We are all familiar with that annoying little curl that presents itself when you roll out your mat after it has been in storage for a little while. Yoga is meant to be a relaxing and reinvigorating experience, right? So how can it be when the corners of your mat just won’t stay flat?
Your yoga mat won’t stay flat because it has been rolled up incorrectly or for too long. Most yoga mats are made from a material that remembers its form. If it’s rolled up from one end to the other for a long period of time, it’ll want to stay like that, resulting in the infamous curled edge.
Don’t worry, this usually has nothing to do with the quality of your yoga mat. Fortunately, there are quite a few easy solutions to this pesky problem. I will go over a bit about why your mat curls at the corners, as well as a few remedies to this frustrating problem. Towards the end of the article, I will also share a couple of recommendations for mats that claim they solve this problem.
The Reasons Your Yoga Mat Won’t Stay Flat
We are all aware of that notorious, pesky little curl that a yoga mat gets at the beginning of a session. It is cumbersome and frustrating, especially if you have to stare at it during downward-facing dog.
You may be surprised to learn that there is a right way and a wrong way to roll your yoga mat. If yours is not staying flat, the chances are that you are using the no-so-right way. As I mentioned, the curled corners of your yoga mat do not at all speak to the quality of your mat. So you can rest easy knowing that with a few simple tricks, your mat will be flat as a board.
There are two main culprits for the curled edges of your mat:
Result of the method in which it was rolled
Sometimes, the most obvious way is not always the right way. With a yoga mat, what seems the most obvious is to roll it from one end to the other. Just like you would roll a script or poster before going into a tube. However, this is the precise method that will create curled corners as soon as you unroll it for your next practice.
How long it is rolled
Many yoga mat materials are soft and malleable. Their material memory wants to stay in whatever position they are used to being in. This creates stubborn curled edges if your mat has been unused for a while. Generally, the longer it has been rolled up, the more difficult it will be to make it stay flat.
How to Keep Your Yoga Mat Flat
Now that you know why, let’s look at some easy ways to ensure a flat mat. This section will detail a few different options for avoiding that annoying curl.
Consider Different Storage Options
The first option is to store your yoga mat flat. This might be a good option for you if your mat is especially stubborn in maintaining its rolled position. This may be an inconvenience for some who lack the space. Or if you plan on travelling to and from a gym or studio with your mat. However, those of you who are intrigued by the idea should check out Power Systems Mat. It comes equipped with reinforced rings for vertical storage. This should eliminate all issues of mat curling.
Roll Opposite of Your Practice Side
The second option is to roll your mat out on the opposite side from which you practice. This might not be very clear, so I will quickly walk you through what this will look like. After you complete your practice and you are ready to roll your mat, turn it over on the opposite side and begin rolling from one end to the other. Ensure you are practising on the same side every time.
If both sides look the same, mark one side with a dot or your initials to keep track of each side. This will mitigate the curling by forcing your mat to conform to the ground when you lay it opposite of how it was rolled.
A New Way to Roll
This last option is perhaps the favourite method of experienced yogis. This is a popular method because you can still roll the mat quickly and easily. You can also carry it with you in the straps that are typically provided when you purchase a mat. Follow these simple steps to roll it using this method:
- Like in the previous option, you should choose which side of the mat you will practice on and which side will be on the floor. Mark it accordingly with your name or something else that will help you identify the top.
- With the top side facing up, fold the mat in half, with the shorter ends joining together.
- Place the mat in front of you with the folded side closest to you. From the folded side, begin rolling the mat away from you until it is completely rolled up.
- Avoid rolling it tightly, as this will leave a crease in the middle of your mat.
Demonstration of How to Keep Your Yoga Mat Flat
Here is a quick video by Brett Larkin Yoga to demonstrate this method:
As you can see, this method leaves the ends of your mat on the outside of the roll, which will prevent curling before the next use. It also keeps your mat clean because the practice side is completely protected from the side that comes in contact with the ground.
Yoga Mat Recommendations
Yoga Mat manufacturers are fully aware of the challenge of keeping your mat flat. Innovations in mat construction has seen considerable progress in producing mats that stay flat.
Do you remember the slap bracelet phenomenon of the 1990s and early 2000s? Well, YOYO Mats have brought us a self-rolling mat using the same technology found in slap bracelets. This exciting and innovative creation essentially guarantees that you will never have curled edges again.
The YOYO Mat works like a slap bracelet, with steel bands running along all the mat sides. The steel bands serve two purposes. They keep the mat flat when it is unrolled and rolled up while it is in storage without any additional straps.
In addition to this exciting new technology, the mat is lightweight, making it easy to transport. It has a non-slip surface, is free of toxic materials that are common in other yoga mats, and will not trap bacteria. You can feel good about purchasing this mat because it is moderately priced and made sustainably with recycled materials,
Man Flow Yoga Cork Yoga Mat
The Man Flow Yoga Cork Mat unrolls to a perfectly flat yoga mat every time thanks to the durable natural rubber bottom. Pure rubber is non-toxic and made wholly or partly from recycled supplies. It is also a luxury, soft, no-slip cork yoga mat that’s thicker, wider, and longer than traditional mats.
It has thick padding to provide extra comfort and support to sensitive elbows and knees. The smooth cork surface is non-slip, the grip actually improves as it gets wetter from your sweat! Additionally the mat has a built-in alignment system. This helps to ensure proper technique and allows you to focus on your body instead of wondering if you’re aligned correctly.
Don’t beat yourself up if you are struggling to keep your yoga mat flat. All new yogis must learn the proper way to roll a mat because the most obvious way results in curled edges. This is only a small learning curve in your path to becoming an advanced yogi.
A mat that won’t stay flat can be really frustrating. It can ruin your weekly class or holding you back from returning to the studio. The chances are that if you simply change your rolling technique and follow one of these simple solutions, curled mats will be a thing of your past.