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John Friend wants you to have more room on your mat


John Friend
John Friend and his new yoga mat

Last week, Manduka announced the John Friend Collection, a new line of extra-large yoga mats created in collaboration with the influential founder of Anusara Yoga.

The Friend line takes the brand’s popular light-weight mats— the eKO SuperLite (one of our faves!) and PROlite—and stretches them out.

Instead of the standard 24-inch width, the Friend(ly) mats will be 29 and 30 inches wide, respectively. The eKO Superlite is also four inches longer than the average at 72 inches.

Here’s hoping your crowded studio doesn’t care that you’re grabbing up several extra inches of real estate.

“The added space allows for a deeper expression of movement and a better connection between body, mat and heart,” Manduka stated in a press release. It also allows for more “energetic freedom during practice,” Friend added.

On a much more basic level, as a pretty tall woman, I get sick of my forehead sticking to dusty studio floors, and I dream of a mat-contained Savasana! I’m sure there are lots of yoga dudes who feel the same way.

In addition to mats, the Friend Collection will expand in 2012 to include (bigger?) towels, bags, and other yoga products.

“I am honored to collaborate with such an authentic company to bring an amazing new line of gear to the yoga community,” says Friend, who hasn’t loaned his name to products previously.

We’re sure Manduka is crossing its fingers in hopes that the superstar yogi’s presence will do for them what Rodney Yee did for Gaiam. If the partnership is a success, will others follow? Sharon Gannon-stamped Harmoniums? Go With the Flow yoga pants endorsed by Shiva Rea? Oh, the endless possibilities…

John Friend Collection PROlite Mat, $95, eKO SuperLite Travel Mat, $46, www.manduka.com