Skip Nav

A Guide to Practicing Yoga Without a Mat

A Guide to Practicing Yoga Without a Mat — And What Pose to Skip

Young woman practicing yoga outdoors on porch, she enjoy in summer sun and meditation

Practicing yoga without a mat is like jumping into a pool with your clothes on — it's spontaneous, refreshing, and fun every now and then but gets uncomfortable quickly.

Sometimes it has to happen, though — and for me, that moment was in the midst of my recent move. I was stressed and stiff after a day of heavy lifting. When I couldn't locate my boxed-up mat, I resorted to a quick flow on the hardwood floor.

Instead of feeling relieved, though, I just seemed to irritate my achy joints more.

That's because I wasn't careful when pressing on joints that aren't usually weight bearing, Alice Trieu, a certified-yoga instructor affiliated with the yoga streaming platform Practyce, says — that's the most important part of practicing yoga on hard surfaces.

"Definitely, no jumping back into Plank or Chaturanga. Avoid force or impact across the top and bottom of the metatarsals of the foot by stepping back to Plank and Chaturanga — and flip the feet from Downward to Upward Facing Dog," she adds.

Since every practice, person, and environment is different, listening to your body can be the most telling guide to feeling good.

Trieu points out that a grass-based flow could feel great for some and could cause rashes for others. The beach is better for soft landings, but you run the risk of getting sand in your face (not fun!). Hardwood and other rigid surfaces, like pavement, can make lying on your stomach uncomfortable (especially for your hip bones!) and can be tough on knee joints while kneeling, too.

Clearly, though, mats aren't necessary for a successful flow — in fact, Trieu says that the instability of different surfaces can teach the body to turn on different muscles to stay balanced.

Making a mat-less flow work for you could be as simple as practicing on a towel, rug, or anything that offers some cushion and grip, Trieu says — opting for a standing sequence or chair yoga is always an option, too.

Yes, mat-less flows have some downsides — but if it means getting out of doing Chaturanga (my least favourite pose!), it may have to become a consistent part of my fitness routine.

Click here for more health and wellness stories, tips, and news.

Image Source: Getty / svetikd
More from POPSUGAR
From Our Partners
Kamala Harris's 2020 Workout Routine
Dance Workouts Set to Beyoncé Songs
What Is the Beachbody 30 Day Breakaway Running Challenge?
Try This Schitt's Creek Workout Challenge While You Watch
Stretching and Mobility Routine For Beginners
Kelsey Wells's 20-Minute Bodyweight Butt and Leg Workout
Ab and Arm Workout Using Paper Plates From Burn Boot Camp
HIIT Mini Resistance Band Workouts on Youtube
Low-Impact Full-Body Ariana Grande Workout From MadFit
Must-Have Fitness Gadgets
How to Avoid Injuries When Exercising According to an Expert
How Can I Improve My Core Strength and Posture?
Latest Health & Fitness