I got a gift certificate for Christmas from one of my day care families and it sat in my wallet for 4 months. I finally decided that since I've been using the same yoga mat for about 10 years that maybe I would get a new one. The gift certificate was for one of those yoga stores that I love and was just the right amount so the purchase seemed appropriate.
I got the mat home and unwrapped the recyclable cellophane and was hit in the face with the most chemically offensive smell ever. I layed it out and thought that leaving it out overnight would help it "off gas" and I should be good to go. I was wrong. I took it to teach a class and could not get over the smell. It felt as if it was getting worse.
So I wrote on my Facebook page that I had a smelly brand new mat and had some great suggestions. A couple of people suggested that I wash it in the washing machine with some towels. I wasted no time at all. In it went with some towels and I thought I might as well wash my old mat too! Once the wash was done, I pulled out my old mat and it looked good as new. My brand new smelly mat now did not smell so bad but the top of the washing machine had put a small tear in the new mat. Trying to be unattached I thought OK it's still usable so no worries. I hung them both to dry and couldn't wait to try out the new mat, plus tear once again.
That afternoon when my kids were napping I rolled out my new mat and got ready for my practice. It was really nice for the sitting postures, I felt supported and cushy. The standing postures were not great. The new mat is so slippery I can barley keep my feet in one place without sliding into the splits each time. Downward dog was a struggle to keep my feet and hands in the right place. Triangle too my legs could barely hug in to keep me upright.
I'm not one who gives up easily so I decided to take my new mat to a yoga class. By the way Jamine's classes at Rama Lotus are the best!! Sure enough, standing postures were a challenge. Jamine could see me struggling I muttered slippery mat and she said, "just use the floor". Ah-ha - light bulb. Who needs the mat. The floor made my postures supported and strong. My vastistasana did not really make me wonder what is this asana! All was well again. I did go back to slippery mat though for sivasana as I wanted the squishy support.
Now what to do? I have this new mat that I am not enjoying. It no longer smells bad, but it does seem worse than the old and well loved mat that I already owned. Maybe I'll let my kids use it? The moral of this story - be happy with what you already have! Newer isn't always better! If it smells bad, it probably is!
Jennifer is an RMT, long time yoga practitioner and teacher. Follow her musings as an RMT, yoga teacher, prenatal educator and mother of three.