When founder Doreen Hing began attending Bikram classes 15 years ago, she initially thought she’d just found an exciting alternative to traditional cardio for staying in shape. But she quickly realized that yoga offered her something her typical workouts didn’t: the chance to notice and change the internal workings of her body. She started studying yoga and practicing with intention, and everything shifted—she felt healthier than ever before, physically, mentally, and emotionally.

A designer by trade, as she began truly connecting with her yoga mat, she also began reimagining it. No one had taught her about grounding her practice, how to engage with her mat to find and build her poses from a sturdy base. She came to the important yogic skill herself and wondered if she could design a mat that would teach this ability to others; that would serve as an awareness system and act as the instructor, constantly reminding the practitioner to go broader and deeper—to get grounded.

She focused on the mat’s surface and began looking for alternatives to PVC, which can make it difficult to move gracefully and properly between asanas. After experimenting with printing images onto natural rubber, she found the ideal solution: a surface slick enough to help you transition through poses with complete awareness of your body’s biomechanics, yet grippy enough to let you settle in safely and comfortably once you’re properly grounded in a solid pose foundation. Plank was born.