Why your studio’s cleanliness plays a role in your student’s ability to have a successful yoga practice.
It’s nearly impossible to describe something as too clean. Students pay to use your facilities and could easily go to a different studio if their cleanliness standards aren’t met. As a result, it’s imperative that every inch of your studio is considered when it comes to cleanliness.
Annette Scott, the founder of Kodawari Studios, said cleanliness is almost as important to her as her student’s practice. Without a clean studio, students won’t feel as invited or connected to your space. If you respect and take care of your area, then the students will feel the desire to do the same.
“Cleanliness is really important to our clients and we also acknowledge that it creates a vibration and feel that we care,” said Scott. “We care about the space, we care about the experiences that you have in it and we want it to be a reflection of our intention. Our caring is also a quiet invitation for the people in the space to care and to know there is meaning to be found in the space, in the connection to one another inside this vessel where we practice our practice.”
There are dozens of ways to practice yoga, but the essential piece of equipment is always going to be a mat. Colby Cooper, the owner of Bliss Body Yoga, said when it comes to meeting students’ standards for cleanliness, make sure your mats are a top priority. Encouraging students to help out by wiping them down before and after class is a good place to start, but also having your staff do extra cleaning is vital.
“We encourage students to spray and wipe down our studio mats, or to bring their own mats if they have one,” said Cooper. “We used to roll the mats up and store them on a shelf, but we found that method trapped in moisture and left the mats not smelling so good. We then installed a wall-mounted mat hanger so the mats can be hung up to dry after being cleaned. They are much fresher smelling now. We also get our yoga blankets professionally cleaned on a quarterly basis.”
Amber Hazen, the studio manager at Essential Hot Yoga, said with between five and six hot yoga classes per day, the studios need to be cleaned about three times a day. They never do any class in less than 90 degrees, which makes for extra moisture, extra sweating and especially extra cleaning.
“After each class we put down On Guard, a plant-derivative cleaning concentrate, and all of that sweat is mopped up,” said Hazen. “That happens after each and every class. In between each class, there is usually enough time that the floor is dry, so our clients are never fully exposed to that cleaning solution. Since we don’t wear shoes in the studios we make sure it’s dry and they are never walking on it. We do our best to use the right amount of water to make sure everything is dry prior to the next class starting.”
When it comes to how to keep the smell of sweat from sticking around, Hazen had just one piece of advice for yoga studio owners: never have carpet. It is easier to make sure dust mites, parasites and viruses aren’t infesting your studio if they can’t attach to the fibers in the carpet and can be easily mopped away.
“I’ve been in a studio with carpet, and I will never return,” said Hazen. “I think starting out, just go with the laminate floor. There’s vinyl out there that looks just like hardwood that’s super easy to clean and super easy to maintain.”
Enforcing a cleaning protocol among your staff will ensure everyone understands the importance placed upon cleaning your studio. The front desk and lobby areas can sometimes become forgotten cleaning zones, so consistently reminding your staff of their importance will enhance their value.
“At the end of the day, the front desk staff also do a light cleaning and wipe down the reception, retail, café and bathrooms,” said Scott. “Additionally, there are reminders set on the front desk computer to alert the staff to check the cleanliness and to take stock of the bathrooms and entry points throughout the day.”
Encourage students to bring towels or use the ones your studio provides to wipe up their sweat, and burn candles or light incense in order to decrease the sweat smell during an intense flow. “We burn lavender scented incense by Morningstar,” said Cooper. “It’s my personal favorite brand of incense, as it is not too heavy and students always compliment how good it smells.”
Since cleaning your studio is an everyday task, it’s important to use reusable materials or biodegradable products. Using these products can reduce waste, help the environment and decrease the amount of harmful chemicals being absorbed into the skin of your students or the air. At Bliss Body Yoga, they strive to use as many green products as possible.
“Our yoga mat cleaner and floor cleaner is a homemade solution of water and tea tree oil,” said Cooper. “We also consider excess waste and use a reusable dry and wet mop and reusable duster. We also reuse trash bags that haven’t been soiled to cut down on waste.”
Adhering to a strict cleaning protocol will keep the community coming back to your studio each and every day. Make sure the next time students get into child’s pose they are taking in a deep, cleansing breath of air and not an unusual and foul odor.