The Origin of the Modern-Day Yoga Mat

Yoga hasn't always be practiced on a fancy rubber mat.

Handwoven Editors Jun 27, 2021 - 2 min read

The Origin of the Modern-Day Yoga Mat Primary Image

Barbara Goudsmit's yoga strap from Little Looms 2019 Photo credit: George Boe

When it comes to relaxing, there's nothing quite like yoga. It helps you work up a sweat while simultaneously calming your mind...and you have an awesome savasana to look forward to at the end of class! (That's another term for laying flat on your back in a totally relaxed state with your eyes closed, in case you didn't know.)

Nowadays, yoga is typically practiced with a fancy Lululemon mat in tow; however yogis of the past traditionally practiced their downward dogs on hard grass or on rugs made of animal hide. As the yoga movement began to rise in popularity throughout the West, yogis took to practicing on towels or blankets. However, the slipperiness of these objects made them somewhat less than ideal for those trying to balance and not fall flat on their faces; thus the modern rubbery sticky mat was born.

Doublweave Yoga Set Weaving Pattern Download Image

Suzie Liles's Double Weave Yoga Set


If you'd prefer to weave your own yoga mat, check out this Doublweave Yoga Set Weaving Pattern. You may also want to weave the yoga strap shown in the feature header. The pattern for that strap woven by Barbara Goudsmit can be found in Little Looms 2019.

Originally published December 4th, 2015. Updated June 27th, 2021