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Gaiam’s surround-sound yoga mat: sacrilege or genius?

gaiam audio yoga matYoga teachers love to encourage a sense of connection—to your breath, your inner-self, or the ground beneath you as you push through your hands and feet into downward dog. But Gaiam’s newest yoga mat offers a different kind of connection entirely—to your iPod.

Yes, the Gaiam Audio Yoga Mat (check out the demo video) actually features a small speaker with an iPod wire built directly into the upper left-hand corner of the mat. It retails for $39.98 but it’s on sale on the Gaiam website right now for $31.98.

Our first reaction is to gasp in horror. What happened to the earthy even-yoga-mats-are-too-commercial movement recently featured in the Times? Isn’t yoga supposed to be about detaching from modern connections and looking inward? Shouldn’t we use our practice as the one safe space away from the distraction of technology?

Well, yes. But…this innovation could actually be useful, especially for those who are often on the run. Imagine yourself in a hotel room on a business trip moving from cat into cow pose with Rodney Yee’s voice guiding you along and telling you when to breathe. Or, your favorite slow jam coaxing you gently into a deep, relaxing Savasana.

Maybe Gaiam has gone too far, but they could be on to something. What do you think?