File this under #delayedreaction.

A few months ago, I attended yoga classes for a week in a family surf and skating camp. I noticed a few side glances whenever I wiped my mat clean before and after the class.

In my mind, I didn’t quite understand why the side glances. I didn’t consider it my business why they didn’t clean their mats. Your mat, your business. Also in my mind, I did have an answer in case somebody asked: I clean my mat because it is my portable shala. The act of cleaning before class puts me in a space where I get my Self ready for the practice. Cleaning after is just plain common sense. But well, nobody asked.

It’s been years since I last practiced in Vinay’s shala but it has remained in my mind how spotless it was. Thinking about the shala transports me to that time when all I did was breathe and live to do yoga asana and pranayama. Since then I thought of my yoga mat as my portable shala. Keeping it spotless keeps that connection with Vinay and his shala even if I haven’t done the full Prana Vashya series in quite a while.

But even if it’s just a yoga mat to you, do clean your mat. It’s just good hygiene.