Most studios offer rental yoga mats for student’s who may have forgotten to bring theirs, visitors from out of town, or first-time students. Offering rental or communal mats is a way to ensure no one has to be turned away for lack of a mat, but it really shouldn’t substitute having your own. Yoga mats are spongy and porous making them great for cushioning your knees and wrists but highly susceptible to sweat and germ absorption.
Here are a few facts on why rental mats should be limited use only:
- Bacteria may be killed with anti-bacterial disinfectant – but viruses can live in mats for weeks. In order to really eliminate all germs studios would need to use high powered, highly chemical (note: toxic) cleaning solutions and these still don’t work on all viruses.
- Using heavy duty cleaning solutions run the risk of causing irritation and are harmful to the staff who labor to scrub the mats by hand each week.
- Studios (like Namaste) that run classes nearly all day do not have time to scrub the mats between class. While we do our best to cycle in clean mats before each class, it is not always a guarantee. This means regular mat borrowers inevitably end up with a dirty mat once in a while.
- Using a rental mat means you have nothing to practice on at home!
Your yoga mat is your sacred space. When you have your own, it becomes a portal to your practice, allowing you to roll it out anywhere and find a few minutes of connection with your body and breath. That’s why we are encouraging all of our students to find a mat that they love.