In life, serendipity results in unexpected consequences. When designer Doreen Hing set out to create a visually stimulating yoga mat, she ended up developing a product that enhanced the users health and well-being, in addition to being visually appealing. I met Hing after my recent move to the Boston area. She introduced herself as a serial upgrader, someone who strives to improve and redesign the things around her. When you meet her you immediately notice her strong sense of style and of self. The former children’s shoe designer for Sam & Libby and Mootsies Tootsies made her imprint, quite literally, on the staid yoga mat industry.
According to her website, while exploring the technology to imprint unique, high-quality photos onto the yoga mats, Hing and the lab discovered the surface coating developed to protect the artwork had increased grip potential when body heat and pressure were applied.
“Grip” is the one feature every “best yoga mat on the market” claims as their unique differentiator. Hing says Plank is the only company that goes deeper than grip — their mats create a two-way “connection.” While grip establishes a simple sense of security between the practioner and the mat, Plank’s patented heat activated technology creates true awareness of one’s proper hand and feet connection & placement. This feedback system teaches practioners how to build the solid pose foundations necessary for holding poses longer. It generates the confidence required to go deeper into poses, and it ultimately transforms every class into an exceptional yoga experience.
The fashionista side of Hing emerges in her choice of images for her mats. According to the Boston Globe, “Hing commissioned Christopher Harting to take iconic photos, which are then screened on recyclable, biodegradable Ecolite material. There’s a mat featuring two handprints in dense shag carpeting – very trompe l’oeil – and a mat that looks like an actual plank of wood, referring, of course, to the yoga pose.”
She goes so far as to outline what her images are NOT – Cute like Pets. Pretty like Flowers. Cool like Clouds
Gag producing, yoga obvious or generic images, e.g. Lotus flowers, OM symbols or inspirational words like ‘Breathe or Karma. You get the idea.
Jennifer Garner, Reese Witherspoon, Ellen Pompeo, and other celebrities have all saluted the sun on Hing’s Plank mats.
“People fall out of poses, people yawn during class. It’s not all perfect poses and glamorous people in lululemon.”
She’s hoping her mats help yoga students improve their poses while being entertained by her cheeky images.