How to keep your Yoga equipment clean – tips and tricks
AWESOME NEWS! Your local gym and yoga studio have re-opened and your favourite yoga class is now back on the timetable. YAY!
But let’s not forget the big elephant in the room. COVID-19 is still a massive pain in the proverbial and people are still apprehensive about returning to their in-person yoga classes.
My limited research seems to suggest that class attendance is at an all time low with at least 50% of regular attendees choosing to stay away.
Studios themselves are reducing the class capacities but it seems we aren’t in a rush to get back to it – preferring outside fitness options and online offerings.
I can’t say I blame them. But, if you are someone who needs to get back on it and salute the sun with your fellow yogis, then how do you keep safe? Here are some of my thoughts – note that this is what I would do and is in no way an authority or alternative to government guidelines and new rules your studio has put in place.
before you go back
First and foremost, I would make sure 100% that you have your own mat. Regardless of cleaning regimes gyms and studios have in place, there is no way I would use a communal mat. In fact some studios are even refusing to offer mats for use and I think it’s wise.
I know how much abuse I put my own mat through. Copious amounts of sweat is standard for anyone that has a dynamic practice. If I’m putting my face on my mat I want to know it’s my sweat I’m touching – Child’s pose (Balasana) anyone?
That would be my first port of call.
Secondly, I would have a look at what new procedures are being put in place at your studio and decide if you are happy with them. Also, shop around. Have a look what other studios are doing and see if you think that your regular studio is doing enough.
It feels like it should go without saying, but please don’t head to the gym or your studio if you feel unwell or experience any Covid-like symptoms. You shouldn’t be exercising when sick anyway but really don’t spread your unwanted germs – it’s just downright selfish.
I’ve been amazed at the lengths some studios are going to, and disappointed at the efforts of others. The government can advise what they like, but at the end of the day, I also need to feel comfortable in the environment I am practising in.
packing your kit
This may seem obvious, but make sure you add cleaning wipes and hand sanitiser to your kit bag. You never know if supplies will run out – we all remember the stockpiling at the beginning of March 2020 don’t we?
I would also make sure you have your face mask with you. I wouldn’t recommend using during your class (as long as safety measures are in place), but we are at a point now where you really shouldn’t leave home without one. Some studios are also making mask-wearing mandatory during class. It’s better to be prepared and if you fancy treating yourself to an awesome mandala print mask, we have some fabulous reusable ones available for sale.
Pack a towel if you can. A special yoga towel for your mat is ideal – especially if you need to borrow a mat from the venue, but please note, most studios are not offering mat rental so there has never been a better time to treat yourself to a fancy new mat.
Then also add a couple of pairs of socks. We mainly practice yoga in our bare feet and certainly when I teach classes, I’m walking all over the studio floor. This of course will be different moving forward but I think I will be packing an extra pair of socks to minimise my contact with the studio floor. Some may consider this is to be a little overzealous but we are living in really weird times right now, and you really can’t be too careful. I assume that everyone and everything has Coronavirus and my behaviour has changed alot with that mindset. I sanitise and cover up wherever possible.
at the studio
SANITISE, SANITISE, SANITISE.
Your studio should have hand sanitiser at the entrance. Use it. If they don’t have any available, remember you packed extra in your kit bag because you were super organised.
Avoid using the facilities if possible and definitely no showers. Again the rules may differ from studio to studio but anything ‘communal’, I would avoid right now. Of course, if needs must and nature calls by all means but I would always try and do your business at home. Staff have enough on their plate, keeping on top of the new procedures they have in place.
Arrive on time for your class – not early. It’s just easier if there aren’t groups waiting outside the studio to get into the room – especially if the entrance and exit are the same door.
Inside the studio, make sure you stick to your marked out spot and keep your distance from others (excuse the stating of the obvious). Make sure you are as hygienic as possible. A friend of mine mentioned something that has remained in my head and I touched upon briefly above – assume everyone around you has Coronavirus. That mindset will ensure you behave sensibly and keep yourself as clean as you possibly can.
Chuck your towel, face mask and used socks in the washing machine.
Clean your mat. Every brand is different, and depending on the material of your mat will depend on how you look after it and keep it clean.
I use a tiny drop of dish soap in alot of water and use a soft cloth or sponge to clean my Liforme mat, which is the recommended guidance for my mat.
Some use a few drops of tea tree oil in a water spray bottle, but some care instructions advise against this. I’ve even used diluted Zoflora before and know some people who stick their mat in the washing machine (I’ve never done this!). Err on the side of caution and check the guidance. If there isn’t any, you can use my tips above, but use them at your own risk.
Make sure your mat is completely dry before rolling it up and putting it away. My mat usually dries quite quickly but I usually leave it overnight to make sure.
it seems like alot, but it’s not
This might appear to be a long list of do’s and don’ts, but aside from the extra items in your kit bag, most of the guidance here is stuff we should all be doing anyway.
Yes, it might feel a little inconvenient and different, but having a sensible head on your shoulders, keeping your distance and sanitising whenever you see the opportunity to, is hardly asking you to build the Pyramids of Giza or paint the Sistine Chapel is it?
These are hardly ‘sacrifices’, and each individual action could, in some small way, help prevent someone getting sick or even save a life.
Hope this helps and stay safe out there folks.
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