Browsing through the internet the other day I came across an advert for yoga mat wipes.
It got me thinking about my beloved mat.
Then I remembered the ‘infection’ I got, I think from my yoga mat.
I am a huge finger nibbler. I can proudly say I don’t really bite my nails anymore, but instead I will aimlessly chew around my nails. It is a terrible habit and the more you do the more the skin needs nibbled – disgusting eh! Surprisingly more than a few of my friends suffer from this habit too and I was called on it the other week by a fellow nibbler, because unlike other habits this cannot be hidden and she noticed my horrible fingers immediately. My fingers will bleed from my efforts and it was this that I think caused my infection.
During my training as a yoga teacher my mat was well used, but I really don’t remember cleaning it as such-eek! After a particularly eager chew of my thumb, I went to class with my thumb wrapped in toilet roll to stem the bleeding, before jumping on my mat.
Despite not really noticing the open cut and blood connecting with the mat for the full hour and a half I certainly knew it the next day. I have had sore before, without any yoga mat, but this was different. My thumb throbbed. It was swollen, hot and very angry (no wonder). Bumping it on anything made me shoot through the roof with pain. Such a little thing was now making me wince big time!
The wound quickly became yellow and weepy and I knew an infection had set in. I was way too embarrassed to go to the doctor and I avoid antibiotics given the chance, but I needed to do something quick.
I vaguely remembered my Mum talking about a paste you could put on infected wounds and once I Googled my symptoms, I found out I had ‘poison finger’ and that some people do need antibiotics. Some also get a totally green finger because of it aaggh! However, it did say the magnesium sulphate paste can be used and was a more holistic approach, as it is basically Epsom salts paste style.
After a couple of days of covering the wound in the paste and wrapping it up a little, the pain subsided and the swelling went down. The ugly, deformed thumb edge remained for sometime longer all crusty and gross.
My point is that although you can get the same infection without a yoga mat, I am sure the low attention to cleanliness I had given my yoga mat (probably just thinking it’s just my dirt!)really didn’t help the situation and therefore mat wipes maybe aren’t such a bad idea.
Studios are very good about mat hygiene. Many, especially hot yoga places, will steam their mats after class to kill bacterial whilst others have a set routine each day or even each class to spray and clean for people to use hygienically.
So we must approach our own mats with this vigour. Obviously I’m a bit OCD about it now.
I also get new students commenting a lot about their new mats. They tend to bit a bit slippy at the beginning and contrary to what I have just said – we used to state that ‘a bit of dirt makes them less slippy and more grippy’. However we really mean a bit of use rather than dirt 🙂 They can also be a bit smelly. New mats I think smell strange both the cheap ones and the eco so get them smelling good with the tips below.
Here Are A Few Top Tips For Your Mat Care
1. When you buy your new mat and want to lose the slip, pop in the washing machine on a cold or cool wash (if it will fit) with tiny, tiny bit of mild detergent, being careful to remove before the spin (mine did survive the spin but not sure if machine liked it) then rinse with lukewarm water and hang out to dry on clothes line or similar.
2. If the machine won’t manage the mat simply soak in the bath with a little milt detergent then hang out to dry.
Keep Older Mats Clean
3. Make your own spray. Mix 1 tbsp. (15 ml) of laundry detergent or dish soap with 1 gallon (3.7 l) of lukewarm tap water. Mix thoroughly in a spray bottle and lightly spray the surface of the yoga mat with the mixture. Lightly scrub with a sponge to ensure everything is clean.
4. Buy a pre-made spray online or as I mentioned before yoga mat wipes if you prefer. Many are botanical or similar, so you can avoid using chemicals.
5. Add a little aroma ( you will be up close and personal so make your mat sticky not stinky) with a lovely aromatherapy spray of your choice. I recently visited Tir na nOG holistic centre and picked up a fabulous natural body and space spray called Summer Sanctuary from Fairyland Aromatics. The aroma last for ages and is commented on by many others in the class.
6. After all that and a yoga class, finally pamper yourself with *Arbonne’s Seasource Detox Spa Renewing Body Gelee to soothe and detox and their new Phytosport nutritional clean and plant powered fuel products to support your physical body while yoga supports your spiritual body.
* I am an Arbonne Consultant for pure safe and beneficial body care & nutritional products. If you wish to order anything at a discount or wish a free trial please contact me.
Created 19th May 15 by Emma Frame