Even the simplest yoga pose can require your brain to go into overdrive: How should you position your hands and feet? Where should you look? What’s the right way to balance?
On Tuesday, Lululemon launches a new yoga mat designed to cut down on these mental calculations and help you better focus on your practice. The $118 mat is covered with a pattern of 3D ripples, each of which has been positioned to guide you through the most common yoga poses. The idea is that users will develop muscle memory about where to position their bodies, rather than looking for visual cues around them.
Lululemon has a long history of catering to the yoga community since it launched more than two decades ago. For this mat, the designers spent two years conducting focus groups with customers and ambassadors, many of whom are top yoga instructors. “We discovered that what people wanted was to feel grounded in their practice,” says Chantelle Murnaghan, director of Whitespace, Lululemon’s in-house innovation and R&D lab. “When we dug into what this meant, it came down to not being distracted, so they could better focus on their practice.”
In their research, they found that yoga practitioners at all levels—even experts—are constantly using visual cues to get into the right poses, whether it’s looking at other people or looking at themselves in the mirror. Stephen Morris, a senior designer at Lululemon who led the design of this mat, wanted to create something that would allow people to find the cues on their mat instead. “We explored what it might be like for someone to simply feel their way through their practice,” Morris says. “Could they just develop the muscle memory to flow through practice without having to look around them?”