Self-Care: Yoga Mat Edition (DIY Cleaner)
If you own your own yoga (or any exercise) mat, you need to be cleaning it regularly. Without getting too graphic, just picture days, weeks, or even months worth of sweat and bacteria accumulated in your mat. Your mat can even go moldy without it being visible. Regular cleaning helps you sustain your mat for longer use, and can even prevent body and face acne.
More importantly, in the yoga practice, your mat is also a sacred place that holds space for you to move, feel, process, and let go. Cleaning your mat after each use is a form of practicing Shaucha, the first Niyama. The Niyamas are one of the eight ethical limbs of yoga that are intended to guide the way you live on and off your mat. Shaucha is the Niyama that surrounds purity and cleanliness. Clean your mat between practices to let that old stuff go, physical and emotional.
So why should you make your own cleaner? First, store-bought cleaners are super expensive, and usually come in plastic bottles. Second, if you practice at a studio, sometimes you don't want to wait for a spray bottle to free up after class. Third, you can customize the scent!
Grab a spray bottle: Either take any old spray bottle and clean it out, or get a nice glass bottle to reuse.
Add water until your bottle is half way full. I like to use water from the fridge, or water that has gone through a filter.
Fill your bottle with Witch hazel distillate (a natural astringent) until 3/4 full.
Add in 2-10 drops of tea tree oil (for anti-bacterial properties) depending on the size of your bottle. I use 10 drops for a 16oz bottle.
Optional: Add in another essential oil for scent. I like to use orange, lavender, peppermint, or eucalyptus. Use half of what you used for the tea tree oil.
That's it! After each practice, spray your mat generously and wipe off with a soft towel or sponge. Let your mat dry completely before storing.
Take care (of yourself and your mat!),