It is 100% true that to practise yoga all you need is the willingness and the patience to do so. The yamas and the niyamas are accessible everywhere, and there is no “wrong” way of practising them. Equally breathing techniques, pranayama, can be incorporated into everything, because well, it’s breathing! As for asana practise, a minimum amount of flat space is of course desirable but after that, the choice of outfit is up to each of us. Even the yoga mat is not compulsory – after all in the ancient times yoga was practised on the ground and the yoga mat as we know it these days is a fairly modern Western invention.
The reality is however that many of us do prefer to practise with some kind of mat, and if asana practise is part of your routine, you probably prefer having your own mat with you as much as possible. Making space for the regular 180 cm and two-three kilo mat is not a massive issue when traveling with a proper suitcase. In fact, it often has come in handy as it can add some much needed cushioning for the more delicate items, such as a dozen or so Cypriot olive oil bottles I have found myself dragging to various places.
Things get a little bit trickier though if you want to travel light with hand luggage only, a fact not helped by the fact that airlines (and airports) can have very different attitude towards bulkier items. About a year ago I invested in a foldable (eco-friendly and ethically made because these things matter) travel yoga mat and whilst folding the mat (instead of rolling) first felt like a sacrilege I did get used to it and seriously, this mat has been golden! It weights under 1,5 kilos (that’s 3.2 pounds), is about 2 millimetres thick and has the best grip of all my mats (mind you, the “normal” Jade mats also have a fantastic grip.) In my backpack I can wrap it around my laptop for extra protection, and I have also used it rolled up as a prop to open up the chest and as a picnic mat because why not?
Some of the mat’s recent adventures are here in the pictures. You can read more about different yogamats here.