There are now over 15 million Americans practicing yoga. The percent increase on yoga product spending over the last 5 years is 87%. Of the people practicing yoga, over 50% report and annual income of over $100,000. These statistics seemed even more jarring after a completely unsanitary yoga experience I recently had. I’ve never been the type to be avidly addicted to one yoga studio, but more of a floater, heading to whatever studio is currently the most convenient and with a good price. Recently, that led me to a brand new studio only a few minutes from home.
Upon arrival, everything seemed normal, the waiver, the questions about if you are new to hot yoga (in this case, Bikram), and the explanation of locker room and shower facilities. I quickly and quietly removed my exterior clothes (zip up jacket, shoes, socks) and properly stored them for the duration of the class. I grabbed my hand towel, water bottle, and mat and headed into the yoga studio. At first, it seemed classy with two entrances on either side of what seemed to be a pretty big hall. What came next was startling at first, but throughout the class became more and more alarming. As I opened the big push door, it was revealed that the entire yoga studio was covered in wall to wall carpet.
Being new and not wanting to seem like I was the only one who thought this was odd, I found a place and situated my mat. The room was already at the balmy range of 100 degrees, so I in turn shed one more layer, down to my yoga pants and sports top. Class began. As we started the 26 postures included in Bikram yoga, as expected, sweat started pouring from every place in my body. The instructor was one of the more forceful I have seen, trying to tell people when and when not it was okay to towel off and/or drink water. Normally, the instructor encourages people to take a break if you are feeling it too much, feel faint, or thirsty. Not this one. What resulted was pools of sweat cascading down to the yoga mats and onto the carpeted floors. The longer the 90 minute class persisted, the more this carpet became a huge distraction.
My thoughts about the carpet kept coming back to all of my research on the five c’s that the CDC (Center for Disease Control) has labeled as the most common ways that MRSA is transmitted. MRSA is a growing problem, and sports related MRSA cases are becoming more and more prevalent.
You can read more about MRSA and the five c’s in past posts:
Hot yoga studios are often crowded, where participants barely have the needed room to stretch. Yoga classes sometimes ask participants to work in pairs, which will most likely require skin to skin contact. Yoga in general, and even more-so with hot yoga, entices students to wear minimal clothing which also presents more availability for skin to skin contact as well as for minor cuts, scrapes and abrasions to be exposed and susceptible to the spread of diseases and MRSA. Halfway through the class I noticed a small cut on my foot that I had gotten a few days before. The situation was becoming almost unbearable as I added it altogether. Soaked through sweaty towels, sweat filled clothes, lots of bare skin, crowded spaces, exposed cuts and scrapes, and on top of that – a carpeted room where all of these bodily fluids filled with bacteria can soak into the floor and continue to live long after yoga class is over. As one more added bonus, heat and humidity also add to the life-cycle of bacteria, and a warm yoga studio is the perfect place to make home and breed.
Needless to say, I won’t be going back to the carpeted Bikram hot yoga studio by my house. A little more research after returning home revealed that Bikram Yoga in particular is very strict in studio guidelines. Bikram yoga studios need special permission from Bikram Choudhury himself to operate and follow very specific rules. Astonishingly, Bikram Yoga (by founder Bikram Choudhury) REQUIRES all Bikram approved studios to have carpet. I’m sorry, but no thank you! I am sure Mr. Bikram is well versed in ways to stretch and heal the body…but I would not put my faith in his power to eliminate my chances for MRSA in a hot yoga studio. You only need one of the five c’s present to contract MRSA, and it seems fair to say that this yoga studio had all five. In fact, the yoga experience is very similar to what wrestlers experience, the same five c’s are present. Wrestling has lots of hot sweaty people rolling around on stinky bacteria laden mats. All in all, yoga studios and wrestling coaches need to figure out how to keep their patrons safe from MRSA and Staph.
However, there are ways for yoga studios to ensure sanitary conditions for all of us who enjoy the torture of high heat and working out at the same time. There is even a way to rid the studio and locker rooms of bacteria without using harsh chemicals that may also cause problems on bare skin. Yoga studios, and Bikram studios in particular should consider the latest UVC technology, the miniZapr by GreensGroomer Worldwide. UVC light, often called germicidal light is proven to work against bacteria and germs.
To read more about UVC technology, browse past posts:
The miniZapr is just like using a vacuum, but provides the powerful UVC rays to kill bacteria that causes MRSA, Staph, and many other skin infections. It even has a detachable wand, to sanitize walls, mats, locker room benches, showers, and toilets. Easy to plug in, the miniZapr provides the simplest and safest solution for yoga studios. Clean studios mean healthy, bright-eyed patrons, ready to spend even more money in your studio. Investing in the proper sanitary equipment like the miniZapr is the right thing for any space that finds the combination of five c’s are a part of standard daily life. Call today to find out how to get your hands on the latest miniZapr technology.
Yoga statistics provided by, http://www.statisticbrain.com/yoga-statistics/.