Yoga Mats 101 & Cleaning Tips

Yoga Mats 101 & Cleaning Tips


My Mat of Choice – One of the most common initial questions I get from students is which yoga mat is best.  Well, it is really up to the practitioner, and sometimes you have to spend some time with a new mat in order to get a feel for whether it is going to work for you for the long-term.  The Black Mat that adorns the front of our studio, and which has been my staple mat for many years, is about 10 years old!  When I first purchased this mat, Manduka only carried two types – the infamous Black Mat (that only came in… black) and their Travel Mat.  Things have changed, color choices have increased and different materials are used these days, but I am still an avid lover of my original mat.  I think at the time I paid about $60 for the mat, which now retails at $100, but has paid for itself over and over again.  The Black Mat is quite weighty and you can get a workout just by carrying it around.  Sometimes I think I opened the Garden just so I would have a permanent place to park my Manduka!  (JK!)  Now I know this mat has not satisfied 100% of its users, however, if you decide to invest in any mat, be sure to give it some time to patina under your use.  If a mat tends to be ‘slippery’, try setting it out in the sun for a few hours.  The more you use it, the less sliding should happen.  And be sure to adhere to the specific cleaning instructions.  I know mat-attachment happens, but remember the practice of aprigraha (non-attachment).  I purposefully do not travel with my own mat.  I either use the blanket that lives in the trunk of my car, or I use a borrowed mat from the studio I’m visiting.  One of my favorite introductory mats is the Wai Lana – it always makes me smile and helps me connect with my inner-beginner.  P.S.  My Manduka does not make my Eka Pada Rajakapotasana and metta meditation any better than they are on my Wai Lana.  The point is to have the same experience whether you are on a wool blanket or practicing directly on the soil of Gaia.

I love spending a fall afternoon in my outdoor apothecary mixing and matching essential oil blends, skincare delights and my newest concoction of our Lavender Mat Cleaning Spray!  Including fresh lavender as well as tea tree and witch hazel for their antiseptic and cleansing properties, leaving both a feeling of relaxation and renewal.  Make a check mark on your saucha (cleanliness) niyama (moral observance) list by giving your mat a little lavender love.  $8 at Altar Your Space, Yoga Garden.

Mat Morsel:  After washing your yoga mat, roll it tightly in a couple of bath towels to squeeze out the excess water, then hang under the sun to help maintain it’s freshness and stickiness!

Tender Tip:  Tender knees or elbows?  Cut a slice of an old mat and place it horizontally on your regular yoga mat in order to provide an extra layer of padding for those sensitive areas.

Do you have a favorite yoga mat or prop?  Please share below!

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