One-hundred-and-sixty-dollar see-through yoga pants are no longer the most offensive thing at your local yoga studio. Not even close, actually.
Meet the BallerYoga Mat: an 80-by-26-inch rectangle of premium grain leather that will set you back $1,000. The Hummer of yoga gear, rolling one out in a crowded studio is the easiest way to announce that yes, you were the one screaming “Bro, is there even any wheatgrass in this shit?” at the juice bar last week.
First, let’s address the gross cultural problem with practicing yoga — which has roots in Hinduism — atop the hide of that religion’s sacred animal. Sure, spirituality and faith are individual, and few practicing American yogis would consider themselves Hindu. However, having even an ounce of respect for the religion you are co-opting in pursuit of “that yoga butt” would be nice.
In the mat’s defense, BallerYoga founder Cedric Yau argues that many Hindus wear leather shoes, and “India is one of the top three countries in the world for leather exports.” Furthermore, “there’s a misconception that Hinduism and yoga are linked; yoga has evolved, the religious dogma has been kind of left out.”
Maybe we shouldn’t be surprised at the opulence of a $1,000 mat. Ever since the practice washed up on American shores, capitalism has been licking its lips, eager to grab a bite of whatever marketable products yogis would buy. “Yoga has become a show, a market place, and an extension of ego-driven, capitalistic bottom-line enterprises,” says Jill Wheeler, a longtime yoga instructor.
But Yau counters that, hey, if a leather yoga mat is what it takes to get men interested in downward dogging, it’s a good thing. The mat is made at the same tannery as Wilson's NFL footballs. “I was really trying to create a better yoga mat; it’s more grippy,” he says, adding that “it gives men permission to do yoga.”
As if a studio full of women in see-through yoga capris wasn’t enough.