indicate the right side that should face up, including the following:
Today, dozens of yoga mats are made of sticky material, like PVC (polyvinyl chloride), similar to vinyl. These mats usually feature a bumpy or nubby side, which is designed for added traction as you move through your yoga flows. The texture helps your feet and hands remain in place without slipping around, which is ideal for safety.
Sometimes, both sides of your yoga mat will feature bumps. If that’s the case, look for the side with more pronounced or noticeable bumps. This is the side that should face up.
There are a few exceptions, including mats made with a microfiber side and a rubbery side. With these mats, the towel-ish side should face up, as it would slip around on the ground as you move. On top of that, the mat would stretch excessively as you move, making it difficult to hold certain poses.
So, with those mats, be sure to place the rubbery side down and the towel-like side up. If the rubbery side isn’t offering enough stickiness, use a small amount of water on that side to initiate the grip.
Many yoga mats on the market today are made of various synthetic materials, such as polyurethane, rubber, and latex (avoid these mats if you have a latex allergy). If you have a mat made of one of these materials, there’s a good chance it won’t feature little bumps or nubs on one side.
However, while they don’t have an easy-to-detect bumpy side, they’re usually shinier on one side. The shiny side should face up, with the other side down. As you break in your yoga mat, this side will likely lose its shine, but you shouldn’t have any issues detecting the right side (it’ll become noticeably broken in).
Side With The Logo
Many yoga mat brands stamp their logo onto their products. Generally, the side that features the logo goes up. If you see a stamp or tag on your yoga mat, place that side facing up. These logos and tags are usually in one of the corners of the mat. They can be relatively small and hard to see, especially if it’s just stamped or imprinted in the mat’s material.
So, take a quick peek at the corners of your yoga mat, and if you find a label or logo, make sure that side stays up.
If your yoga mat features a beautiful pattern on one side of the mat, there’s a good chance that side is supposed to face up. After all, why would the manufacturer print a gorgeous design on one side of the mat if they wanted you to turn that side into the ground?
However, this can get a bit tricky with reversible mats. Sometimes, the mat will feature two sides, one plain and the other patterned, so this isn’t necessarily a good indicator. However, since these mats are reversible, you can usually use either side.
For example, Lululemon offers a reversible mat that you can use on either side. One side is designed with added sweat-wicking capabilities (excellent for hot yoga classes), whereas the other side is designed for extra comfort (perfect for slower, gentle sessions).
Yoga mats that have undergone hours of use typically show a bit of wear and tear. So, if you’re borrowing a mat from a friend or using one from the yoga studio, check the mat for wear and tear. Usually, the side that looks a bit more used is the side that faces up, as users will eventually break in the mat on that side.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Does It Matter Which Way You Roll Your Yoga Mat?
While you can roll your yoga mat however you’d like, there is technically a “right” way to roll it. Using this method, you can ensure the grubby side of your mat (the side that touches the floor) doesn’t come in contact with your training side. On top of that, this method helps avoid a curling yoga mat (so annoying!).
To roll the mat, start with it flat on the floor, with the right side facing up. Next, fold the mat in half, so the training side is folded over itself and doesn’t touch the floor. Roll the mat from the fold line toward the open end of the mat.
Lastly, tie the mat with a yoga strap or put it in its bag. Now, the next time you unroll your mat, you don’t have to guess which side goes up or which side you had on the floor in the last session!
How Do You Clean A Yoga Mat?
Cleaning your yoga mat is essential to prolong its lifespan (and avoid unwanted smells after a sweaty class). While you don’t need to deep clean the yoga mat every time you use it, it’s important to wipe it down after each training session.
The process is easy – use a cleaning solution and a soft cloth to wipe the grime from the surface of your mat, then let it dry. Once it dries, roll it up for storage. Be sure not to roll it up when it’s still wet, as this could create the perfect environment for bacteria, mold, and mildew.
Our guide outlines a few easy cleaning solutions for quick and convenient cleaning after each yoga session.
How Do You Fix A Slippery Yoga Mat?
A slippery yoga mat is a nuisance, as it might move around while you practice or even cause you to slip from your poses. This can lead to injury, so a slippery yoga mat isn’t ideal. Luckily, you can easily remedy the problem with a mixture of essential oils, white vinegar, and water.
Simply spritz the mat with a diluted mixture of vinegar in water, plus a few drops of your favorite essential oil. Wipe the residue away and let the mat dry. After a few uses and spritzing the mat with this solution, your mat will be worn in and less slippery.
Alternatively, you could use non-slip yoga socks to help you with traction while you break the mat in.
Does It Matter Which Side Of The Yoga Mat Faces The Front?
As long as you have the right side facing up, it shouldn’t make a difference as to which side of the mat faces the front. Generally, the side with the logo would face the front, so it would be in front of you as you see it, but it doesn’t matter.
As long as you can practice safely without the mat slipping around underneath you, it doesn’t matter which side of your mat faces the front.
What Do The Lines On A Yoga Mat Mean?
Some yoga mats feature lines, while others don’t. Seeing the lines on your new mat can be confusing if you’ve always used a generic mat without lines. These lines are here for alignment purposes – they help you achieve the right angles in specific poses.
For example, the 45-degree angle at the front of the mat is there to help you align your foot angle during various standing asana flows. Or, the center line helps you align the heel of your front foot and the arch of your back foot during the standing asana series. While you don’t need these lines to practice yoga, they can be helpful with alignment and proper positioning if you’re new to yoga.