Courtesy of Google images

Courtesy of Google images

After 14 classes and some of my own practice, my mat is starting to smell a little foul.

At first I couldn’t put my finger on the odd aroma that was wafting past my nose as I walked home from yoga, mat in arm and then I realized — I hadn’t cleaned my yoga mat at all since I’ve rejoined yoga. When I used to practice, I sprayed my mat after practice, wiped it down, and often set it outside to air.

Now, I just quickly roll it up and keep it that way until my next practice. I fell into bad yoga hygiene.

Surfing the NY Times for the latest yoga news, I found this article about how my uncleanly mat manners could turn into some nasty foot issues.

I am a born again clean yogi and promised myself that I will wash my mat as devoutly as I practice.

There are a few different ways to clean your mat:

Yoga wipes – Commercial wipes are available for a quick-and-easy mat cleaning. This is probably the simplest, most hassle free solution. Jo-Sha wipes also can be used to freshen yourself after class. They are recyclable, come in different scents — lavender, eucalyptus, and tangerine  to name a few –, and can be bought online or in stores.

Spray it down – Usually yoga studios have a spray that you can use — just ask your teacher. The studios that I have gone to with spray usually have herb-scented relaxing smelling scents. If your studio doesn’t have spray for you, you can always use a regular household cleaning product like Lysol, baking soda and water, or another cleanser that has a smell you enjoy. Spray your mat lightly and wipe down with a wash cloth, sponge, or paper towel.

Throw it in the washer – This is something you should do if your mat is in bad shape (something I’m considering). You have to make sure that your mat’s material is washing machine-safe. If it is, toss it in. If not, get a large tub of warm water, cleanser of your choice, and let it soak. Air dry.

You can even get creative, and make your own spray. And it’s always good to let your mat lie flat in some fresh air for a while — keeping it coiled up in a tight roll just makes it smellier.

Yoga high: 0

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