Do you have your own yoga mat, and how do you look after it?
Covid-19 is changing how we visit the yoga studio, club or gym. Many of us bring now their own yoga mat which is also widely recommended by most yoga class providers. If you haven't bought your own mat yet, there couldn't be a better time. I am saying that especially if you are worried about germs, the virus and feel slightly put off going back to the studio because you maybe also feel vulnerable.
Some say that they feel much more peace of mind, less stressed and worrying having their own mat rather than using one from the studio. Having your own mat you always know what you have, you can clean in - read further for some tips - and you can buy yourself a mat that fits you and your practice. There are longer and wider sizes if you are tall or like a lot of space on your mat, there are different materials of which some offer great stickiness and then there are different thickness of mats. Go for a thicker one if your knees often ache or choose a travel mat that is slim and light if you plan to take your yoga mat with you on your holidays or business trips.
To keep your new mat clean, most studios distribute cleaning sprays or antibacterial tissues, however, I as an advocate for essential oils always recommend to make your own little blend with a good quality tea tree oil as this has antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties amongst others.
There were times, I've practiced yoga once a day, sometimes even twice, studied on it, ate on it (my yellow curry marks are proof of it), I cried on it when doing deep heart opening asanas, I slept on it and I used it out in my garden, in the park, at a yoga flash mob and it also travelled with me on many occasions. Years later I still use my same beloved yoga mat, currently rolled out waiting for me to step onto it for my self-practice or my Zoom classes I teach.
Tip how to treat a new yoga mat: wash your new yoga mat before you use it. There are different ways how to do that, the two most common possibly are the washing machine or a deep rub in the bathtub. As most yoga mats are machine washable, you can simply throw them in a cycle by itself with a tad of mild detergent using cold water. Make sure you remove the yoga mat before the the spin cycle as your mat won't like that! Then rinse off the extra soap completely in the bathtub with warm water. It always surprises me just how much dirt comes off my mat!
If you cannot put your mat into the machine, can roll it out in your bathtub and rub it with a washcloth and an eco-friendly, biodegradable soap and a bit of tea tree oil, thoroughly rinse until the water runs completely clear.
Tip for stubborn spots: use lemon juice and baking soda diluted in water to rub out the stains.
Tip for drying your yoga mat: place the wet and well rinsed mat onto a large towel and roll both together. Then stand onto the mat and by doing so, all excessive water will be squeezed out and absorbed by the towel. Unroll the mat and hang it to air dry. Always allow plenty of time to dry completely – never use a damp mat for your practice.
Tip for folding your mat between uses: fold it in half before you roll it up. Actually leave a small gap as the inner portion of the rolled mat will creep forward during the rolling to meet the bottom end. Having your mat rolled up this way, prevents the dust from the floor from contacting the side you use for poses. When unrolling, keep the same side down.
Having a clean mat makes a yoga practice all the more inviting and keeps your mind at peace, especially in the times we are living now.
Enjoy taking care of your beloved yoga mat, the same way you take care of your body which is your temple and immerse into your practice every time anew.