I practice 6 days a week, for at least a couple of hours, often more. And I do sweat. A lot. In my defense, I always use a towel over my mat when I practice, which I alternate and wash frequently, but this still adds up to almost a year of towel-filtered sweat and grime compiling on my mat. When I realized how long it had been, the thought occurred to me to put if off for an entire year just for the hell of it, but the funk was starting to bother me and the very idea of another child's pose beginning to make me queasy.
My reasons for not having washed my mat are likely a combination of simple laziness coupled with a strong aversion to being a whole day without the mat while it dries. Get attached much? I do, apparently. It's not as if, should I be so desperate, that I could not bust out a practice on the bare floor. I've been known to find myself mid-asana in a variety of environments, so it's not simply the need for practice that has kept me from scrubbing the thing down once in a while. There must be more to it. I chose, over and over again, even on the eve of a rest day, not to wash the mat, almost as if I were attached to what the physical accumulation of hours of practice represents. Gross and weird, I know, but I think it may be the reality.
At the insistence of the boyfriend, who felt very strongly that this had gone on long enough, I gathered up the Manduka, the scrub brush, some soap, and trudged my load to the tub, where I laid out the giant mat as best I could, turned the water on hot, and began to spray her down. It was an awkward endeavor. The mat is far too big a beast for our tiny tub. I managed to soak myself and the entire bathroom floor before the job was done, but I gave her the good scrubbing she had coming to her and watched the gray, soapy water, the residue of countless hours of effort to shed the very muck I scrubbed and it's spiritual equivalents wash away down the drain.
After hanging the mat and sopping up the floor, I ran my fingers over the black surface, slick with moisture, feeling somehow it had changed. Something would be different.
Here's to another year of not washing the mat. ;)
On a side note, I have an announcement: Damn Good Yoga is all grown up! I am now blogging from the big-girl URL of http://www.damngoodyoga.com. Make a note of it, my darlings.