So you've finally accomplished that complicated inverted balance pose in your Saturday afternoon vinyasa yoga class. But if all you have to show for it (in addition to your improved flexibility, strength and pride, of course) is a crummy, sad-looking yoga mat, it may be time to focus your impressive meditation abilities on ways you can take better care of your equipment.
Here are a handful of steps to lead you on the path to yoga mat zen.
• Unless you want to practice your stretches on a moist, smelly surface, store your mat it in a cool, dark, dry environment. Likewise, give it a chance to air out before you put it away after your practice.
• Avoid leaving your mat out in the sun. Think of your yoga mat like you think of your skin – too much sunlight can toughen and damage it.
• Clean your mat with water after each use. Water with lemon juice or vinegar is a fantastic natural cleaner. You can also use a dedicated yoga mat wash or even a small amount of very mild laundry detergent.