Bring on the Germs


When my lovely man began yoga classes,
he borrowed a mat from the rack of mats at the front of the studio.
It worked well enough for him, so he borrowed the same mat for the
next 9 or 10 classes, at which point he heard one of our teachers
tell a new student that the rack at the front was for privately owned
mats. Horrified and feeling like a thief, he rolled up his (no, not
his) mat and returned it, hoping its owner was not somewhere in the
room, glaring unpeacefully at him.

I’m visiting family this week, and
we’re talking about mats. I used my brother-in-law’s mat this
morning for my practice. It was on the basement floor already rolled out for me.

Later, over coffee, my sister-in-law Colleen mentions that she borrows a mat for her classes. Clay responds with a look that makes it clear that he is repulsed by this sharing of germs. Which makes me think
I should not have used his mat. (Perhaps he’d left it on the floor
after his own practice last night.) I keep my mouth shut.

I love sweat, my own and yours. I love
the sharing of germs and bacteria, and will never cover a toilet seat
with toilet paper before I sit on it. (And forget hovering over a
toilet seat. That just feels like a bad helicopter imitation to me.) I have a
profound sense of trust in my own immune system and a perhaps
arrogant belief that my germs can only improve your health if we
should be so lucky to meet face to sweaty face, bum to toilet to bum,
or hands and feet to mat.

We live in a germophobic world. We
spray mats, floors, and doorknobs. We spray ourselves, inside and out.

It looks like fear to me. Fear of
ourselves, of each other, and of anything not gleaming with antiseptic fervor.

I could be completely whacked, of
course, out of my mind with some bacterial plague I don’t know about.

What do you say?

Thanks to yoga for bringing us so
close, whether or not it makes us comfortable, and thanks to you for
the sweaty conversation,


Kristin Shepherd is a chiropractor, actor, and speaker (About All
Things Wonderful) in North Bay, Ontario.  Join her on the
and on
and on

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