Here it comes again – are you prepared?(Read time approx. 2 min. 30 sec.)
As a yoga teacher, I’m acutely aware when it’s flu season. Not only because of the spike in emails and texts I receive from bed-ridden yoga teachers looking for last-minute cover, but also because of the chorus of coughs and sniffles I start hearing in class.
Immune Support Go-to’sNaturally, because I’m in close contact with so many people, I have my regular go-to’s when it comes to protecting myself. I wash my hands thoroughly after each class. I also regularly take some combination of astragalus root tincture, Sambucus syrup (black elderberry), zinc and mega-doses of vitamin C. I’m also a huge fan of the natural ability of salt water to kill bacteria and pathogens. I gargle with it when I have a sore throat and use a neti pot with lightly salted water when I feel I’m getting a head-cold. Finally, although it’s not my favourite thing to do in the winter months, I regularly do something called cold thermogenesis (sauna and cold showers) as a way of stimulating the immune system.
Flu and Studio HygieneThe absorbent nature of many types of yoga mats makes it almost impossible for studios to keep their mats clean, especially when you consider that flu viruses can live on surfaces up to two days and other common viruses up to seven. Studios often remind students to spray and wipe down mats after use, but I still feel there are too many uncontrollable factors to guarantee that mats get the type of cleaning they really need.
Yoga Mats vs TowelsAs scary as it all sounds, I have never felt the need to skip a class or practice because of the risk of infection. Obviously owning your own yoga mat or towel goes a long way towards cutting down potential risk. Personally, I always keep a yoga towel in my bag. They are easier to carry around than a mat, and they also act as a great barrier between you and any mat you grab in class. The other great benefit of using a yoga towel is that, unlike any mat, they are machine washable and easily dry overnight.
My Yoga Towel StoryTo me, using a yoga towel makes complete sense when it comes to hygiene. But the trouble I used to have was that I could never find a yoga towel that would give me the kind of grip I was looking for. I would constantly have to switch between towel and mat mid-class, which I not only found annoying and disruptive, but clearly negated the original hygiene benefits.
In the back of my mind I always knew that if I wanted to get the kind of towel I was looking for, I was probably going to have to create it myself – and that’s the sort of challenge I find hard to resist. The problem as I saw it was: how to create a towel not only with the ability to grip, but with a superior level of grip throughout an entire practice no matter the conditions, wet or dry? It took a little time, but I finally got there!
Flu Peace-of-MindFlu season is never great, whether you practice yoga or not, and creating the Gecko Touch Yoga Towel is hardly the equivalent to finding a cure for the common cold. But I have to say that at this time of year having a yoga towel that grips, while also giving me a protective barrier against germs, gives me peace-of-mind each time I turn up to class.
Ps. I’m happy to report that although this year’s flu season seems to be a bad one, so-far-so-good! I love yoga and I love teaching, but the worst part of the job has always been trying to find cover when you’re ill. 🙂
BBC: Should you wipe down your gym yoga mat to avoid germs?
You Need To Know About The Germs On Your Yoga Mat
Beware of Germs