When it comes to practicing yoga
, our mat is a signature of who we are as students. The yoga mat serves as a safe space and sanctuary for many practitioners. They’ve become very mainstream and, in some cases, expensive – especially for high quality, environmentally friendly options. This little rectangle of space is your space to be present and experience your practice. Keeping this sacred space clean is very important.
“You’re entering a sacred space when you practice, so the way you keep that space has an effect on what you get out of your practice” says Heather Lilleston
, co-founder of Yoga For Bad People
The fact of the matter is, especially if you practice hot yoga, your mat absorbs lots and lots of sweat. But even if you’re not sweating during your practice, simply stepping onto your mat after walking on a studio floor invites fungus and bacteria to grow, which can cause infection. Plus, in time, your mat will just plain stink!
Why should I clean my yoga mat?
The answer is a simple one: GERMS!
Floors are dirty – especially floors where students walk around barefoot before class. Not to mention, many studios host fitness classes in the same room – hello, dirty street shoes! One way to protect your feet and keep your mat clean is to wear yoga socks
or using wipes
to clean your feet before you practice (opt for natural wipes rather than harsh chemical wipes).
“Experts say a yoga mat is considered to be one of the dirtier things that you can use. And they are prone to transferring infections. For example, if a person who had a fungal skin infection were to use the mat before you, the next person to have contact with the mat is at risk for contracting the infection,” Michael Lazar says in a HuffPost article
- Spray it: Pour Apple cider vinegar in an empty spray bottle. Spritz the ACV on a soft cloth and gently wipe down the entire mat. Let mat fully dry before rolling.
- Bathe it: Place your yoga mat in a bathtub filled with warm water. Use a sponge with dish soap or a mild detergent to wash the mat in the water. After, dry out your mat by hanging it over the edge of the tub, shower door, or even outside to dry.
- Make it: In a spray bottle, combine filtered water with lavender, eucalyptus, peppermint and tea tree essential oils. Spray onto soft cloth and wipe down entire mat. You could also combine equal parts witch hazel and water with your favorite essential oil.