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If a yoga company approached you to make your dream mat, what changes would you make to the standard mat design? John Friend, the founder of Anusara Yoga dubbed by a July NY Times article as “the yoga mogul” for his business savvy, got exactly that opportunity with his partnership with yoga mat company Manduka.
Friend’s biggest complaint about these sticky pieces of rubber was that they weren’t wide enough to give his students the support they need in some poses. Friend recommends students practice poses like Upward-Facing Dog with their hands wide apart to give a broader foundation and more optimal alignment for the shoulders. For many students, the standard 24-inch wide mat just isn’t wide enough, he said.
The new by Manduka features 30-inch wide Manduka proLite and eKO SuperLight mats (and even a wider hand towel) to give practitioners more room to find optimal alignment.
“You actually can have an inner opening by a piece of rubber on your floor,” Friend said in a promo video produced by Manduka. “I’m proud to say that everything about this mat will lead to the essence of your heart.”
Of course, not everyone agrees that wider mats will lead them to the essence of their hearts. One Youtube commenter points out that wider mats mean fewer people will be able to fit comfortably into already packed studios. “Are you going to be the one who shows up for a packed class with a gigantic mat, bigger than everyone else’s? Who wants that reputation?” I guess one man’s dream mat is another man’s invasion of personal space.
Would you buy this wider mat? Does a well-known yoga teacher’s endorsement make you more likely to buy a yoga product?