Yoga is a workout routine that countless people around the world enjoy. Whether you like to attend a class, do it with a buddy or practice in the comfort and privacy of your own home, a yoga mat is an essential piece of gear.
But if you find yourself in a studio with a group of participants, and you realize that you've forgotten your mat, you may want to rethink borrowing one.
According to a professor of medicine at Rutgers, Dr. Robert Lahita, yoga mats are about as filthy as it gets.
"A yoga mat is a perfect incubator for many of our skin infections," Lahita said., "The yoga mat is a very fertile source for infection, mainly because people sweat on them and they rarely are cleaned."
Experts say a yoga mat is considered to be one of the dirtier things that you can use. And they are prone to transferring infections. For example, if a person who had a fungal skin infection were to use the mat before you, the next person to have contact with the mat is at risk for contracting the infection.
While most people won't really be all that much at risk, experts say that other infections can be passed from the mats as well. These include staph and HPV, among numerous others. For those who are immuno-compromised, a common Empedobacter brevis bacteria can cause skin infections that are lasting.
Those who are diabetic can more easily contract certain infections, and they can contract illnesses that result in boils of the skin or even carbuncles from using an infected mat.
Aside from the mats being hosts for a bevy of skin infections, imagine how filthy they are when several other people have used them before you. All the sweat, skin mites, dead skin, dirt, grease and grime is enough to make you never want to borrow a yoga mat again.
So if you are overly conscious about your skin's health, like me, then make sure you never forget your yoga mat before enjoying a session. A good rule of thumb is that if you forget your mat, it's probably cleaner just to use the floor or to catch the next session where you can bring your own mat instead.