Yoga mats are simple creatures. They don’t talk back, they’re always there for us, they even support us when we fell our life is upside down- like when we practice handstands. Yet this nice little flat friend of ours also needs a bit of TLC, but not the one you’re thinking of. Taking care of your yoga mat is easy, it doesn’t involve long hours of therapy-like talks, but rather a little bit of soap and sun-time. Here are a few tips and tricks on how to keep your yoga mat- and yoga practice- happy.
How To Clean A Yoga Mat
1. Clean It
In order to properly take care of your yoga mat- and yourself- you need it to be clean at all times. And no, shaking it vigorously after it’s been lying on the dirt in your garden doesn’t really count. Take the time to wash it properly, with water and soap if you don’t want something fancy (like making your own yoga mat cleaner), and hang it out to dry. Ideally it should dry in direct sunlight, because the sun helps destroy the bacteria that give that odd, stale smell.
2. Clean Yourself
Now I know we all sweat a bit during yoga practice- especially with hot yoga- but this is not what I mean. I meant making sure that in order to take care of your yoga mat you will clean your feet. Imagine that your feet are on the floor most of the time before being on the yoga mat. That will make it pretty dirty pretty fast, so try to wipe the soles of your feet before yoga. And if you need an extra incentive to grab a few wet napkins on your way to yoga class, remember that your face will probably be on the mat at one point as well. Just food for thought.
3. Use Both Sides
Your yoga mat has 2 sides for a reason. Switching it up every now and then will benefit you in the long term. To take care of your yoga mat you must make sure that you don’t have one side that is over-used, and one that is perfect, like new. Aside from the looks, it helps your yoga mat not get holes so quickly from overuse.
4.Let It Have Some Air
If you’re like me you probably made it a custom by now to wrap your yoga mat all nice and tight after you use it. And while that looks super-neat and Pintrest-worthy, it might not be the best idea if you want to take care of your yoga mat. After your practice- and especially so after hot yoga, where things get sweaty- you should try to leave it out to dry for a few hours. First of all, don’t squeeze it too much if it’s really damp, but rather use a towel to wipe it. That way you will preserve it for longer. If you can, hang it out in the sunshine, or outside in fresh air. If not, hanging it out in your bathroom or balcony will do the trick as long as you try to not have a very high humidity while the mat is hanging out to air.
How do you take care of your yoga mat? Share your tips with us in the comments below so we can all learn your tricks.