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Sometimes, the four walls of our bedroom seem to be too small of a space for practice. So, it is only reasonable that you wish to take your practice outdoors, and, of course, practicing yoga on a body of water could be an unparalleled experience. So, what equipment will you need for your adventure?
Yoga mats usually float in water because most of them are made of EVA foam, which is less dense than water. Other plastic mats might not float. However, if you wish to practice on water, using a surfboard, paddleboard, or inflatable yoga mat is recommendable.
Find out how to turn your dream of practicing on a nearby lake into reality below!
Yoga Mats Float on Water
If you have always wanted to take your practice outdoors and experience a deeper connection with nature, it is only natural to wonder whether yoga mats float.
Whether they float or not depends entirely on the density of the material they are made of. Of course, today, you will be able to find mats made in cork or Thermoplastic. Generally, yoga mats are designed in EVA foam or ethylene-vinyl acetate, which is buoyant and floats in water.
Remember that yoga mats are usually denser than fitness mats if you are not sure whether your mat floats or not. This feature ensures that they can provide you with the support and sturdiness you need during your practice.
So, it is unlikely that Thermoplastic mats will float, as they are usually much denser than most mats made in other types of plastic. Oppositely, cork is famously buoyant, with a density of just 0.24 grams per cubic centimeter.
In any case, your mat might not be made of just one material. So, checking its density – or at least the density of the material it is made of – gives you an indication of whether it floats or not.
Should I Use a Yoga Mat on Water?
While your yoga mat might be able to float, it is not recommendable to expose it to sea salt or the chemicals often contained in pool water. Indeed, these substances can significantly damage your mat.
Additionally, if you decide to use your mat outdoors, you should ensure that it is resistant to UV rays. Indeed, as most mats are made in plastic, they can suffer from exposure to UV rays. The sun can cause them to start scaling, discoloring, and hardening.
Make sure you clean your mat after every yoga session you enjoy outdoors.
Alternatives to Practicing Yoga on Water
Since yoga as exercise has become increasingly popular, several different versions have been sprouting. Alongside the visually-impressive aerial yoga and Acroyoga, today, it is possible to bring your practice away from land and move it onto the closest body of water.
While the experience will be different from any you have lived so far, it can be incredibly stimulating and eye-opening, primarily if you practice with a breathtaking landscape in front of you!
While standard mats might not be the best fit to practice yoga on a water body, other, more valid alternatives can help you find support for your practice. And, who knows, this might be the nudge you needed to deepen your practice even more!
Yoga and Surf
Yoga and surfing are two activities that go hand in hand and can support each other. Over the last few years, an increasing number of retreats that offer a combination of yoga and surf have been created in all top surfing destinations worldwide.
Today, you can find exclusive retreats in Indonesia, Morocco, Hawaii, and Portugal, among many other destinations. These retreats offer you the chance to spend a week depurating the body and the mind while refining your surfing skills and yoga practice.
In these retreats, you are often looked after by experienced yoga teachers and surf instructors. In some instances, you will also be able to practice some of your favorite asanas on a surfboard.
SUP – or stand-up paddleboarding – is not a new activity and the first records of the predecessors of modern SUPs date back to 3000 BC. However, as we know them today, the boards have been developed starting from the 1940s in Waikiki, Hawaii.
Since then, they have been used for convenience and functionality, as well as for recreational activities. Indeed, it is possible to fish, surf, or tour on the boards, which are slightly different depending on their use.
Since 2013, Paddleboard Yoga has also become a more common activity and combines yoga and paddleboarding. For this practice, yogis sail their paddleboard on calm waters, such as on a lake or in a bay.
Here, they can practice their favorite asanas and vinyasa while supported by a larger, sturdier paddleboard. Sometimes, a small anchor might also be present to keep the paddleboard in place during the whole yoga practice.
While this activity can take your practice to the next level, it is also a safe way to experience something new and feel closer to nature. At the same time, falling off the board is part of the experience!
If you are not sure this experience is the right one for you, you can find some inspiration below:
Inflatable Floating Yoga Mat
Inflatable floating yoga mats are becoming increasingly popular, but only a few companies produce them. They can be used in a pool or calm waters, such as the ones of a lake.
These floating mats can be inflatable by the yogi before the yoga session, and they represent a sturdy platform on which to practice yoga. Just like ordinary mats, they boast educational designs for better body alignments.
Additionally, floating yoga mats are complete with a leash for mooring, and they are designed to be easily transportable and lightweight. Just like standard yoga mats, they offer anti-slip and anti-skid properties for safe practice.
Water yoga is another type of yoga as exercise. It specifically focuses on the health benefits that yoga can bring, while not so much on their practice’s spiritual aspects. However, the benefits you will be able to perceive from this practice are not limited!
Indeed, water yoga allows you to practice asanas that have been out of reach and see how it feels. Indeed, without gravity, you can practice inversions or more challenging poses and understand what your body alignment should be like.
When you combine this practice with standard yoga, you can see your practice growing steadily.
Benefits of Practicing Yoga on Water
For how unusual the practices above might seem at first, they will gently push you out of your comfort zone and allow you to try something new. The benefits of practicing yoga on the water are unlimited, and it is vital to consider them when listing your options.
Here is an overview of what to expect from practicing yoga on a surfboard or paddleboard:
- It allows you to experience something new
- It gives you the chance to practice in a natural setting and benefit from the surrounding natural environment
- The wobbly and unstable surface calls for the activation and strengthening of all muscles, even those not usually used during everyday practice.
- It allows you to refine your balance skills.
This practice is also fun and empowering – and it can help you develop your yoga practice in alternative ways.
Standard yoga mats are often in EVA foam, and, therefore, they float in water. However, it is not recommendable to use them in a swimming pool or at the beach. Indeed, the chemicals, sea salt, and UV rays might damage your mat. Additionally, standard yoga mats are not suitable for practicing on water bodies.
If you wish to develop, start practicing on waters, you should try alternative activities such as surfing and yoga or paddleboard yoga. They are both excellent activities to stimulate your creativity, strengthen the muscles, and allow you to enjoy time outdoors.