& other resources for the traveling yoga teacher.
Planning a long trip abroad and considering whether or not to bring a yoga mat? Should I backpack/travel with a yoga mat? I have met folks who practice, teach and travel, there was no consensus, it is half with and half without. When trying to travel light 2-4 pounds (1-2kg) of extra weight can be a lot to manage. The main question to ask yourself is; for personal practice do you need your own mat?
I started without a mat for two months to travel light and see how it went. After coming home for Christmas and completing my yoga teacher training I knew needed to bring my own mat. Many of the mats in hostels or studios abroad are not the nicest. It was comforting to practice on my own mat. I did my research and decided on the Manduka eKO Superlite.
Best Overall Travel Yoga Mat.
Manduka eKO Superlite Yoga Travel Mat – a 2.2 pound (1kg), 1.5mm thick mat. Super sticky and portable. I love Manduka products, my home and studio mat is the monstrous PRO, but I couldn’t travel with the 10 pound beast. For five years I used the PRO and it served me well, without issue. The sticky surface of the Superlite makes it perfect to put on top of another mat or towel. As I travel I am less worried about cushion and want to ensure I have traction. perfect to pair with the backpack. The main con is that the mat does not come with a strap. I ended up buying the Manduka Go Move Yoga Mat Carrier
Alternative Travel Yoga Mats
Other options for travel and lightweight yoga mats. Other travelers I met along the way used and recommend these mats.
- Yogo – Ultralight Travel Yoga Mat
- Includes a travel strap
- Manduka PRO Travel Yoga Mat 2.5mm
- More padding, can also be used for daily studio use.
Additional Backpacking Yoga Teacher Resources
In addition to a travel mat there are several items I traveled with during my time teaching and practicing yoga in South America.
- Yoga/Travel Towel – additional use as a towel while you travel. Throw it down when you decide to take a hot yoga class.
- Travel book for book swaps. I recommend always carrying a paperback book with you. You can always check the book swaps for a new book.
- Mat cleaner (Manduka Organic Yoga Mat Cleaner, 8 oz, Lavender) Or your own recipe for a cleaner. I have no idea how to make one but you can check out resources online to make your own. I like the Manduka one because it is formulated especially for the mats
- Your favorite yoga book – A book to go back to when you need some inspiration. I frequently go back to Light on Yoga – Light on Yoga: The Bible of Modern Yoga. I love flipping through the pages to find new insights.
- Pose flash cards – The Mark Stephens Yoga Sequencing Deck – when building out flows or looking for inspiration I flip through my cards for a spark.
Planning a backpacking trip or looking to teach yoga abroad? Read about my experience over two years in South America. Teaching and practicing yoga across a continent. If you have any questions Send me a message or DM me on Instagram.