A yoga mat might not seem like it takes up that much space—unless you're sharing a 600-square-foot apartment with a yogi that leaves wadded up towels at the foot of every wall, that is.
That's what Houstonian Beth Levine-McCann was dealing with two years ago when her husband, Alan 'Doof' McCann, was practicing yoga around the house for up to 4 hours a day to physically prep for his job as a touring sound engineer.
"He would say it was so stupid that he had to use these big towels and take up all this space, and that he wanted to invent something better," says Levine-McCann. After two months of tinkering with different materials in various shapes and sizes, McCann came up with Yoga-Spots.
At an inch tall and six inches in diameter, Yoga-Spots look a bit like supersized, fluffy coasters. One side is made of yoga mat material to grip and the other is made of a shammy-like fabric to glide on smooth surfaces, plus just the right amount of filling, the exact contents of which is guarded closely by McCann.
"I like to say it gives just the right amount of pushback and just the right amount of smush," says Levine-McCann. This fall the couple are selling Yoga-Spots in a range of colors for the first time, though McCann still crafts each spot entirely by hand.
With Yoga Spots, users don't have to drag a mat around to practice—any flat surface can become the perfect place for a lotus pose. One of the couple's friends has been given the honorary title of field tester, and chronicles her adventures with Yoga-Spots around the world, posing at formerly yoga-inhospitable places like Machu Picchu and the Mayan ruins of Tikal in Guatemala.
For practitioners who prefer to stay close to home, several studios around town including Yoga One, Peace Monkey Yoga and Joy Yoga have adopted the handy spots, using them for extra aid or comfort in positions like headstands or when a position (like frog pose) pulls you off the mat. Levine likes to use them to enhance her stretching, too.
"It's much easier to do a split with a Yoga-Spot under your heel, because you can use your heel to stop as you glide along," she says. "They are also great for your face when it's in face-down in a yoga mat if you don't want lines from the mat on your face. It's much nicer to put your face on something you can wash in a washing machine."