There’s no set expiration date on yoga mats, but how often you need to change your mat will depend on several factors, including how often you practice. Regularly cleaning your mat can lengthen its life, but eventually, the day will come when you need to replace your old mat with something new.
If your mat is starting to tear, pill or wear thin, it’s time to buy a new one. The thinner your mat, the more difficult you may find accessing and holding standing balance poses. If your mat smells like old sweat, it also may be time to replace your mat.
Cleaning Your Mat
Regularly cleaning your yoga mat will extend its life and decrease your risk of developing bacterial infections such as athlete’s foot. After each use, apply a solution of two cups water and four drops of dish soap with a spray bottle, dry with a towel and hang to air dry. For very dirty mats or every few months, wash your mat with warm water and a mild detergent. Rinse your mat in clean water, squeeze out excess water, dry with a towel and then hang to air dry. The more residue on your mat, the more likely you’ll slip on it during its next use.
Extend the life of the mat
To extend the life of your yoga mat do the following. Never roll up your yoga mat after class. Even if you don’t feel your body sweating, it does, while you are doing yoga.
If you used the towel that you brought with you to wipe away sweat, again do not roll your yoga mat up, especially with a sweaty towel. The towel does not absorb all of the moisture out of your mat, it shares it with the mat. This creates a bacteria-filled towel.
Always use a fresh towel every time that you do yoga. If your yoga mat and towel are filled with bacteria that means the bag that you store your mat in has the same bacteria within it as well. If you buy a new yoga mat, buy a new carrying bag as well.
When replacing your yoga mat, choose one that will help support your practice. Factors to consider include how thick a mat you need, what it is made of, if it is or isn’t textured, if it does or doesn’t have a sticky side and its cost. If you’re worried about carbon footprint, you can find eco-friendly mats that don’t use PVC the way most standard yoga mats do.
1. Your joints hurt
Some poses will put the strain on joints like your wrists, knees, and ankles. If you find yourself skipping poses during your yoga practice because your mat doesn’t support your body in certain areas and it’s leading to joint pain, it’s most certainly time for a new mat.
2. It’s not sticky anymore
If you find your feet and hands constantly slip during poses like Triangle pose and Downward Dog, it could be a sign your mat is wearing out. Traction is especially important when you’re trying to nail those uber-challenging poses during your yoga practice.
3. It stinks
Like, worse than you do. If there are smells coming from it that cleaning it isn’t getting rid of, it’s time to do your yoga practice a favor and invest in a new mat.
4. You struggle to hold balance poses
As the cushion in your starts to wear out, it becomes uneven and makes it difficult to hold balance poses. As it starts to wear, the changes are subtle at first, so if you find your poses are starting to suffer, it’s time to consider seeing other yoga mats
Additionally, there’s no doubt about that yoga mats can get expensive. However, how often you should replace your yoga mat also has to do with the quality of the mat that you purchased. Some mats can be left out in direct sunlight as a means to kill off bacteria within them. Since the summer sun is not available all year round in every state, you may want to consider purchasing a mat that can be thrown into the washing machine.
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