No matter how much moola you dropped on your yoga mat, you want it to last and offer you a smooth and injury-free yoga practice. There's not a whole lot that goes into caring for your mat, but here are three things you should never do.
- Lather up: New mats often come with a rubbery or plastic-y odor, so of course your first instinct is to give it a thorough cleaning. Using too much soap can leave a slippery film, so the next time you hop on your mat, it might be dangerously slick, putting you at risk for
falling on your asanainjury. Use this technique instead: dip a washcloth in a solution of two cups of warm water and four drops of dish soap, and lightly rub the mat. Don't scrub it with a rough sponge as this can cause nicks in the smooth surface and lead to holes. Then hang the wet mat over your shower rod to air dry.
- Leave it rolled up: After a sweaty yoga class, you wouldn't ball up your wet outfit, store it in your yoga bag, and then slip it on for your next class, so why is it any different with your yoga mat? It's never a good idea to keep your mat rolled up after a sweat session. The moist, dark environment is bacteria and mold's favorite hangout spot and I doubt you want to practice on a mat covered in that kind of unhealthy growth. It's OK to roll it up right after class, but as soon as you get home, hang it over a door or banister and allow it to fully dry out before rolling it up again.
- Lend it out: You're such a kind and thoughtful yogi, you're even willing to let someone borrow your mat. Stop right there. While it's good karma to share with others, I'm sure sharing germs isn't what you had in mind. Even your dearest friend can give you a cold, so it's best to encourage others to buy their own mat to ensure everyone keeps their germs to themselves.
Source: Flickr User mikecpeck