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The History of Yoga Mats

While yoga teacher Angela Farmer was traveling in Germany, she spotted a roll of thin, dense, and sticky carpet padding at a farmer’s market. She purchased a length of it and took it with her to yoga class, where she discovered that it allowed her to grip the floor without straining. When she returned home to London, other yogis took interest in her mat and Farmer began to bring rolls home each time she traveled to Germany. Her father then contacted the padding manufacturer and became the first retailer of sticky-style yoga mats. He called the new product “The Original Molivos Mat” in honor of his daughter, who led yoga workshops in Molivos, Greece. However, export duties and shipping costs made these mats extremely expensive in North America, so Sara Chambers of Hugger Mugger decided to make her own. She worked with a chemist to design the first sticky mat made specifically for yoga, which she called the “Tapas Mat.” It was durable, not too expensive, and available in colors. German manufacturers responded by developing a new line of high-quality yoga mats in different colors and thicknesses. (Their most recent import is called “The Black Mat” and is a favorite of flow-style yogis.) Today, yoga mats are available in most countries in various colors, thicknesses, materials, and price points.

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