Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Clean. Your. Mat.

Whoops!  I hadn't realized a month has slipped by since my last post.  Felt like I just wrote about Andy just last week.  At least I can comfortably say that Andy and I have come to a better understanding this past month.  He doesn't chew on the rugs and I don't holler at him.  Everyone is content. 

I've been struggling with what to post this go around.  Lots of ideas have filtered through the ol' cranium, but nothing has really leapt out and said "post me! post me!"  until last night.  I've been noticing during class that my hands have started slipping on my mat again, and for anyone who has experienced the slow slide of the palms forward, you know how frustrating that can be during a practice when you are trying to focus on other things.  A niggling need to clean the mat, a promise to do it "later".   The irony here is last night after class a student approached me with the same conundrum. 

A post presented itself!  Perfect for the end of the year.

Clean. Your. Mat. 
We wash our yoga clothes on a regular basis.  We wash ourselves after a particularly vigorous and sweaty session.   We've walked around the studio barefoot, maybe down the hall to the restroom, then we go stand on the mat for the next 60- 90 minutes.  Yet our poor mat is  just rolled up after a session and tossed in the back seat of the car until the next time we pull it out for class.   Where it quietly rests baking in the sun.

Can I say...ewwww?   (And I won't even go into 'borrowing' mats in this post.  Major EWWW.) 


Ecoyogini has a splendid post titled :  How to Clean your Yoga Mat



IF you have a front load washing machine or access to a front load washing machine, that is my preferred method.  Toss it in with a cup of vinegar and just a tich (like a tablespoon tich) of detergent.  No more than that otherwise your mat will be sudsey-greasy.   I prefer a warm/cold water setting.  You might want to run the spin cycle twice to really blast out the water.  Remove and hang to dry at least three days. 

Now, this doesn't work for all mats - the Manduka mats (pictured right, for example)  might overwhelm your home washer.  In that case, hang your mat up, use a squirt bottle with about 1 cup vinegar, 1 cup water and a couple drops of detergent.  Tea Tree oil or Lavendar oil or other anti-bacteria esssential can be use in extreme moderation.  You don't want to add to the slipping problem afterall.  

Liberally squirt the surface down (don't be stingy!), wipe well, "rinse" with a cloth wet down with warm water and let dry.  Repeat if necessary. 

I can't emphasize enough to clean your mat at least twice a year if not more, especially for those of us who practice vinyasa, power, ashtanga, fitness, etc, yoga.  We sweat.  Sweat builds up on your mat. Bacteria grows.  Mat stinks.  Then you are working on Locust Pose and your face is right where you plant your feet.  Yucko!

Yup.  Take a moment here at the end of the year and wash your mat! 

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