What is a Yoga Mat Strap?
A yoga mat strap is a device used to secure your mat when it is rolled up. Some are just long enough to go around the mat, others are more intricate and also include a carrying handle, and some a shoulder strap. It should not be confused with a yoga strap which is a piece of equipment used during certain yoga exercises.
Did you know that there is a correct way of rolling your mat as well? You should always roll it up with the exercise surface to the outside – this means when you unroll it again it is less likely to spring up at the edges.
These can be made from nylon, elastic, strong cotton or canvas and are approximately two inches in, width. You either use two separate straps, one at each end. or they can sometimes be joined together to make sure you don't lose one of them!
The most common form of fastening is with Velcro, although some can be tied in a knot, or are secured with metal poppers. Simple straps are the cheapest option and they will do the job. If you don't have to carry your mat anywhere – for instance if you leave it at your yoga studio, then this style of strap is perfectly adequate to prevent the mat from unraveling and becoming untidy.
Harness style straps
A harness strap is usually made from strong nylon and fastens with buckles so it can be adjusted to suit the size of your mat. They are a reasonably cheap option, coming as they do in a 'one size fits all' design, and they are very durable. Not all harness straps will be long enough to put over your shoulder, so look for something with a longer strap if this is how you want to carry your mat.
Straps with a carry handle
If you need to carry your mat to the studio, or from your car, then having a strap with a carry handle or shoulder strap is a much better option. It just makes everything that much easier for you, and if the shoulder strap is cushioned as well then even a heavy yoga mat can be carried in comfort. Many carry straps are designed to be slightly longer than a harness, which means if you want to wear your mat like a backpack to keep your hands frees – for instance if you are cycling or running – then look out for straps that are long enough to allow for this.
Making your own yoga mat strap
This can involve making something as simple as two pieces of knotted elastic – or it can be as elaborate as making your own tote bag with a built-in mat carrier. Many yogis choose to make their own yoga mat straps – it is something you can really personalize and make your own. I've even seen some people come to class with their mat tied up with a fancy scarf - well, it looks better than a piece of string or an old plastic bag!