Health and Nutrition

Yoga Hygiene

Yoga is a dirty business. If you’ve ever taken a hot, sweaty flow-style class, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. After a strong 2/3 Vinyasa Flow class, the floor is usually covered with puddles of sweat. Your mat is usually drenched in your own sweat and sometimes the sweat of people who were doing yoga around you. Your clothing is soaked with upwards of 5 lbs of sweat (I have a friend who actually measures the weight of his clothing after yoga class to gauge how tough the class was…). In addition to all this sweat, there’s also dirt and grime everywhere. We step on our mats with bare, often dirty feet. We set our mats down on dirty, often uncleaned floors.

Somehow, after all of this, most of just fire our yoga mats back into our yoga bags, creating the perfect breeding ground for bacterial and fungal growth, and who knows what else. It’s also not uncommon for people to finish a yoga class, and then just wander off somewhere for lunch, a smoothie, or whatever, without taking a shower and sometimes without even changing out of their yoga clothes, creating, yet again, the perfect environment for bacterial and fungal infections on the skin.

So what are some good ways that a yogi can maintain good yoga hygiene?

1. Clean your mat regularly. You can buy cleaning products specifically for this purpose, or just mix some tea tree oil, water, natural soap, and scrub.

2. Don’t wear such tight clothing for yoga. I know companies like Lululemon encourage us to wear tight outfits to show off our yoga bodies, but tight clothing is really not so good in terms of creating an environment that promotes healthy skin. My dermatologist (who is also a yogi) recommends wearing loose fitting clothing and showering immediately after yoga.

3. Tell the people at your studio to clean the floor regularly, preferably with a some kind of natural anti-septic cleaning product.

4. Let your mat air out before rolling it up or putting it back in your yoga bag. Likewise for your Yogitoes.

5. Get your own mat, i.e., don’t use the communal mats provided by your yoga studio.

6. Lastly, be a responsible yogi and clean up your sweat around your own mat. It’s really nasty to walk into a room and step into someone else’s sweat, not to mention unhygienic. And it’s also really dangerous–the other day, one of my teacher’s almost wiped out while walking through the class…boy, was she mad!

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3 thoughts on “Yoga Hygiene

  1. Things really get aweful in Bikram Studios….with all the heat the sweat factor is ridiculous. For me, I always change clothes after yoga, and find that part of the trick to prevent bacterial or any sort of smell issues, is to actually start off your practice clean!

    Yes, that’s right. Take a quick shower (if you can) before class. Or at least rinse off your feet.

    Ravi

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