How often do you do yoga to help to cleanse your mind, body, and soul? But what will you be doing when you take a whiff of what is emanating from your yoga mat? Newsflash! It is a favored territory for microbes and bacteria, a more effective vector for germs than airline seats or cell phones. Furthermore, Dr. Cohen, a podiatrist from Long Island commented in the NYTimes that he sees an ever-increasing number of skin ailments, particularly plantar warts and athlete's foot which he attributes to yoga mats.
Fungi love warm, moist places and the surface of a yoga mat provides the ideal habitat. A recent public health study also revealed that a high degree of microbial diversity might be linked to poor personal hygiene, as well as to the inadequate cleanliness of a facility’s equipment. Perhaps it is time to take yoga to the open air.
Cleanliness: a core part of yoga
Think about your yoga space. Commercial air ducts at public gyms and studios increase air circulation and help keep the rooms conditioned but are the floors clean in the room you are in? Obviously, gyms do have sanitation standards whereby staff clean floors and wipe down equipment and machines at the beginning and the end of the day, but it is not practicable to do so after every workout.
At home, where the sweat, dust, and dirt can accumulate, it is recommended that you clean your equipment after each use to maintain a high level of hygiene of your personal equipment.
This is also true for your Shakti Yoga Wheel®. We get this question quite often "How do I clean my yoga wheel"?
Remember, it is not just your yoga mat you need to keep clean, washing yourself before and after (wiping down feet pre-session) can help to maintain your kit for longer.
Clean it regularly or replace it
Since our bare skin often touches the mat, there are both eco-friendly and skin-friendly ways to clean and sanitize. Try making your own cleaning solution with one part vinegar and three parts water. It helps disinfect and eliminate any feisty odor. A two minute immersion in the bath will treat your mat to a deep clean. Remember to hang it up after wiping it down until it is dry before you roll it back up again.
Make your own spray for cleaning down your mat straight after a session, try a cocktail of drops of essential oils, four drops of tea tree, two drops of peppermint and one drop of lavender with eight fluid ounces of water in a spray bottle. Remember tea tree oil is renowned for its antifungal properties.
Over time, your mat can become unbalanced, uneven and less sticky. The result of this is a dangerous lack of support for your joints. It is at this time that you should be ditching it and treating yourself to a new one. Whichever new mat you choose, don't ditch the new cleansing routine.
Keep on rolling and enjoy your yoga practice!
Guest author Jane Sandwood