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Few people know, but the yoga mat is a recent discovery in the life of yoga practitioners. People can’t imagine practicing Yoga without this plastic/ rubber carpet made in Chain – we call it “XYZ Yoga Mat”. Before all that, it was Rugs and Carpets.

“I have never bought a Yoga mat in my 20+ years of Yoga practice because it does not fits. I prefer Yoga Rug or a Carpet. It is eco-friendly, soak sweat and slip-free. The trend of Yoga Rug/ carpet is at the corner!

It was in 1982 that yoga mat gained modern contours when then-teacher Angela Farmer decided to cut a towel-like carpet and use it in her yoga classes in Germany. Up to that time, yoga practice was performed directly on the floor, requiring people to have good lubrication of the extremities to ease the friction with the rough surfaces.

Angela Farmer

Due to a health problem, Angela Farmer did not produce sweat, and this interfered directly with her yoga practice. She had tried everything, from using a bottle of water to spitting on her hands, but none of that worked. Then came the brilliant idea of practicing on a carpet, which would prevent it from slipping and also getting hurt. These were the first attributes of a yoga mat. Later, new concerns emerged, such as design, size, thickness and color.

Yogi demonstrating Yoganidrasana on a Rug/ carpet in Kumbh Mela in 2013

Well, if we do the math, the yoga mat is about 30 years old. What would be 30 years compared to hundreds or thousands of years? The practice of yoga is much older than the tapestry, and so it is important to remember that although yoga mat is an object revered in classrooms today, it is part of the modern history of yoga.

BKS Iyengar (deceased in 2014) did not practice yoga mats, and according to reports by teacher/inventor Angela Farmer, our dear Guruji questioned and forbade her to use a yoga mat in one of her classes. The funny thing is that years later the Iyengar method came to be recognized by the development of the main yoga accessories present today in the classrooms (the yoga pad, belts, cushions and the yoga mat itself).

Sri BKS Iyengar at his Yoga Shala in Pune with supportive props 

The question is – How people from last 5000 years practiced Yoga without “Made in China” rubbery, sticky and smelly Yoga mats, Comment 🙂

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