Yoga Mat Charlotte NC
Yoga Mat Hygiene
By Cynthia Morris
A supportive class environment can supply all the motivation you need to twist and turn your way through a series of difficult yoga poses, but who knew that such a virtuous activity could come with a hidden downside? Unfortunately, public yoga mats have recently found the limelight as breeding grounds for low-grade bacteria and fungal infections.
Not everyone in the medical field, however, points a finger at yoga mats. “Red rashes and flaking skin are internally caused, not externally,” says Robert Kornfeld, DPM, a holistic podiatrist in Manhattan and Long Island, New York. “If there were a direct correlation between yoga mats and fungus, then the majority of people who do yoga would be walking around with infections, and they’re not.” Instead, athlete’s foot and other fungi thrive in warm, moist environments—like those encouraged by wearing sweaty socks. They rarely affect people who go barefoot, nor do they lurk on the floor, ready to pounce on unsuspecting yogis. If a rash becomes a by-product of your practice, it could be a sign of flagging health. Infections often indicate that there is something going on with your immune system, say Kornfeld.
But even if no one can find a direct correlation between yoga mats and fungal infections, you might want to err on the side of cleanliness. If you don’t have a mat of your own or don’t always remember to bring one to class, several companies offer solutions to yucky-mat syndrome that promise to clean yoga mats and exercise equipment of sweaty residue. Stirlen Chi provides a line of biodegradable and nontoxic mat cleansers, including wipes, mat wash, and mat spray. Selena Stirlen, the company founder, recommends using the wipes on your mat, feet, and hands. Performing these ablutions before class may strike some as being overly fastidious, but don’t be surprised if others follow your lead.
When it comes to washing your own mat, frequency boils down to your type of practice, your personal constitution, and your personal preferences. “Once or twice a month is enough, depending on how much you sweat,” says Stirlen. “For heavier mats that can’t be put in the washing machine, the spray and wipes work well.” Vermont Soap Organics sells a nontoxic and hypoallergenic Yoga Mat Wash, a spray crafted from certified organic vegetable oils and botanicals. Jo-Sha Wipes, made by Shannan Sanchez, promise to leave the yoga mat sticky rather than slippery and come in a biodegradable packet.
Of course you can also get crafty and make your own yoga mat cleaner with a simple solution of essential oils blended with water in a spray bottle. Antibacterial, antifungal, and refreshing essential oils include lavender, peppermint, cedarwood, chamomile, eucalyptus, and tea tree oils.
Author: Cynthia Morris
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