Mysore Ashtanga rugs
Updated: Dec 2, 2019
In old-time India, before the nowadays common sticky mats existed, the most used surface for practicing yoga was either plain floor, skins of different animals or different fabrics like cotton. The practice was not so rigorous as we know it today. Sitting practices predominated, including pranayama and meditation. Today, these yogic practices have evolved into a more physical and often dynamic way of practice, although the pranayama and meditation are still central part of the practice.
The birth of the yogarugs was primarily due to the necessity for a better surface during practice. By using a rug the non-tapasiyogi was finally able to feel more comfortable, which is why yogarugs has become an essential prop today. A comfy surface is a "must" nowadays.
The yogarugs was originally used as the main surface for practicing. Today the usage of the rugs is very similar, but it is usually preferred to have a sticky mat under in order to keep the rug in place. Additionally yogarugs keeps the natural connection with earth due to its natural fabric, cotton, which provides a softness that manifests in the practitioner as well. Many respected, senior yoga teachers use yogarugs for these reasons.
We definitely have to mention the Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga system and Mysore in relation to the rugs. Mysore, India was the birthplace of Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga, a system deriving from the great teacher Tirumalai Krishnamacharya to it's founder Pattabhi Jois. The asana practice in the Ashtanga system is pshysically intense and sweatproducing, which is one the reasons why these traditional rugs became so popular among Ashtanga practitioners, and they got the name "Mysore-rugs" due to the city of Mysore.
Here you can see the benefits of using a yogarug:
Non-slippery surface, no more losing your grip
Extra protection for the joints and body in general
Protects the sticky mat
When folded it can be used as a meditation seat or blanket
Natural fabric, more gentle towards your skin