Wednesday, March 28, 2012

How-To Clean Your Yoga Mat

I just got back into hot yoga recently and thought I would give my yoga mat a little spring clean. All that sweating, feet shuffling brings out the germaphobe in me. So I thought I would re-post this handy little guide on how to clean your yoga mat - enjoy!

I bought a yoga mat from eBay a very long time ago. I can't remember the last time I cleaned it. Er...if I EVER cleaned it. So I emailed Ms. Sandy Braz, a yoga instructor and super blogger of Reinventing Sandy B to give us some tips on keeping your mat fresh:

Like your bed sheets, you have skin-on-skin contact with your yoga mat, so it’s best to keep the surface germ-free and smelling divine, using chemical-free ingredients.

Here are my top three ways to give you yoga mat a makeover:

1) Bathe it. Yep, even your mat needs a good soak after a power yoga class every now and again.

How to: Fill your tub with a few inches of water. Add some biodegradable soap and let it soak for about 15 minutes. Gently ring it out and then let it hang somewhere ventilated. The down-side is that the drying could take as long as 48 hours, so if you practice yoga regularly, you might want to look at option 2 or 3 instead.

2) The spray-down. Most yoga studios will have a biodegradable or eco-friendly cleaner for participant to use, but if you practice at home or just need a good water-free rinse down, here's how to make your own:

SandyB's easy-peasy yoga mat spray

-Get a small spray bottle from any hardware or dollar store

-Fill it will three parts water and one part white vinegar 

-Add a few drops of essential oil, such as lavender for calming or my personal favourite tea tree oil for that extra anti-bacterial punch

-Give your mat a few sprays, front and back and use a small cotton towel to wipe away any excess. Voila!

This spray can be stored in your fridge or at room temp for up to six months

3) Bite the bullet, make a purchase. Ok, so you have a few extra bucks laying around and you want to splurge on a ready-made, eco-friendly yoga mat cleaner. No problem. Most yoga studios will sell their preferred brands or you can shop online at Manduka.com (my favorite yoga mat line, by the way) for these Jo-Sha Wipes, which come in cool colours and are disposable (although they are individually wrapped for easy travel, this does create more waste. Just sayin').

How often should you clean your mat? Everyday, after you practice (a quick spray-down is plenty for daily use). But for a major clean - to get all the grim and foot prints out - once a week even once per month in the bath is a good option.

Sandy Braz is a magazine writer, blogger and yoga lover working in Toronto (and sometimes Paris). She is writing her first book. Sandy knows the best places to sip Kir Royals and talk to strangers in the city. She blogs at http://reinventingsandyb.com







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