What’s A Yoga Towel And Do I Need One?


Believe it or not, there’s likely a lot you don’t know about yoga towels. It may not seem like a pressing topic, but if you’re a seasoned yoga practitioner or want to begin the journey to become one, it’s essential to understand the role a yoga towel has in your practice. 

For yoga studio owners or even gym owners who offer yoga classes, knowing the benefits of stocking your business with yoga towels can lead to happier and healthier clients. With that in mind, here’s everything you need to know about yoga towels.

What Are Yoga Towels?

Yoga towels are a unique creation, designed specifically for use during yoga. Their primary purpose is to prevent you from slipping on the yoga mat by absorbing any sweat. They are most prevalent in Bikram yoga — better known as hot yoga.

The towels’ material can vary from a mix of nylon or polyester to fully recycled materials, such as plastic water bottles. The latter quality makes yoga towels doubly beneficial, since they promote sustainability and eco-friendliness within the community. 

Since their design goes over the yoga mat, yoga towels are often just large enough to adequately cover the mat. Many also have tiny grips at the bottom that allow the towel to remain firmly on the mat during yoga practice. This feature saves yoga practitioners from having to keep rearranging the towel or risk falling and injuring themselves. Their highly absorbent design lets them soak up all the sweat, making them better towels for hot yoga than the average bath towel.

For many yoga positions, especially those requiring balance, it’s crucial to avoid external distractions so you can focus entirely on your body. If you’re balancing on one foot and suddenly begin to feel yourself starting to slip on sweat, you’ll find it more challenging to concentrate, and you’ll be at a higher risk of injuring yourself. If you’re a novice practitioner, you may find yourself preoccupied with not falling, which can be a struggle if you find yourself slipping on your mat. A simple solution is to use a yoga mat to absorb the sweat from all parts of your body, so you can confidently move from one position to the next.

While their purpose is to absorb sweat and keep people from slipping on the mat during hot yoga, many people love to use yoga towels for all types of yoga. Some people are prone to sweat more, which makes having a yoga towel around a benefit. Other times, people may just want a little extra cushioning during their yoga practice, and placing a yoga towel on top of the yoga mat provides it for them. 

yoga towel instead of mat


Can You Use a Yoga Towel Instead of a Yoga Mat?

If you’re trying to decide between a yoga towel or a yoga mat, you should consider several things. The main thing is where you’re doing yoga. If you’re practicing yoga at the beach, on the sand, you may find a yoga towel suffices. Even when practicing at home on a rug, you might feel a towel is comfortable enough. However, imagine you’re doing yoga in a studio with hardwood floors. A towel likely won’t be able to provide the cushioning you need to comfortably practice, especially for positions that require you to balance on your knees or elbows.

Yoga towels’ chief purpose is to wick away sweat, so they’re generally not luxuriously thick or cushiony. That may be enough if you’re outdoors on a soft service, like grass or sand, but it may be painful to use only a yoga towel when practicing on a hard surface.

Ideally, you should use yoga towels in conjunction with yoga mats — after all, that’s what they’re for. 

Do You Have to Use a Yoga Towel?

Yoga towels wick away your sweat, helping you maintain your grip on your mat. They’re ideal for hot yoga, in which the room temperature can be as high as 105 degrees Fahrenheit and profuse sweating is part of the practice. Yoga towels absorb and trap the moisture so it doesn’t spread on the surface of the mat, and their dense microfibers keep the surface secure, so you have a sturdy foundation under you.

Many people prefer to spread a yoga towel on top of their yoga mat regardless of the yoga variety they’re practicing. Others like to keep a yoga towel close to hand because they’re prone to sweat a lot. In the end, the decision to put a yoga towel on top of your mat is entirely up to you. 

Yoga studios often provide communal mats for group classes. These can be full of bacteria and dirt, since multiple people use them throughout the day. Placing a yoga towel on top of these mats is an excellent way to maintain personal hygiene, especially when the yoga position requires you to put your face on the mat. If your mat turns out to be too thin for you, using a yoga towel can add a layer of cushion and make it more comfortable to hold positions. 

Knowing yourself and your body is crucial when deciding whether to use both a mat and a towel. For example, yoga towels need at least some moisture to help them properly stick to the mat, so if you’re doing a gentler type of yoga in which you’re not sweating enough, you may find the towel bunches up around your feet and becomes more of a hindrance than a help. 

yoga towel or yoga mat

What’s the Difference Between a Yoga Towel and a Regular Towel?

If you think you can bring your beach or bath towel to your yoga class, you might want to reconsider. Though they may feel similar, there are some major differences between regular, cotton towels and designated yoga towels. 


The primary distinction is in the absorbency. Regular cotton towels help you dry off, which means they don’t need to be as absorbent as yoga towels. The materials used for yoga towels are stiffer and more durable than cotton, and their design allows them to thoroughly absorb the moisture around them. This feature makes them ideal for activities like hot yoga.

