Lying down on a yoga mat is supposed to be relaxing and restorative, but Sri Narayan, 39, just found the experience stinky. “I’d get the off-gas from the material,” says the Adams Morgan resident.
Narayan would rather smell plants, and he’s hoping you would too — because that’s the main selling point of what he’s dubbed “The Most Earth (& Health) Friendly Yoga Mat.” Through connections in his hometown in the south of India, he’s developed a handwoven mat that’s made from organic cotton yarn dyed with plants popular among people who practice Ayurveda.
The result isn’t as cushy as a typical rubber mat, but it’s been designed to maximize grip. And it folds instead of rolls. But what makes the mat really different is the business model. Through Kickstarter, a website that brings ideas directly to the public, Narayan hopes to raise $100,000. Pledge $60 or more and, if he reaches that threshold, you’ll have a mat of your own.
His yoga teacher, Martha Rosen, 62, is on board. “I believe the environment is making us sick, and I don’t want to breathe in anything harmful,” she says. Narayan envisions expanding to yoga clothing, yoga towels and more if he can get support from other instructors and leaders in the yoga community. Just like the products he sells, “we want to grow organically,” he says.