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Go to Yoga, Contract Herpes

The good, the bad and the ugly things we learned about our bodies today

Getting into yoga? Great! The benefits can be increased flexibility, improved cardio performance and weight loss. Unfortunately, the drawback might be herpes.

Yes, my dear aspiring yogis, you read that correctly. According to Dr. David Greuner, managing director and co-founder of NYC Surgical Associates, communal yoga mats are a veritable hotbed for bacteria and viruses like herpes, thanks to the sweaty and humid environs found in yoga studios: “Making skin contact with a dirty yoga mat covered in germs and bacteria can lead to skin infections, acne, toenail fungus and even transfer of the herpes virus and staph and strep infections.”

Although rare, transference of viruses like herpes, flu and bacteria like MRSA via contact with a contaminated object is possible, and considering how nasty yoga mats are — they’re constantly in contact with the hands, feet and sweaty bodies of hundreds of people each week — you run the risk of picking up something.

If you want to be safe, Dr. Greuner recommends you buy your own mat and keep it clean. And if you’re skeptical about this whole new-age yoga fad, and don’t want to spend the $30 or so it costs to buy your own mat, at least wipe the communal mats down with hand sanitizer and use a towel for cover.


A few other things we learned about our bodies today: