The Practice (and Ritual) of Cleaning your Yoga Mat
One of the many reasons I love yoga is that it requires so little gear. All you really need is a mat and the dedication to show up and practice. Being a part of the Modo community means you get access to any props you might need during class, making stepping in and out of the studio very convenient.
That being said, our mats do need love and care, especially after a hot and sweaty yoga session. There’s nothing worse than a room filled with stinky mats. If you’ve ever rolled up your mat post sweat only to find yourself flowing to a foul odour during your next class, you know what I’m talking about.
The following are a couple of tips to make sure your essential gear stays fresh for all your yoga days.
Wipe down your mat after every savasana
Once everyone in class is up and going, give your mat a spray and a quick wipe down with your towel. You can even plan to bring a smaller hand towel specifically for this purpose and your own spray bottle if you want to make this process a part of your ritual. Always remember to wait until all fellow yogis are done their practice before spraying your mat. If someone is still in savasana, kindly exit the room and spray your mat in the hallway.
Air out your mat and give it a deep clean once a month
Some suggest once a week, but a week creeps up fast. I like to wipe down my mat and let it air dry to really get any lingering odours out every month. This is especially important if you’re quick to roll your mat after class and don’t unroll it until your next session. Choose a day that you’re not practicing, wipe it down and let it breathe again.
Use quality products and gentle cleaners
You don’t want to use harsh detergents on your mat. The Benefact spray in the hot room is disinfecting and and has a natural smell. There is no need to wipe; you only need to spray and let it sit to disinfect.
If you’re not already using Dr Bronner’s products in your life, then consider this a recommendation to do so. They are gentle, effective and get the job done. They can also be used for a variety of purposes, making them a versatile addition to your routine.
There are also special yoga mat cleaners available on the market such as Canadian brand Saje You could also look at creating your own vinegar and water combo or try out this recipe I found via the Healthy Maven (I have not tried it! If you do, be sure to let me know!)
DIY Yoga Mat Spray
1 16 oz spray bottle.
1/4 cup witch hazel.
10 drops of lavender essential oil.
10 drops of lemon essential oil.
5 drops peppermint essential oil.
3 drops tea tree essential oil.
Choose a mat you love and treat it with respect
For the longest time, I was buying cheap mats that would fall apart within months of using them. Tiny little pieces of mat would surround me after every class. I had been eyeing a Manduka mat for over a year before I finally decided to buy one. Yoga is such an essential part of my day that I decided I deserved a quality mat that works with me in class. It took a couple of rounds at Winners to snag the type of mat I was eyeing from the brand, and I’m so happy with my decision. I look forward to unrolling it every class and it supports me in the process. I consider it as part of the practice, because unrolling that mat tunes me in to my practice and tunes the rest of the world out. A kind studio reminder: to respect the silence in the hot room treat your mat and other students to the slow and silent roll out of your mat. If you’re looking for a mat, Modo sells Lululemon and Halfmoon for students to purchase with love.
As you can see, that one piece of essential gear for your practice can be a part of the practice itself. Taking care of your belongings extends to taking care of yourself and adding a cleaning ritual connects all aspects of your practice.