Deep cleaning a yoga mat is not one of my favorite chores. That said, it’s always an opportunity to be grateful for last week’s classes, the health and time that make a regular yoga practice possible — and the money to pay for the teacher.
It’s also a chance to examine my mat for wear and year — worn spots or other practice “love marks.” While scrubbing the mat I pay attention to each spot, as my hands pass over every square inch multiple times until it’s squeaky clean.
My current go-to studio mat is an eKO™ from Manduka. Although it’s heavy this natural rubber mat has nice cushioning and is quite grippy. Even so my sweaty hands need a micro-fiber towel beneath them during the fieriest portion of the asanas.
My original mat, a Black Mat Pro from Manduka, has been relegated to the room where I practice at home. It’s quite worn after 5 years of practice, almost daily practice during the 3+ years when I used it regularly.
It is very usable for a contemplative home practice, but its surface has lost much of its original grip. I find it too slippery for use in a faster-paced vinyasa class. These days I use it just a couple of times a week, when unable to attend a standard class.
While cleaning my new-ish eKO mat I enjoy the smell of the mat cleaner, an organic soap from Vermont Soap Works. It has a pleasant aroma of herbs and essential oils, a calming scent that will linger to my next class when it dissipates into the studio’s communal exhalations.
Looking up from my soapy hands I see that outside it is clear, cold and sunny — wintry weather in Seattle. Meanwhile the back bedroom is warming up with a space heater, and the yoga mat calls for a late afternoon practice overlooking a sunny woodland park.
Life is good.
There are many things to be thankful for, even if the US government is not one of them…
Thanksgiving is just a few days away.