A tip for all of you travelling to Pune to study at RIMYI: Don’t take your yoga mat. I know many people are attached to their mats, and they can’t imagine practicing on any other mat. (Letting your yoga mat go would be a good lesson in Vairagya or non-attachment.) Anyways, I was unaware that mats are available in the institute, so I brought along my own. But I find I’m too lazy to lug it to the institute daily, so now I just use the mats there.
The institute has a wide collection of mats. So depending on what you want to practice,
you can choose the thickness and stickiness of the mat. The thing is, my mat gets very dirty (maybe because of my park classes), and I simply can’t get over how clean these mats are. Even though hundreds of people use the mats daily, the mats are clean and tidy, so you don’t feel all icky about using them.
You probably use your mat daily. Probably sweat on it a lot. Probably walk across it with dirty feet, or others will walk across it with dirty feet. No wonder people find their hands and feet slipping in Adhomukha Svanasana. But a little care for your mat can ensure that it lasts for a while.
If you use your mat in the park (like a lot of my students do), then try to wash your mat weekly. The best practice to wash your mat is to lay it down on the floor and wipe it down with a sponge and soapy water. And then rinse the soap away using the same sponge. Be gentle, because you don’t want to loosen and weaken the fibres of the mat. I suggest you be eco-friendly and use water and vinegar mixed together. In Wellington I used to spray Eucalyptus oil on my mat which would keep it smelling fresh and energizing. You could also spray some essential oil on your mat. Leave it out to dry. Also, try not to use too much soap as you don’t want any residue on your mat.
Don’t wring the mat. Again, it may loosen the fibres and you may end up wringing the mat out of shape.
I know there are special yoga mat wipes which you could use to clean your mat. I know of one case where someone used baby wipes, which was a bad idea because it moisturized the mat. Which is not ideal if you want to practice Adhomukha perfectly. Some people use witch-hazel as well. I’ve never done this.
What I usually do is put my mat in the washing machine and leave it out to dry in the balcony. Simple and time effective. However, I learned the hard way that you shouldn’t put in anything else with your mat. One of my mats came out torn on one end. Learn from my mistakes.