Why Do My Hands Slip On My Yoga Mat? 7 Simple Ways To Fix It

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There are many reasons why your hands slip on a yoga mat. From inadequate hand placement to the age of your yoga mat or the material it is made of.

You can keep your hands from sliding on your yoga mat by investing in a range of yoga accessories such as a yoga towel, grip gel, or grip gloves as well as by learning useful techniques for hand placement.

1/1 Why am I slipping on my yoga mat?

Feeling like your hands just won’t stay in place in Downward Facing Dog? Here are three top reasons your hands keep slipping on your yoga mat:

Hand position

Imperfect hand position will not only make weight-bearing postures such as Downward Dog or Chaturanga Dandasana more uncomfortable and “slippery” but also may cause wrist pain in the long term. Hasta Bandha, aka the hand lock, is a yoga technique that will help you find the perfect hand grip in your poses and support your wrists.

Here’s how to do Hasta Bandha:

  • Spread your fingers wide as much as you’re comfortable to increase the surface area of your hand – this will help you balance and grip in weight-bearing poses
  • Rotate your palms so your middle finger is pointed straight forward and aligned with your wrist
  • Create three solid points of contact with your mat: fingertips, the heel of the palm, and the top of the palm.
  • Start gripping your mat keeping in mind these points of contact. If you’re having a hard time doing this, imagine as if you’re trying to wrinkle a yoga mat under your palm.
  • Your thumbs, index fingers, and little fingers should carry the most weight so make sure to ground them firmly into the floor.
  • There should be almost no weight and no tension in the arch of your hand. Instead, you should feel the middle part of your palm slightly lifting up.
Why Do My Hands Slip On My Yoga Mat? - Hasta Bandha, aka the hand lock, is a yoga technique that will help you find the perfect hand grip in your poses and support your wrists.

Yoga mat material

Some yoga mat materials such as PVC lose their grip when wet. No matter how great your hand grip technique is, your hands are bound to slip the moment you break a sweat in your yoga class. The slipping gets worse if you’re doing hot yoga or Bikram and the room temperature is scorchingly hot and humid.

On the contrary, some yoga materials such as cork tend to be quite slippery when dry. You need to sprinkle it with a bit of water to initiate the grip.

Brand new yoga mat

It’s also pretty common to slip on a brand new yoga mat. This is because new yoga mats often get a thin, protective layer of film on the surface during the manufacturing process. This film layer wears off with usage and the mat will get grippier the more you practice on it.

Why Do My Hands Slip On My Yoga Mat? - A yoga mat towel is a must-have prop for those who tend to get sweaty hands and feet and want to add more comfort to their yoga practice.

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How do you keep your hands from sliding on a yoga mat?

Here are seven ways to prevent your hands from sliding on a mat as well as to improve your yoga mat grip.

Revise your alignment

The first thing you should look at is the mechanics of your Downward Dog such as the placement of your hands and feet as well as your core engagement. Make sure to utilize Hasta Bandha mentioned above.

You can also use the same action with your feet. Spread your toes and make sure the balls of your feet are firmly grounded while the arches of your feet are lifted.

Try flipping your mat

This isn’t a piece of universal advice and won’t work for all mats. But if your mat is made of two different materials, for example, cork and natural rubber, you might want to try flipping your mat and see if your hands stop slipping.

This is what happened with my new cork yoga mat from Vida Hyndia. It took me several weeks to break in the smooth cork surface and some poses were really uncomfortable. My hands and feet were slipping in a simple Downward Dog. So while I was practicing on cork surface most of the time to break it in, I also flipped the mat and used a natural rubber bottom whenever I needed more grip in my yoga poses.

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Use a yoga mat towel

A yoga mat towel also called a hot yoga towel is an ingenious yoga accessory that is used to cover your yoga mat to make it grippier during a sweaty practice as well as to protect your yoga mat from sweat and dirt.

A yoga mat towel is a must-have prop for those who tend to get sweaty hands and feet and want to add more comfort to their yoga practice.

In case you don’t really want to cover your whole mat with a yoga towel, you can also keep a small hand towel made of microfiber right next to you to wipe your hands when things get hot and sweaty.

Get a grip gel

Not a big fan of towels? A chalky grip gel such as this one from Manduka can be a good alternative. Keep in mind that it is best used on closed-cell yoga mats.

Give your yoga mat a scrub

If you’ve got yourself a new yoga mat and looking for low-cost ways to make your yoga mat grippier and prevent your hands from slipping, then salt and vinegar are your best friends.

Here’s an easy way to break in your new yoga mat and make it grippier using sea salt (just remember to check the manufacturer’s instructions first to ensure it is safe for your mat’s material):

  • Mix sea salt and warm water together and sprinkle on your mat.
  • Use a cotton washcloth or a stiff-bristled brush to clean it.
  • Wash the salt scrub off and let your yoga mat air dry

Using this method can help break down the initial layer, allowing you to slip less and maintain stability in your poses.

Don’t have sea salt, but have some vinegar? You can use it to break in your yoga mat too. Acidity in vinegar will remove the greasy surface film, but it will be gentle enough not to damage the mat. Here’s how:

  • Make a 50/50 mix of white vinegar and water. To lightly scent your spray, add 2 to 4 drops of essential oil to the bottle. Consider tea tree oil, which has been proven to have some antimicrobial properties.
  • Put your chosen mixture in a spray bottle and spray it over your yoga mat.
  • Use a sponge to spread it evenly across the surface.
  • Don’t use paper or paper towels as they will disintegrate into the mat and make a terrible mess.

Replace your yoga mat with a cotton yoga mat

If your hands tend to get sweaty and yoga towels are too distracting and annoying, consider getting yourself a cotton yoga mat. These yoga mats are also sometimes called Mysore yoga rugs.

Natural cotton mats don’t only feel better on the skin but also will naturally absorb any extra sweat from your hands while improving your grip and building grip strength.

Use grip socks and gloves

Wearing grippy socks and gloves is another way to deal with the slipping problem. These yoga accessories usually feature grippy dots or are lined with natural rubber to improve the grip and prevent your hands and feet from slipping even during the toughest yoga poses.

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