There’s nothing like a great yoga class to start your day off on the right foot or turn it around for the better. If you want to get even more out of your yoga practice, though, it’s time to start thinking about what you’re doing after class
Listed below are four things you should do after every yoga class to feel your best throughout the rest of your day.
Savor Your Savasana
Ask almost any yoga teacher and they’ll tell you that Savasana is the most important pose of your entire practice. This is because, when you’re in that final resting pose, your body has a chance to cool down and absorb everything you learned during the class.
Savasana also helps decrease heart rate, rate of respiration, and blood pressure while helping you improve your focus and concentration. If you sneak out the door as soon as everyone settles in for Savasana, you’re missing out on all these great benefits.
There are lots of reasons why people skip Savasana. Some people feel like they’re just too busy to spend five minutes resting at the end of class. Others find it really difficult to lie still and are eager to get on with their day.
The fact of the matter, though, is that the people who have a tendency to skip this final pose are the ones who can benefit from it the most. If you’re constantly on the go or feel like your mind is racing, you need those five minutes to practice being still and staying present.
Clean Your Mat
Are you guilty of rolling up your mat and running out the door after class? Think about all the germs that are on that thing!
No matter how clean your yoga studio may seem, it’s still crawling with germs, bacteria, and viruses that love damp, sweaty places like your tightly rolled yoga mat. If you don’t clean your mat properly, not only will it eventually start to smell bad, but you’ll also be putting yourself at risk for all kinds of illnesses.
So, how do you clean your mat properly? You have a few different options:
Mix a couple cups of water with a few drops of dish soap (don’t use too much, or your mat may be too slippery when it dries). Scrub it gently with a damp sponge, then rinse it with clean, hot water and lay it out to dry.
Use a pre-made mat-sanitizing spray and a damp cloth to wipe your mat down after class. Many studios and gyms have these available for everyone to use.
Make your own mat-sanitizing spray with water and tea tree, lemon, or lavender oil. All these oils have natural antibacterial and antifungal properties.
Some yoga mats are even machine washable. You can find out if yours is by checking the manufacturer’s website.
Hit the Showers
Always take a shower after yoga class, especially if you’ve just taken an extra sweaty class like Bikram or Ashtanga yoga.
Your body releases toxins when you sweat, and if you don’t shower after class, those toxins will stay on and eventually be absorbed back into your skin. Your pores also open if you sweat a lot during a class, which means there’s plenty of room for dirt and bacteria to settle in and cause breakouts.
Rinse your skin thoroughly after your class, then grab a loofah or a back scrubber for the shower to get rid of any remaining dirt. Finish off with a gentle moisturizer to prevent your skin from drying out.
Refuel Your Body
It’s important to rehydrate after a yoga class. Avoid sugary sports drinks or juices and opt for plain old water instead. If you sweated a lot during the class, you may want to try coconut water, which is a natural source of electrolytes.
You’ll probably be hungry after your class, too, especially if you took an early morning class and didn’t have time for a snack beforehand.
Some good post-yoga snacks/meals include:
A smoothie made with fruit, greens, and some nuts or seeds
A banana or apple with some nuts or seeds
Some oatmeal or quinoa with nuts and berries
Hummus with chopped veggies or crackers
Toast with nut butter and jam or fruit
These snacks are also good options for people who want a little something to eat before they head to class. Just avoid eating too much right before you hit your mat. Yoga on a full stomach often leads to gas and cramps, two things no one wants to deal with during their downward facing dog!
Give these tips a try after your next yoga class, and you’ll have an easier time carrying that “zen” feeling with you throughout your day!
Guest Post by Susan