Your yoga mat is a huge part of your practice. It is what supports you while you flow, what catches you when you fall and what you relax on during your well-earned Savasana! Simply put, your mat goes through a lot! Our mats take care of us during our practice, but how do we care for them? Not only will a clean and well cared for mat will perform better, it will last longer too, saving you the cost of buying a new one, and one less item in the earth's landfill!
So how do we ensure a long-lasting freindship with our mats?
1. Keep it clean!
Let's be honest: our mats can get dirty! Be it from sweaty feet, greasy foreheads or muddy paws from a furry yoga friend, mats can collect bacteria. To ensure an uplifting (and odour free!) practice, keep that mat clean! But before you clean your yoga mat it’s vital you check the material and manufacturer instructions. Mats can be made from a variety of materials including PVC, cork and rubber, so there are various care instructions that differ from mat to mat. In fact, some cleaning methods/chemicals can compromise your mat's performance, so always double check!
To learn more, check out our blog on how we clean our favourite mats here!
2. Let It Dry
After your practice (or after a clean) your mat needs time to dry before you roll it up, especially if class got sweaty! If you have to leave the studio straight away don't worry! Unroll your mat when you're at home and let it dry.
3. Store It Well
Most mats are designed to be rolled up with the front of the mat on the outside. This prevents the edges curling upwards when you use it. Store your mat in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight and away from anything sharp. If you have children or pets, it might be necessary to keep your mat away from them. Which brings us on to our next point...
4. Keep Pets Away
Seeing your furry friend/baby in puppy pose on your mat might be adorable but claws can dent and puncture the surface of your mat (we wont go into the mess babies/kids can make, but you get the idea...) They also likely will walk dirt/bacteria/crayons onto your mat, which can cause problems if not cleaned. Most mats are made just for practising humans, and so for your mat's longevity, ask your furry friends/tiny humans to stay off your mat! If your buddy does like to lay on the mat while you practice, you could place an old yoga mat, blanket or their bed next to your mat as you practice.
5. Keep Out Of Sunlight
Now this doesn't mean you can't enjoy yoga outside surrounded by nature (by all means practice in the sunshine!) just be careful not to expose your mat to too much UV light/rays. Sunlight will fade your mat over time and some mats (like one of our favourites Liforme https://www.wedoyoga.co.uk/collections/shop-liforme-eco-friendly-non-slip-mats) are biodegradable meaning sunlight can degrade it more quickly. Store your mat out of direct sunlight to prolong it's life.
6. Keep Oils At Bay
As yoga mats contain absorbent materials, they can get marked or stained from your body's natural oils. This isn't a problem, but try to avoid getting on the mat with freshly applied oily creams or lotions, to prevent staining as much as possible. If you have a good mat cleaning routine, you should be able to get rid of any markings that do appear.
*Don't forget - Your mat is designed to be used and sweated on, it's okay if it gets a little marked or faded over time, that's how you know you're commited to your practice and getting good use of your mat. Keep it hygienic, store it well and accept it's imperfections as a part of your perfect evolution as a yogi.
By: Katrina Scales