When Walmart and Target started selling yoga mats and DVDs, I thought yoga had definitely gone mainstream. Then I started seeing yoga mats at department stores and grocery stores. Apparently hardware stores are now getting in on the action!
I think the popularization of yoga is actually great. The world might even be a better place if more people were to take up yoga in earnest. However, there’s something about this particular ad that makes me cringe. Yeah, the mat has a “non-slip surface” and is “lightweight & durable.” But it’s probably made from some nasty industrial byproducts, and I bet it doesn’t qualify as eco-friendly, fair trade, or anything of the sort.
Notice, too, that this particular unbranded yoga mat is selling for $0.99 — yes, that’s in U.S. dollars. The sale price is $7.99, and after a mail-in rebate, you’re left with a yoga mat for about the price of, well, a McRib Sandwich from McDonald’s (which is probably made from the same material).
Maybe I’m wrong about this 99-cent yoga mat — I haven’t inspected it in person so I can’t say anything definitive one way or another — but I have a strong hunch that it’s not exactly in line with the ethical principles of yoga. As I’ll be discussing this Friday in my post on ahimsa, it’s important for yogis to be mindful of the impact of their actions on other individuals and the environment. This includes our actions as consumers, whether we’re buying a car, a new yoga mat, or even that McRib sandwich.