For thousands of years, Yoga mats were not really needed as the practice consisted mainly of seated breathing and meditation. Yogis back then would use animal skins or basic cloths if they needed a bit of cushioning. As more challenging asanas (physical postures) became more popular, more supportive surfaces were needed. Over time, mats started to evolve from the more basic folded cloths on which Yogis would sit, into rugs that were a little bit more like the Yoga mats of today. By this time, as asana practice had developed more and more, many Yogis were using rugs to practice upon. Shaped like the rectangular mats with which we’re familiar now, these rugs were made from cotton or synthetic alternatives. The more dynamic posture based practice (and of course the other limbs of Yoga too) were becoming more and more popular, and this type of Yoga was spreading all across the World. It was during this decade that one clever Yogini adapted a piece of foam carpet underlay into a Yoga mat! This laid the foundation for the mat as we know it today.
Yoga mats are specially fabricated mats used to prevent hands and feet slipping during asana practice in modern yoga as exercise. An early variety made of rubber carpet underlay, pioneered by the yoga teacher Angela Farmer in 1982, was called a sticky mat. Before modern times, meditative yoga and hatha yoga were practised on bare ground, sometimes with a deer or tiger skin rug. Modern mats suitable for energetic forms of yoga are made of plastic, rubber, and sometimes other materials including hessian and cork, trading off cost, comfort, grip, and weight.
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Yoga Mat Market: Introduction
Yoga mats are specially fabricated mats used to prevent hands and feet slipping during yoga practice. Earlier, yoga mats were mostly made of rubber. Modern mats suitable for energetic forms of yoga are made of plastic, rubber, and other materials that offer comfort, grip, and the correct weight. The 45 degree angled lines help in aligning the foot angle for the standing asana series and Parsvottasana- the intense side stretch pose. The center square helps to align and start an asana from Tadasana-Mountain Pose, to keep the legs apart for the standing asana.
Key Drivers of the Yoga Mat Market
Numerous factors help drive the overall growth of the global yoga mat market. One of the key driving factors is the growing health awareness among people across the globe. More and more people are trying to adopt healthier lifestyles by signing up for yoga classes and performing different ‘asanas.’ The growing number of yoga studios across the globe has had a direct impact on the overall development of the global yoga mat market.
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Innovative design and features creating opportunities in the yoga mat market
Companies introduce innovative designs and features to provide additional benefits in their products. For example, Yoga Design Lab launched a revolutionary new style of yoga mat known as the Infinity Mat. The unique and groundbreaking laser cut pattern is designed to help in the effortless alignment of poses while providing unparalleled grip. It is ideal for all yoga and fitness practices and has the right amount of cushion. The product is biodegradable, made of natural tree rubber, provides a luxurious feel, and offers professional level performance. Such factors helps in creating new opportunities for yoga mats in the market.
Toxic chemicals present in yoga mats a restraint for the market
A safe and healthy yoga mat is a necessity these days. Unfortunately, there are chances that toxic chemicals may be present in the exercise mat. Inhaling and skin absorption are the two major routes by which the harmful chemicals enter the body. Lately, PVC yoga mats have been in the limelight because of their alleged toxicity. The organ tin compounds in PVC are mainly mono-butyltin (MBT), dibutyltin (DBT), and tributyltin (TBT). DBT and TBT revealed the most toxic effects even at low concentrations. Heavy metals in PVC yoga mats are highly dangerous. In addition, they may contaminate the body via ingestion of the dust containing heavy metals. Consumers are exposed to PVC through inhalation, dermal absorption, and ingestion. And cadmium (chemical) which may be found in yoga mats, is linked to reduced mineral density in bones, preterm labor, kidney disease, and damage, resulting in serious health issues. Such factors can restrain the growth of the yoga mat market.
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North America the dominant region
The U.S and Canada are the largest markets for yoga mats. Large number of end-users are helping drive the growth of the yoga mat market in North America. Moreover, the growing health awareness among people about having a fit physique and healthy body is also driving the uptake of yoga. These factors are contributing to the expansion of the yoga mat market as people are becoming more conscious about their health.
Key Players Operating in the Global Market
- Lululemon Athletica Inc.
- Columbia Sportswear Company
- Adidas AG
- Under Armour, Inc.
- Sequential Brands Group Inc.
- Airex AG (Switzerland)