Lululemon's New Yoga Mat Uses 3-D Ridges to Perfect Your Poses

Athleisure brand Lululemon has developed a new kind of yoga mat—one that ripples up toward you with an integrated 3-D design.It’s called the Take Form mat, and while that 3-D terminology might conjure up mental imagery of Avatar’s alien worlds, the 3-D effect is much more subtle. Across the mat, you’ll see a pattern of soft ridges in the form of concentric circles that ripple outward from fixed points. The effect looks like someone has just tossed a few well-placed stones into a placid pond. The ripples are alignment markers, meant to guide the user toward proper posture by indicating where to place one’s hands and feet during yoga poses.

Photograph: Lululemon
“The central circle is a reference point,” says Lululemon senior designer Stephen Morris. “The ripples will touch your hands in certain ways when you're in different poses that over time will become cues that you're symmetrical, that you're in the right pose.”

While most other alignment mats have indicators that are purely visual, the Take Form mat’s ripples are slightly raised so that users can feel them during their practice. (Lululemon calls this “3-D zoned cushioning”) The company sent me a mat to try out. While there’s more padding in the center of the circle, the difference is barely noticeable. Each ripple is subtle, like a soft raised bump.

“Most people are using these visual cues, whether that's looking at the teacher or looking around at different students in the class or maybe looking at yourself in a mirror,” says Chantelle Murnaghan, director of Lululemon’s research department, Whitespace Labs. The idea behind the ripples, she says, is that users can feel their way around the mat during their practice, without needing to look down or even open their eyes.

The Take Form mat uses ridges to guide your hand and foot placement, which is helpful for those practicing at home without an instructor.

Photograph: Lululemon