When it comes to your mat, it’s what you can’t see that can hurt you.
There are many kinds of bacteria that live on the skin and generally do not affect a person, but when these microorganisms have time to propagate and colonize on a mat problems can start. This is also true for viruses, athlete’s foot fungus, and mildew.
The media has long been reporting on yoga mats serving as petri dishes. Major dailies like the New York Times to Elle and Healthy Living magazines, have all sounded the alarm to raise awareness around the importance of a clean mat.
Take a read. What you’ll discover is a yoga or exercise mat is a perfect incubator for many skin infections and other infections including HPV, strep, ringworm, athlete’s foot and meningitis.
Typical communal yoga and exercise mats are risky enough, but doing hot or Bikram yoga further increases the risk of transmission because nasty organisms thrive in warm environments.
While bringing your own mat reduces risk, it does not stop your mat from becoming its own petri dish. It’s important that you clean your own mat regularly as mats naturally attract oils, dirt and the germs that create what is biofilm.