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Tuesday, August 08, 2006

walking the plank

just the other day, i was talking with my sister about plank, a company that sells yoga-related accessories. she had come across their booth at a recent gift show. considering the number of yoga studio boutiques i'd browsed through, i was surprised that i'd never heard of them, so i immediately did some googling to see what kind of stuff they sold.

and after checking out their website, all i can say is: WHO IN THEIR RIGHT MIND WANTS TO PAY $125 FOR A YOGA MAT??? or worse yet, $245 for a CANVAS YOGA TOTE BAG?!?!?

given that the mat most serious yogis use, the manduka black mat, costs around $80, what does that extra $45 get you? a picture of a wooden plank on it?!?! and i'm supposed to think that looking at the half-eaten blueberry muffin on that plank is going to inspire me to do a deeper forward bend?

ok, so there are people in this town who are making money hand over fist and think nothing of spending an outrageous sum for something totally frivolous. but practicing on a yoga mat that says either BLINGblingBling or MEmeMe seems totally incongruous with what yoga's all about. not only that, but do i really want to think of CHOCOLATE whenever i do a downward dog?

according to plank's in the news section, ellen pompeo, natalie portman, and a host of other celebs supposedly swear by plank products. but then again, they're the people for whom anything is affordable. heck, they can even afford to have their yoga class come to them. which is probably why i don't see plank's yoga mats at any of the classes i've ever been to. i must be practicing with the proletariat. poor me.

speaking of yoga mats, if you've been following the posts of my fellow yoga bloggers, you know that there's been a big to-do in the yoga world ever since the new york times published the article titled Communal Yoga Mats: Beware Of Germs. according to a long island-based podiatrist, there appears to be a link between the increased incidence of athlete's foot and plantar warts and the increased use of unclean rental yoga mats. but with the media hyping these yoga mats that cost more than twice what a decent mat should cost, no wonder some people choose to take their chances with those potentially germy rentals!

honestly, germs or no germs, what i'd like to know is why people are willing to put their hands, feet, and even faces on a mat that many others have dripped their sweat all over. not only is it unhygienic, but it's just plain disgusting :(

after all, for the cost of a single yoga class, you can easily buy your own mat. i checked out the cost of the least expensive mat, a bare bones solid-colored one, at santa monica yoga this morning, and it was a mere $16. so maybe it had no flowers, no stripes, not even a shag rug graphic. nevertheless, it serves its purpose, which is to keep your hands and feet from slipping out from under you.

on the other hand, if you really have no recourse but to rent your yoga mat, for whatever reason, take heart; a rebuttal to that original article was published a few days ago by medpage today.

here are some excerpts from the article, Skepticism on Report of Rash of Yoga Mat Foot Infections:

"A dramatic increase in foot infections from unclean yoga mats, reported by a podiatrist last week, remains a mystery to other podiatrists who have seen no such increase.

Significantly, while all the evidence in this brouhaha is anecdotal everyone agrees that research has not confirmed a link between dirty yoga mats and fungal, viral, or bacterial foot infections.

Greg Cohen, D.P.M., of Long Island College Hospital and in private practice in New York City's tony Brooklyn Heights, stirred concern with a report in the New York Times that in the last two years he has seen a "50% spike" in patients with plantar warts and athlete's foot, probably due to bare-foot patients practicing yoga on unclean mats.

"Hard to fathom the fuss," said Martin B. Silverman, D.P.M., who practices in suburban New Rochelle. Not only has Dr. Silverman seen no increase in infections among his many patients, but he said "it's hard to ascribe these things to one set of causes."

Veruca plantaris, for example, can be picked up just about anywhere, especially in warm summer weather. Rashes or cracked skin from hyperhydrosis or improper drying can cause infections between the toes, for example, he said.

Roger Beck, D.P.M., of Tavares, Fla., said he has not seen an increase in tinea pedis (athlete's foot) or for that matter plantar warts. It's hard to link these infections to the yoga mats alone, he said, because bacteria will cause infections wherever there is warmth and moisture, that is, elsewhere in the facility.

Dr. Beck was more concerned about the risk for women who go to pedicure salons where unsterile instruments may be used. Anybody can get a fungal infection if they put their shoes back on after a yoga class because heat and sweat build up, he said. However, taking a shower would solve that problem."

so the solution to this germ epidemic is to take a shower after getting hot and sweaty in a yoga class? anyone, myself included, can definitely afford to do that.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

How's about an unwashed mat with a blueberry muffin graphic ?

Kidding aside, check out the baos @ Famima. They are a better version of our " sio pao " -

Namaste !

4:46 PM  
Blogger joni said...

just think about how many REAL blueberry muffins one could buy with $125! or for that matter, how many one could make from scratch (assuming one had access to fresh blueberries) using $125 worth of ingredients!! we could feed an entire class and EVERYONE would be happy :)

10:18 PM  

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