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What To Do When The Yogi Next To You Smells Bad

Anxiety | Health

Question: What can I do when someone at a yoga class starts smelling like the world is gonna end? Seriously, this is a huge issue, especially at Bikram classes. Lana P.


Wooooeeee, girl, do I feel your pain. Like with many forms of physical activity, asana brings out the best in us. It helps us to connect with our true selves, detoxify our bodies, and let go of built up stress, but it also inspires some serious stank. And a lot of the time, because we’re really enjoying all of the positivity yoga brings to us, don’t recognize that stank as our own, or we just choose to ignore it.

I think there are few things you can do concerning the stink of a fellow yogi besides straight up telling him that his scent is offending, but there are several simple things you can do to make sure that you’re not the one everyone is running away from and talking about:

1. Wash Your Mat!

I know we all feel very protective about our sacred bit of rubber, but there comes a time in every mat’s life when a bath must be taken. Most mats are safe to undergo a simple soap and water treatment, but if you feel nervous about that, you can buy special mat cleaners and wipes to sanitize your space.

2. Wash Your Clothes!

You know that pair of Lululemons that you’re obsessed with? Even though they do a really good job of making your butt look really good, after a while, they’ll naturally start to smell- I know, crazy, right? It’s really important (for the health of you and the consideration of fellow yogis) to send your favorite spandex to get clean as often as possible.

3. Wash Yourself!

Sure, the title “yogi” carries a hippy connotation to it, but neither word means that you don’t have to take a shower every once in a while. Keep yourself smelling fresh and I’m sure it’ll make you feel just as good.

Additional Tips

Try talking to the teacher with the hope that he or she will offer a friendly reminder to the class to stay clean and stink-free. Usually, when criticism comes from a teacher, it can come off as a lot less offending than if a random person were to say the same thing. He or she can discuss the meaning of saucha (read more here), which in English translates to the purity of the body, mind, and spirit. It’s an important limb of yoga that can be understood in more senses than just the literal. Jai!

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