Jun 242012

Recently my husband and I happened to be in New York City the same weekend Yoga Journal was holding their May conference.  I didn’t attend the conference this time around, but did take an opportunity to browse through the marketplace.  What was fascinating was the array of new innovative products that are now offered to the yoga community.  Aside from the normal collection of Indian-inspired jewelry, yoga pants, green teas and energy drinks, this year’s marketplace showcased some very unusual items.  I want to present to you what I consider to be the most innovative ones I saw there.  Here are just a few of them.

Take, for instance, YogaJellies (www.yogajellies.com).  These are funky disc-shaped items that are made of medical-grade silicon and have a multitude of uses.  According to the inventor, Anita Jarowenko, they are non-toxic and latex-free, so they are safe for everyone.  I was intrigued by them because I have students with serious knee problems and others with arthritis in their hands.  I bought a set (they come in pairs) to try them myself and was impressed with the cushioned support they provide.  If you have sensitive wrists, a boney butt, sore elbows, bad knees, collapsed arches, or basically any condition that makes holding traditional poses difficult, yoga jellies can help.  The only drawback I noticed was when I used them in Down Dog.  They stuck nicely to my mat and cushioned my hands, but after I removed them and placed my hands where the yoga jellies had been, it was a bit slippery.  Anita said to wash them with gentle soap to get rid of the film.  Their website has a photo gallery that illustrates many of their uses.

Next was a new design in seating called the Sukhasana chair (https://sukhasana.com).  It looks a little like a normal office chair with five wheeled legs on the bottom, but that’s where the similarity ends.  It is made for exactly what it sounds like—sitting in Sukhasana.  The back is tall and narrow, and the sides, which at first glance look like low arms, tilt inward to support the outer knees.  It’s available in three sizes and a variety of colors.  I sat in one and it truly was a treat.  The hefty price tag of $1,800 may discourage some buyers, but you have to ask yourself what the price of an open, relaxed, pelvic area is, especially if you sit for hours at a time.

The Kalso Earth shoe (www.planetshoes.com)  was a personal favorite.  It comes in different colors and styles, but what I really love about it is when I put them on, I felt like my sacrum opened.  I said “This is like standing in Mountain Pose!”, and that’s exactly what the shoe is intended for.  It was designed by a Danish yoga instructor, and the negative heel design sets the heel lower than the toe so you feel like you are upright and properly aligned.  I wore them around the city and they kept my feet comfortable and my back at ease.

And finally, the Loopasana (www.loopasana.com).   Corny name aside, this strap-like item is a fun little item that seems well-made.  As the name implies, it is one long continuous belt made of the same material as yoga straps.  It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to figure out all the ways to use it, but they do offer a video on their website if your imagination gets stuck.

Check out any of these and let me know what you think.  In the interest of disclosure, I have not been paid for any endorsement of these products, nor has anyone asked me to review anything.  I chose these products because they seem unusual and quirky but useful.  However, the woman at the booth where I got my Kalso Earth shoe gave me a free pair because I am a yoga teacher, not because I am talking about them here.

Om shanti…

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