Yoga mats (also called sticky mats) are used in most yoga classes to provide cushioning and traction. While you can usually utilise or rent a mat at a yoga studio or gym, it’s a good idea to buy your own.
Why you ask, well I will make you change your mind, unless you have no problem with other peoples sweat and bodily fluids. Never mind the amount of bacteria, including staph, and fungus the mats harbour. Let me explain more.
That yellow stuff? Bacteria from the yoga mats, growing in a petri dish in a lab
“If you swab a yoga mat you probably are going to pick up viruses and certainly funguses,” says Dr Seth Rankin, a GP and chief executive of the London Doctors Clinic. “Minor things like athlete’s foot can be picked up in any moist environment, it’s why we wear flip flops in the gym showers,” he says.
Oh no it gets worse… A US surgeon – Dr David Anthony Greuner – recently issued a more serious warning by claiming that herpes, a virus more commonly associated as coming from sexual contact, could potentially be picked up from dirty mats. He says in a blog post: “Making skin contact with a dirty yoga mat covered in germs and bacteria can lead to skin infections, acne, toenail fungus and even transfer of the herpes virus and staph and strep infections in susceptible individuals.”
What about ringworm… If you’re sweating profusely, yes it can feel amazing at that moment. But your hard-earned sweat droplets are most likely rolling right onto the mat, making it the perfect space for germs, viruses, and bacteria to gather. As disgusting as it is, some type of fungus is bound to form on that sweaty surface eventually, and ringworm is a fungal infection that typically grows on highly used surfaces, like yoga mats. Those who are diabetic can more easily contract certain infections, and they can contract illnesses that result in boils of the skin or even carbuncles from using an infected mat.
Convinced yet… An average person touches their face about 18 times per hour, which greatly contributes to the passing of germs back and forth… oh yes, but these are your fellow yogis.
Well despite all that it’s time to buy a yoga mat. Wait for my next article where I will explain how to identify the right yoga mat for you and why. Feel free to comment. Don’t forget to like my Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/YogaJoSA/