Yoga towels are sweat-wicking. They absorb moisture and dry quickly, so you don’t have to worry about dealing with a damp or soggy towel. For many hot yoga practitioners, using a regular bath or beach towel won’t be effective, since the towel will collect the moisture and quickly become saturated. That will leave you with a soggy towel on your mat — and the excessive moisture will also make it lose its grip. Once it reaches its maximum capacity, it will cease to absorb more sweat. 


Even if you’re not interested in hot yoga and aren’t overly worried about your towel’s absorbency, a yoga towel is still a better option for any yoga practice, especially if you’re using a mat. A regular cotton towel doesn’t have the unique grips under it like yoga towels do. These grips help the towel stick to the mat and prevent them from moving with you. A regular cotton towel, even when dry, won’t stick to the mat, so it’ll be sliding around and distracting you. 


Yoga mats are relatively uniform in length, and yoga towels fit perfectly over them. Beach or bath towels are unlikely to be exactly as long and wide as the yoga mat, which means you may end up with your hands or feet on the mat instead of on the towel. To some, this might not be a big deal, but if the purpose of your yoga towel is to absorb the sweat — and keep it off the mat — an ill-fitting towel may end up being counterproductive.

Alternately, a beach or bath towel may be too long for your yoga mat, which means you may end up exposing it to the dirty floor around your mat and the foreign bacteria that come with it.

How Do You Wash Yoga Towels?

Many yoga towels are microfiber, a high-absorbency material. Microfiber is a straightforward material to wash and maintain, often needing only a wash with cold water and no fabric softener. You can dry them in your dryer on low heat or hang them up to air-dry on a clothesline, since microfiber dries much faster than cotton.

Some yoga towels may have specific washing and maintenance directions on their tags, but generally, it’s as simple as tossing your used towel into the laundry after each use.

A good rule to follow for yoga towels — and anything else that absorbs sweat — is to wash after every use. That includes yoga mats. However, since yoga mats are much more challenging to clean correctly, using a yoga towel on top of it protects the mat itself, which means you have to clean it less often. Washing your yoga towel after every use will ensure you always return to a clean and hygienic space to practice yoga.

Benefits of Using Yoga Towels

Whether you attend regular yoga classes or own a yoga studio or gym, incorporating yoga towels has more benefits than not. Here are four major advantages of adding yoga towels into your workout routine.

Hygienebenefits of yoga towels

Whether you’re bringing a mat from home or are borrowing one from the gym or yoga studio for the class, bacteria lurk on these surfaces. As we mentioned, correctly cleaning a yoga mat can be a challenge, but using a yoga towel will ensure your sweat and grime end up on the towel, instead of the mat. At the end of practice, all you need to do is wash the towel and wipe down the mat.

If you’re using the mats your gym provides, you can avoid cringing when you think of all the bodies that have exercised on that mat before you. Instead, spread your yoga towel over the shared mat, then toss the towel into the wash after. Since the yoga towel collects all the oils, dead skin cells and sweat from your body during a workout, you can also protect the studio mats. 


You can save yourself a lot of time by using yoga towels instead of working out directly on the yoga mat, thanks to how much easier it is to wash towels than mats. Some people like to spritz essential oils on the mat, especially since yoga mats tend to collect bad-smelling bacteria. Cleaning a yoga mat takes a lot of effort and care — you can’t chuck it into a washing machine. Plus, yoga mats take a long time to dry properly, and using a damp mat can encourage mold and mildew growth.

If you opt to use only a yoga mat, you’ll need to set aside time for weekly cleaning. But, by using a yoga towel, you mostly only need to worry about washing the towels and save yourself the stress of thoroughly cleaning your mat every week.


One of the first things you learn in yoga is to listen to your body — if something hurts or feels uncomfortable, you’re pushing it too far and need to step back. Sometimes, however, it’s also a sign that you need to invest in props to help with your practice. 

Yoga mats vary in thickness, and some people may find they’re too thin to be comfortable. Placing a yoga towel over it solves that problem as well. 

Even if the mat is cushy enough, sometimes your joints need a little added padding to prevent deterioration. A yoga mat is a quick and easy way to provide that extra cushioning.

Plus, the added padding protects your yoga mat. Whether it’s a mat you own for private practice or a set of mats you’ve bought for your gym, encouraging the use of yoga towels means there’s always an added layer of protection, reducing the likelihood of holes or tears from friction.


Despite their name, yoga towels can benefit you during other activities. Use them anywhere in a gym, at the pool or the beach as an effective way to keep yourself dry without having to also carry around a soggy towel. Yoga towels can also double as yoga mats in situations where you’re practicing on a soft surface, like grass or sand. Or, they can be a portable yoga mat you can pack in your luggage and use on carpeted areas in a hotel.

Aside from uses, yoga mats come in a rainbow of colors and various exciting prints, so you can stock up and have one to match all your moods or outfits.

Buy Wholesale Yoga Towels From Towel Super Center

Give your clients and customers the option for comfort and versatility by offering yoga towels. At Towel Super Center, we offer a wide range of yoga towels in various designs, so you can save more by buying more.

Browse through our selection of yoga towels and stock your yoga studio with affordable, high-quality towels today.

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