There you are, breathing your way into downward dog, and as you look down between your hands, you get distracted by the spots and dirt on your Gaiam yoga mat. Where did that come from? Think about it, it's with you wherever you go--the truck of your car, your locker at the gym and, of course, countless hours of yoga classes. There's no need to treat your mat as a disposable item, though; it is remarkably easy to keep them clean and germ-free.
Many companies now produce products to clean yoga mats. Gaiam, leaders in the yoga industry, offer a Yoga Mat Wash that's made with organic essential oils that are antiseptic and antibacterial. This will not only clean your yoga mat but also give it a refreshing scent.
Prefer a homemade approach to cleaning? Make a solution of water and tea tree oil, a natural antiseptic/antifungal. Fill a small spray bottle with the solution and keep it on hand to wipe down your mat after each class.
According to Yoga Journal, if your mat is slightly soiled, use a spray bottle and damp sponge or soft rag to apply a solution of 2 cups of water and 4 drops of dish soap. Rub the soiled areas. Wipe the mat with clean water; then rub with a dry towel. Hang or lay flat to air-dry.
If your Gaiam yoga mat has become really dirty, submerge it in a bathtub filled with warm water and mild detergent. Use very little soap; residue can cause the mat to become slippery. Thoroughly wash the mat and rinse in clean water. Roll the mat up in a large, dry towel, pressing lightly to remove the excess water, unroll and hang to air-dry, keeping it away from direct heat and bright sunlight.
Gaiam recommends washing your yoga mat with 1/4 cup of vinegar to revive stickiness after long-term use.
Store your Gaiam yoga mat in a mat bag when not in use.
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Based in Los Angeles, Texas Boesch has been a personal trainer and yoga instructor (E-RYT) for over 20 years. With an innovative training style and inspirational voice, her intention is to strengthen not only the body, but the mind and spirit as well. Boesch is a freelance Web writer as well as an author for The Fitness Underground's monthly health and fitness newsletter.
Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of lululemon athletica