Here we go again. TIME mag inducing the “Ugh” factor. oh man we have so much to say about this…our sharp tongues are piqued.
Sadly we just can’t expect TIME to bring us any relevant yoga news anymore. We mean no malice, but they already muddled the little part about YogaWorks opening up a NYC location later this year – they currently have 4 (plus Westchester), with the next coming in Soho this month- and made it sound like they’re solely a CA super-chain. Eh, no big deal, who cares about being clear on facts. The real hunk of the story heralds our new mantra du jour “Necessity is the new luxury.” It’s true, we’ve shot disapproving glances in the direction of high-priced yoga classes, fancy studios and our lovable lulu lolligaggers. Even yoga retreats got their fair share of scorn, yet somewhat acceptability. BUT…what about those ridiculously priced mats?!
Leave it to the mass media to call out those hot shot $100 mats y’all. Investigative and starched snarky pants journalism ensues…
-That’s right — $100 for a stinkin’ mat. A company called Manduka, which makes these luxury yoga props, has seen its sales rise 55% in the first four months of 2009.
-”Manduka is the Porsche, the Ferrari of yoga mats,” says Phil Swain, CEO of YogaWorks
-But these days, isn’t driving a Toyota Corolla just fine? Yoga involves stretching, holding poses and doing other physical movement. We’re not talking cushions for backflips here. When it comes down to it, can’t you just do yoga on your carpet? Or grab a towel? Or pay for a $30 mat in the store?
What’s the most annoying part? Who really sweats another yogi’s mat anyway? It’s not a sign of status in any classes we’ve been to, like a Toyota vs. a Ferrari on the freeway as Gregory points out. Or lulu vs., we dunno, your ma’s pjs. Silly! We’ve been seen plenty of times toting our $20 no name Amazon.com purchase we got 8 years ago. Yes it is BRIGHT purple and shedding like a Himalyan kitty in the summertime. And how many times have you rented the studio flim flam mats (for a freakin $2+ mind you– wtf btw)?
But clearly Yoga is POP now, it’s mainstream and apparently symbols of status come part and parcel. Neo-yogis have money! Even in Recession.
Yoga practitioners no longer fit the stereotype of weird women chanting the Hare Krishna mantra. They’re young: 40.6% of those who do yoga are between 18 and 34, according to a 2008 Harris Interactive poll commissioned by Yoga Journal. They’re smart: 71.4% are college graduates, and 27% have postgraduate degrees. And they’re affluent: 44% of yogis have household incomes of $75,000 or more (that figure, of course, might be trickling down during the recession). In other words, yogis are yuppies. And if there’s one thing yuppies do, it’s copycat their brethren. So as more stressed-out young professionals flood the yoga studios and see other people with comfy Manduka mats supporting their glutes, they’re bound to buy the pricey products too. Look at me: I’ve got a Manduka; I’m totally into yoga.
OK, Mr. Sean Gregory is right, $100 sure is a lot for a “stinkin’ mat,” but Manduka (an oft exceptional brand in our opinion) does offer cheaper options, and most people we know who practice on a regular basis will tell you a good mat is hard to find.We applaud the Seanster for taking the time to call out the heavy handed luxury yoga mongers, though we’re almost inclined to call him out for ganking our style of saucy sticklerness. hmph.
Thought.. have we reached the tipping point?