How to Fold a Yoga Blanket

By: Steph Ball-Mitchell, E-RYT-500, RPYT, RCYT, YACEP

How to Fold a Yoga Blanket

how to fold a yoga blanket

One of the first things I learned when I was a student of Iyengar yoga was how to fold a yoga blanket.  The Iyengar tradition of yoga is all about props, and I can't remember doing too many postures in Iyengar yoga classes without blankets.

Later in my yoga practice, I was introduced to the lovely practice of restorative yoga.  During restorative yoga classes, we use many blankets for every pose.  The goal in restorative yoga is for the body to be fully supported.  When I began teaching restorative yoga, I learned that we want to build the floor up to the body.  When the body is not fully supported, we aren't able to find the relaxation and restoration that we seek in the restorative yoga practice.  We want to find the deepest opening in the body, and not the most sensation.  

When Do We Use Blankets in Yoga?

Yoga blankets can also be used in any style of yoga class.  We use yoga blankets to sit in a comfortable seated position.  They can help us to get our hips higher than our knees so that we keep the pelvis in a neutral position and the spine stays long.  We may place a blanket under one or both hips in many postures to help support us when we are tilting too far to either side or our body weight is unevenly distributed.  We can sometimes use blankets in postures where the ankles are uncomfortable, like hero pose to add some padding.   When the knee joint is sore, we can bring a blanket into the bend of the knee to soften the degree to which the knee bends.  Sometimes in tabletop, we pad the front of the knees with blankets. 

We may even spread a yoga blanket across our yoga mat for additional comfort.  Sometimes when it's cold, we can use our yoga blankets to cover up.   There are really countless uses for yoga blankets in yoga classes.  The most common uses of blankets in yoga classes are for support and alignment, comfort, warmth and as props in seated postures.   They are most commonly used under hips, knees, shoulders and ankles.  Yet, there's really no "wrong" way to use a yoga blanket when practicing yoga.  If the blanket is supportive for you in your practice, you should use it in any way you see fit. 

What Type of Blanket is Used for Yoga?

Traditionally, we use twin sized blankets that are firm and wool. Wool is dense and is typically the most durable.  In my opinion, wool blankets are the coziest of all blankets.  Wool is also sustainable and doesn't require much land and water.  After all, sheep grow their coats again and again throughout the season.   Over long periods of time, and with repeated washing, wool blankets may have fibers that start to poke out.  The good thing is that they are moisture resistant and sweat resistant. 

We often see traditional Mexican blankets used in yoga.  There are two blankets in particular that I've most commonly seen.  The first is the Falsa blanket.  We normally see these in yoga studios.  They're extra long, so they can accommodate most practitioners.  The Falsa blanket is pictured above.  I typically use these when I'm practicing and teaching.  The Falsa blankets hold up for countless years.  

The second traditional Mexican blanket that we sometimes see used is the Serape blanket. These are more decorative and often very colorful.  When we were in Mexico City, we bought a Serape blanket.  They are used quite often in home decor, and are styled with fringes at the ends.  They usually have openings for the head, and remind you a little of a poncho.  Traditionally, men would wear these blankets but they are now often used for decor.  In yoga, we see them used most often in meditation for seated postures.  

If you're allergic to wool, don't worry.... you can substitute wool blankets with cotton.  Just try to find the firmest cotton blanket you can find, preferably twin sized.  

How to Fold Yoga Blankets

In accessible yoga practices and restorative yoga classes, you'll realize that we use a yoga pose however and wherever we need to.  You can pop a yoga blanket anywhere you need to, and you may not always take the time to perfect the fold.  However, it's important to know how to fold a yoga blanket.  So often when I'm teaching and I have blankets as part of the postures I'm teaching, I see that every student in the room folds the blanket differently.  

I realized we need more education on the basics of yoga, like how to fold a yoga blanket traditionally.  Today we are going to explore the four most common ways to fold a yoga blanket.

Standard Fold Yoga Blanket

We see the standard fold yoga blanket quite frequently.  This is the yoga blanket fold we typically have in the blankets that we use to prop ourselves up on in Sukhasana, Easy Pose.  Here's how to make a standard fold in your yoga blanket:

1.  Start with the blanket opened completely with no folds

2.  Fold the yoga blanket in half, horizontally

3.  Fold the yoga blanket in half again

4.  Fold the yoga blanket in half again

Basically, you fold your twin-sized yoga blanket in half 3 times and you've got a standard fold.  Just be sure that with every fold, you line the edges up evenly.  It looks like this:

standard fold yoga blanket

Single Fold Yoga Blanket

The single fold yoga blanket has many uses.  Here's how to make a single fold yoga blanket:

1.  Start with the standard fold yoga blanket (see above)

2.  Fold the yoga blanket in half

From the standard fold yoga blanket, you simply fold it in half and you've got the single fold yoga blanket.  It looks like this:

Double Fold Yoga Blanket / Accordion Fold Yoga Blanket / Trifold Yoga Blanket

The double fold yoga blanket is most commonly used as an arm pillow in restorative yoga, but it can be used for many other purposes also.  The double fold yoga blanket is also often called the accordion fold yoga blanket or the trifold yoga blanket.  Here's how to make the double fold yoga blanket:

1.  Start with the standard fold yoga blanket

2.  Imagine dividing the blanket into thirds.  Take one third and fold it over

3. Take the other third and fold it under, accordion style

The double fold yoga blanket, also known as accordion fold yoga blanket or trifold yoga blanket, looks like this:

Long Roll Yoga Blanket

The long roll yoga blanket is often used to support us in gentle backbends.  I teach many heart opening classes that have this gentle restorative backbend at the end.  We take the long roll blanket and place it beneath the shoulder blades as we lay upon it.  There are other uses for the long roll blanket also.  Here's how to make the long roll yoga blanket:

1.  Start with the standard fold yoga blanket

2.  Roll it tightly, long ways

The long roll yoga blanket looks like this:

long roll yoga blanket

We hope that you enjoy the folded yoga blankets as much as we do!  Please join us in our restorative yoga teacher training or online yoga teacher training to learn more about the ways you can use folded yoga blankets.