Saucha in Your School & Life
At a recent Teacher In-Service training which I taught one of the participants was looking to collect donated mats in order to have a set for her classroom. I encouraged her to do this as many people don’t know what to do with their gently used mats when they acquire a new one or may have an unused mat at home (gasp, horror!) One of the most important aspects of collecting donated mats is how to clean them. It was especially important in this case seeing as her students have a variety of special needs including compromised immune systems.
Regular yoga mat cleaning needs to be something on your yoga radar – odor, germs, bacteria…need I say more. Unfortunately, many people have no idea how to do this, or even that it needs to be done until the odor becomes rather offensive and child’s pose is no longer a pleasant experience. My favourite explanation is by Eco Yogini because it is eco-friendly and doesn’t involve compromising the yoga mats with detergent or the washing machine.
- one part vinegar
- three parts water
- 10 drops tea tree oil (optional)
- a couple drops lavender oil (optional)
When I do this I simply toss the mat into the tub, just barely cover with warm water, add a couple glugs of vinegar and some dashes of tea tree oil. Swish vigorously for 2-3 minutes. Lift the mat from the resultant brackish water, shake off excess and hang outside on an overcast day.
In a school environment you’ll want to make cleaning yoga mats a regular occurrence as a general public health and wellness practice as well as to preserve the yoga mats for use during the years to come. The easiest way to do this is to have the students spray & wipe after use. Yes, this is an extra step at the end of yoga class, however it will teach respect for the supplies, instill basic cleanliness habits and demonstrate responsibility (you used it, you clean it). You could also make this part of the duties of the school’s Yoga Club which you’ll organize just to get out of having to clean 30 yoga mats all by your lonesome on Saturdays.
Yoga is much more than a number of poses done on a mat. Saucha (one of basic tenets of yoga known as yamas & niyamas) means cleanliness of body, heart, mind and environment. Practice saucha today and clean your yoga mat. Better yet, show a child or teenager how to clean their mat and share this knowledge with the next generation of yogis.
If you enjoyed this post be sure to subscribe (e-mail or RSS) and get tips on yoga for kids and teens delivered directly to you. Also sign up for the YIMS Newsletter and download a copy of our FREE e-book The Pet Store.