CONFESSIONS OF AN EX-YOGA TEACHER
Firstly, don’t panic. My publicity to yoga mats was means past the norm. Secondly, this isn’t a science-y article. There are numerous totally different sorts of yoga mats obtainable today. I’m not suggesting all yoga mats make all yoga practitioners sick.
(Thirdly, don’t be gross. Wash your mat!)
I taught yoga in workplaces, so yoga mats had been my fixed companions. Twenty mats and twenty blankets (plus blocks and straps and eye-pillows…) got here with me all over the place I went. The brand new mats that I purchased (circa 1998) had been sticky and blue. And so they smelled humorous.
I drove them round in my van, I pushed them round on a ‘sack-truck’, I unrolled them and rolled them up once more a number of occasions every day, and I stashed them at house (generally even in my bed room) after I wasn’t instructing.
Because the enterprise expanded, I purchased extra mats for the academics I employed, and for the scholars who needed mats for his or her house apply. A brand new spool of matting would arrive. My then associate and I’d make a day of it. We’d unroll it down the hallway, then measure and lower every mat. Then I’d wash them (grape-stomping-style) within the bathtub. Weirdly, they’d lather up with out cleaning soap.
On the finish of the chopping day, we might have a headache and sore throat (regardless that we opened all of the doorways and home windows). I’d grasp the brand new mats on the clothesline to be blasted by the fierce Australian solar for as much as two months earlier than I used them in my courses. That’s proper, months.
These shiny, sticky, clear yoga mats had been ‘off-gassing’. We had been respiration within the fumes they usually had been making us sick.
Inhale deeply…? I did. Again and again.
Apparently, the off-gassing will increase with heat, so driving round with them in my cozy van was giving me an additional dose, too.
I don’t know the precise composition of the yoga mats that I purchased and used for almost fifteen years, however they had been virtually definitely constructed from polyvinyl chloride (PVC) — a recognized carcinogen and probably the most poisonous plastics. Extra phthalates are added to melt the mats. They’ve been banned within the EU due to their hyperlink with developmental points and most cancers.
The extra yoga I taught, the more serious I felt. At my peak, I used to be consuming a wholesome vegetarian weight-reduction plan, practising yoga an hour a day, and instructing 14 courses every week. I ought to have appeared and felt wonderful.
As a substitute, I used to be bloated, over-weight, and depressed. My intervals had been immobilizing. My breasts ached with each step. My libido had headed for the hills. Then I developed unusual darkish pigmentation on my cheeks — the ‘masks of being pregnant’ (aka chloasma).
Fortunately, my physician was additionally a detective. After gathering all of the clues, he declared: You’ve been poisoned!
The finger of blame pointed squarely on the yoga mats. It seems the phthalates had the added trick of mimicking estrogen. These ‘xenoestrogens’ had been crazily disrupting my should-have-been wholesome 30-something physique.
I made adjustments as rapidly as I might. I ended shopping for new mats. I left them on the clothesline for 3 months as a substitute of two. I took them out of my home.
It took years for my physique to get well and the ‘masks of being pregnant’ to fade. I’m nonetheless paranoid concerning the scent of recent plastic. I nonetheless do yoga and I nonetheless have a non-slip mat…It’s very, very outdated however I prefer it that means.
I’m glad I found the reason for my very own ill-health, however I can’t shake the sensation that now, with the unimaginable explosion of yoga throughout the worldwide, there are many individuals who can’t fairly pinpoint why yoga doesn’t make them really feel nice.
After which there’s our poor outdated planet. PVC doesn’t biodegrade. Until they make it to a recycling plant that may deal with their peculiar make up, these yoga mats are going to take a seat in landfill lengthy after we’ve all carried out our last ‘corpse pose’.
Please. Select a greater, much less poisonous mat than I did.
Then you’ll be able to inhale deeply. Exhale utterly. And calm down.