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Posts Tagged ‘Shiva Shakti’

Hot yoga can be a messy business. You can’t be afraid of a little or a lot of sweat. But we’ve all heard the tales of people getting sick from communal mats. In fact, the concern at one point seemed to be so widespread that the New York Times covered the story a couple years back.

Communal Yoga Mats: Beware of Germs, by Abby Ellin. “In the last two years, Dr. Cohen said, he has seen a 50 percent spike in patients with athlete’s foot and plantar warts. The likely culprit? Unclean exercise mats, he said…

Research has not confirmed the link between unclean yoga mats and fungal, bacterial and viral infections better known as jock itch, plantar warts and staph infections. Nor can dermatologists and podiatrists conclusively trace these ailments to dirty yoga mats.

Still, some are making unofficial connections.

I must say in the past two years, it seems yoga studios have stepped up they’re cleaning protocol on communal mats. At Jivamukti you put your mat in a laundry bin following class to be washed before the next person uses it- and they’re not even a hot studio. At YogaWorks you also hand your mat back to someone at the front desk, but I honestly don’t know what they do with them once they’re handed over. Most common is the spray bottle solution. Studios like Prana Power Yoga offer spray bottles with cleaning solution but it’s up to the individual to decide how diligent they are going to clean up after themselves. Unfortunately, Prana also offers paper towels…yikes…SO not green. Where can we find compromise? Shiva Shakti in Northampton, MA offers spray bottles with sponges. But I question how much bacteria a sponge can host and transfer from mat to mat? I’m no scientist so I say invest in buying and bringing your own mat! Especially if your studio has mat storage. No one wants to grab that rented mat and have to wonder if it’s wet because it’s been cleaned or because it has been sweat on, ew.

And, I know studios make it a habit to try and clean the floors in between each class but some transitions simply don’t allow enough time to mop the floors before people swarm in. But really, there’s nothing like stepping in a puddle of someone else’s sweat that gets you off on the wrong foot (really, no pun intended).

As for cleaning your own mat, Yoga Journal’s advice is this:

If your mat is lightly soiled, use a spray bottle, damp sponge, or terry cloth rag to apply a solution of two cups of water and four drops of dish soap. Rub the soiled areas. Wipe the mat with clean water; then rub with a dry terry cloth towel. Hang to air dry.

If your mat is heavily soiled, submerge it in a solution of warm water and mild detergent; use very little soap as any residue may cause the mat to become slippery during future use. Thoroughly hand wash the mat and rinse in clean water. After squeezing out the excess water, lay the mat on a dry towel and roll the mat and towel together. Stepping on the rolled up mat will squeeze more moisture out of the mat and into the towel. Then unroll and hang to air dry.”- Donna Raskin

If you’re looking for an even deeper clean, visit the sight of your mat’s maker- often times your mat can handle a trip through the washing machine and even dryer!

Stay clean!

-Eliza

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Shiva Shakti Yoga in Northampton, MA

Shiva Shakti is one of my new favorite hot power vinyasa studios. It is a much needed, happy addition to downtown, Northampton, Massachusetts. It used to be that when I went home to visit my parents I suffered from the yoga void. I tried a few studios but never found anything close to what was being offered in New York. Shiva Shakti, recently opened on Strong Avenue, certainly fills this void. Brandon is the primary instructor. He comes from Boston (accent and all) and has extensive training under Baron Baptiste. Brandon brings charm and attitude to all of his classes. When you think you can’t hold a pose any longer he tells you to breathe deeper, and keep it up- and you just can’t help but do what he says. Finally, a place where you feel empowered to leave that stodgy old comfort zone you’ve been clinging to for so long!

-Eliza

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