A little bit ago I watched the video for John Friend’s new revolutionary extra-wide Manduka yoga mat. I was put off by the marketing language. Why make claims that the purchase of a $100 mat is going to give you an “an inner opening”? “Lead to the very essence of your heart”? I understand that a wider, longer mat may be more appropriate for a wider, longer body, but I wish the language would be toned down. I love me some good old fashioned capitalism, especially expensive yoga pants, but connecting the quality of one’s yoga gear and spiritual development puts me off.
Then I read this post on elephant journal and discovered that John Friend has peddled an extra wide yoga mat before, with another company (Prana, who bills John Friend as co-creator). Which makes me amused–the press release for the Manduka mat promises that it would be “the first time the yoga community will have access to such a high quality blend of innovative technology and the veteran experience of John Friend in a mat.”
I don’t wanna be a hater. (And to be clear, this is not about John Friend, this is about the message.) But now I have another reason to find the marketing language disingenuous. If Mr Friend collaborated on a wide mat before, this is not “the first time the yoga community will have access to…the veteran experience of John Friend in a mat.” Unless Prana is not considered innovative technology. Why mince words?
That said, the promises for the Prana extra wide yoga mat are more physical than spiritual as they are with the Manduka [see the top video “Milo”]: “When I practice on it, I actually feel stronger. Like I’m actually able to push down with more stability and therefore evoke this uprising energy, more power.” The message is that if you buy this mat you will be able to fly like the Wright brothers, soar like a zeppelin, and press up to a handstand.
This is why I love business. So clever these marketing folks are. What ingeneious ways to get me to want these mats. Too bad my shoulders are narrow, and I don’t need either–so must blame my lack of handstanding/heart opening on something else. Sigh. Back to work.