The issue of mat slippage is a very real problem for some and a complicated topic to address.
Sometimes hands and feet slip on a yoga mat due to incorrect technique. Sometimes things get slidy because of equipment or the practice surface. Here are some ideas of how to remedy a slippery situation in your yoga practice.
First let’s talk about alignment and technique.
When practicing yoga, it is important to be aware of the contact with the ground. If the palms and feet are flat, slippage can happen. If you pay attention to advanced yogis, you’ll notice that the majority of the time, their hands are not totally flush with the earth. There is a tent or cupping action happening.
This is beneficial in a few ways: it takes pressure off the wrists but in this case helps make a more secure contact with the ground. In order to do this, spread the fingers as much as possible. Glue the fleshy parts of the hand down to the ground.
This means the parts of the palm that are pressurized the most are the index finger knuckle (the bottom one, the base of the proximal phalanx), the meaty area below the thumb and the corresponding areas on the pinky side of the hand. Then press the finger tips into the ground and allow the middle of the palm to lift off the ground slightly and the fingers to bend a little.
This makes the hand into a small tent or cup. It will seriously aid in keeping a steady contact with the ground.
This same concept applies to the feet. In order to keep the feet static, spread the toes. Make sure the pinky and big toe edges of the feet are in contact with the ground, especially in the balls of the feet and the side edges of the heel. Then keep the arch of the foot lifted. This strengthens the arch of the foot, and makes for a stable base.
Experiment with your mat.
Sometimes though, slippery hands and feet cannot be solely attributed to technique.
In some cases, having an incorrect mat match can be the culprit.
Depending on how much you sweat, you might need to use a towel or different variety of yoga mat to avoid sliding around. Mat towels can be very effective for those who are excessively sweaty or who practice hot yoga. These are thin microfiber towels with grips on the underside that hug tightly to your yoga mat.
For those who don’t sweat so much, having a PVC mat is usually best. For the clammier handers, a rubber mat is a great option to keep you stuck to your practice surface. Some mats are designed to be sweat on and adhered to.
Check your alignment then check your surfaces. Get to the root of your slipping and sliding so you can root to your mat and get a little more grounded in your yoga practice.