Following proper hygiene is very pertinent when practicing yoga in a group setting. Most studios are quite small and congested, where leading yogis practice in close proximity with one another. It’s not just foul smells from body odor, but strong and overwhelming perfumes too, which can mess up your mindset while you’re in the meditative state.
Keep it clean and simple, as far as possible, with more stress on the former, to prevent the festering of germs, bacterial growth, and fungus in the area you practice. Here are some things to keep in mind:
Purify: According to the sacred Yoga Sutras, five niyamas/duties must be followed by yogis—one of which is “Saucha”, which means cleanliness. So, the first thing you should make sure you do before coming to class is to shower. Not only will you smell nice, but you will take out some of that stiffness in the body by warming up your muscles and invigorating the blood flow. Showers shouldn’t just be reserved for after the class.
Sense Of Smell Is Most Closely Linked To Memory: This is exactly why taking care of body odor is very important. It’s not just about your personal scent, but a window to the world and how others perceive you. Be sure to wear a natural deodorant that is chemical-free, or simply make one at home. Take 3tbsp coconut oil and baking soda, 2tbsp shea butter and arrow root, and an essential oil of your choice. Simply heat and melt the coconut oil and shea butter, and then mix in the baking soda and arrow root. Stir, and at the end add the essential oil (optional). Just store it in a glass jar for use.
Eat Clean, Cheat Clean: The key is to stay hydrated and eat a lot of fresh foods. Try the raw foods diet, which will not only complement your practice, but also detox your body, and prevent foul odors (flatulence and belching, included).
Clean Up Your Act: Wash your yoga pants, sports bras, and active wear regularly. Even if your class is indoors, its cold outside, or you’ve been in an air-conditioned environment, lack of perspiration is not a barometer of cleanliness. Active wear sits closely on our body, and with its many sweat-absorbent materials and weaves, is perhaps the biggest breeding ground for bacteria, germs, skin irritants, grime, and dirt too.
Put In Place A Cleaning Routine: Make it a ritual to thoroughly clean up your practice space and props, individually, at least once a week. On the other hand, you can sanitize and air your yoga mats daily. Make a natural disinfectant with some tea tree oil, water and soap, or, just use commercial, but organic cleaning products specifically designed to clean yoga mats and props. Once in a while, leaving your gear out in the sun can help too. Manduka mats and Mysore rugs can be put in the washer and hung to dry.
Make note that with summer around the corner, it is more imperative than ever for you to get stringent with your cleaning routine. Maintaining good hygiene will not just prevent diseases, but take a load off, mentally and physically, just by helping you be more organized and focused.