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17 Ways to Use (and Not Use) Your Yoga Mat That Don’t Include Your Practice

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Sure, you’ve probably started to snore at some point in Savasana, but chances are you wouldn’t care to sleep on your yoga mat all night. Unfortunately, that’s what happened to some Air Canada passengers after their flight out of Toronto Pearson Airport was canceled last week. According to CBC, instead of providing plush hotel rooms (or at least an air mattress), the airline handed out yoga mats. Yes, standard, everyday, 6-millimeter sticky mats.

Aside from the obvious question (Where did the airline suddenly find so many yoga mats?!), we found ourselves pondering some other uses for a yoga mat. DMs to YJ contributors and friends ensued, as did the following list of rather creative, sometimes practical, often heretical, and somewhat amusing options for using your yoga mat—beyond your usual practice, of course. Here are the ones we felt appropriate to share:

  1. Keep things tidy beneath your cat’s litter box.
  2. Hang a mat behind your desk as a green screen so during Zoom calls you’ll look like you’re on the beach in Bali.
  3. Throw your mats down during your next backyard barbecue to protect guests from the minute shards of broken glass left from that time you tried to hang string lights. 
  4. Roll yourself up in a mat instead of shelling out hundreds for a weighted blanket.
  5. Plop it in front of the tub to catch drips when extricating fur babies (or actual babies) from the bath.
  6. Lie your rolled mat on its side to block a drafty door or window or prop it partway open.
  7. Make the concrete a little more comfy when standing, sitting, or lying in line overnight to buy concert tickets.
  8. Throw it down on the floor beneath you when you and your person succomb to impromptu amorousness. (No rug burns.)
  9. Use it as a red (or whatever color) carpet to welcome your partner home after work. Also works for a toddler who likes to be treated like royalty.
  10. Cushion and insulate your sleeping bag from the cold, hard ground. (This also means you have zero excuses to not practice yoga on your camping trip.)
  11. Go all Jackson Pollock and use your mat as canvas. (It’s literally the blank page in front of you.)
  12. Use a rolled mat as a drink koozie. Wedge a cold bottle into the opening at the end of a rolled mat. Coffee tables are overrated, anyways.
  13. Ditch your regular beach towel and use your mat instead.
  14. Do some upright rows or bicep curls with a tightly rolled mat. #productivity
  15. Throw a mat down on your bathroom floor so when the crippling anxiety triggered by the nightly news hits, you can assume the fetal position and mutter all night about western wildfires, polar ice caps, and the Kardashian Effect without disturbing your partner.
  16. Or, if sleep isn’t an issue, hug your yoga mat, instead of a body pillow, as you drift off at night.
  17. Reach enlightenment.

Seriously, though, if you have a spare yoga mat that’s in decent condition and you’re desperate to recycle it, inquire at a local school, domestic violence shelter, or animal rescue group to learn if they accept yoga mats as donations. If not, drop it off at a local secondhand store so someone else can come to their practice.

Thank you to Tamika Caston-Miller, Jenny Aurthur, Jenny Latreille, Erin Skarda, Claire O’Brien, MacDuff Perkins, and Jenny Clise for contributing ideas to this piece.

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