Did you know that the Sanskrit word “sauca” translates to cleanliness? In fact, keeping yoga mats clean is an important part of traditional yoga, known as “kriyas,” the cleansing practices of Hatha yoga. Yogis believe that cleanliness helps to open up charkas and deepen the yoga practice and experience.
Regularly washing your yoga mat will kept it soft and sticky, prevent bacterial growth and maximize the life of your mat. The best way to keep most yoga mats clean is to wash them by hand, so here are some tips to show you how to wash a yoga mat easily.
Deep Clean Your Mat
For its first wash, or whenever your yoga mat seems particularly dirty, you will probably want to give it a really thorough cleaning.
- Run a few inches of cool or slightly warm water into a bathtub or large laundry sink and add a few drops of mild, non-oily detergent. Make sure you don’t add too much soap or it will be difficult to rinse away completely, leaving your yoga mat unnecessarily slippery.
- Submerge the yoga mat in the water. Let it soak for a few minutes (the longer you let it soak, the more thoroughly it will be cleaned).
- Gently rub down both sides of the mat, top to bottom, using the soft side of a sponge, a piece of terrycloth, or even just your hands. This will help the mat to develop that soft, ‘grippable’ surface for which sticky yoga mats are so prized.
- Rinse the yoga mat out very thoroughly in clean water, making sure you get rid of any soap residue.
- To dry your yoga mat, lay it on top of a dry towel and tightly roll mat and towel together like a cinnamon roll. Squeeze out excess water by pressing with your hands or feet. Unroll and hang to air dry. Make sure you let it dry out completely before storing to prevent mold.
Homemade Yoga Mat Cleaner
For lighter, more frequent maintenance cleaning and a quicker drying time, you can just clean your mat with a spray bottle and soft cloth. Here are two easy recipes for your own all-natural mat cleaning spray:
Lovely Lavender Spray
Take an empty spray bottle and add 3 drops of tea tree oil, two drops of peppermint oil, and two drops of lavender oil. Fill the rest of the bottle up with distilled water. Shake well. Spray your mat lightly with this solution and wipe it down gently with a damp sponge.
It is very easy to make a spray-on mat cleaner that will break up sweat and dirt and kill odor-causing molds and bacteria while at the same time extending the lifespan of your mat. Try either of these recipes.
For an even simpler, natural antibacterial/antifungal mat spray, simply mix 1 part warm water with 3 parts white vinegar. You can also try adding a few drops of essential oils like eucalyptus, lemongrass, lavender, mint, or tea tree oil to add a nice aroma and increase the germ and odor-killing potential.
Now that you have a clean yoga mat, put it to good use! Check out a yoga class in your area or stop in to a yoga class taught by one of the 3 Healthy Chicks! See below:
Wednesday's with Terra – 7:00pm Gentle Hatha – a combination of traditional Hatha yoga asanas, breath work and meditation. Yoga alignment and modifications of poses accessible to all. $10 drop in fee.
Hot Mamas Prenatal Yoga with Terra - 8 week Session starting May 4, 2010 - Wise Mamas Prenatal will help you reconnect with your innate female wisdom and the natural process of birth, guiding you through a class specifically designed for the journey of pregnancy.
Mommy and Me Yoga with Terra - 8 week Session starting May 4, 2010 - Post-natal yoga class (babies and mom's 6-8 weeks postpartum) focuses on strengthening the spiritual, emotional and physical bond between parent and child. This practice will enhance your sense of well-being, connect with your body, gain strength and flexibility and connect with your baby.
Hot Mamas Prenatal Yoga with Terra - 8 week Session starting June 23, 2010 - Wise Mamas Prenatal will help you reconnect with your innate female wisdom and the natural process of birth, guiding you through a class specifically designed for the journey of pregnancy.
Friday's with Lauren - 5:30pm Gentle Hatha - traditional Hatha asana, breath work and meditation. $15 drop in fee.
Keep it fresh!