BROOKINGS – Practicing yoga and working out while experiencing joint pain is as difficult to do as it is common, but now there is just as simple a solution.
Ecuador native, substitute teacher, SDSU research assistant and mother of two Karen Eidem has developed “My Comfort Mat,” a workout mat that is designed to strategically allow the user to have both stability on the mat as well as enough cushion to alleviate joint pain.
Eidem developed her first mat back in July.
“I’ve been a yoga instructor for quite a while,” said Eidem, who is also a Prairie Soul yoga instructor, “but I’ve always observed a need. People who had tender knees, tender joints, tailbones, would always complain during practice … so to me it was like, ‘What can I do to alleviate that need without having people drag in extra props or extra blankets or use a mat that is so thick that we are compromising your balance?’”
My Comfort Mat features a raised section (denoted by the infinity symbol on the surface) that allows for users to strategically position themselves on it to alleviate whatever joint-based pain they are experiencing.
The raised portion of the mat is 14 millimeters thick whereas the rest of the mat is 3 millimeters thick.
Eidem said that the way the padded section is placed is so that users can be on their knees, back, pelvis, feet or hands strategically in any yoga position without having to compromise their stability.
The mat is not exclusively for yoga, Eidem said. The mat can be used for anything active like pilates, core-fit workouts, stretching and high-intensity workouts.
“Yoga should be about letting go of stress,” Eidem said. “It should be about enjoying the practice. But if you’re coming here and then suffering through some postures then it defeats the purpose.”
Eidem wanted to create the mat as a form of service. She said that more often than not, certain props are not available to help alleviate the pain individuals experience when doing yoga or working out on a fitness mat. Plus, the props often lead to instability due to their excessive cushion and can also wear away the material of the actual mat, therefore ruining the product.
Eidem worked for a year-and-a-half on developing the perfect ratio of cushion for the mat as well as the placement of the raised areas. She and her husband, Justin, took various molds and cut out various other mats to develop the best possible option.
“We don’t really want to just develop another random product, but this actually serves a purpose,” Justin Eidem said.
“Initially, it started with alleviating (joint pain), maybe even people who have had surgeries … but now I see young college kids who are just wanting to get comfortable and they like it,” Karen Eidem said.
Karen Eidem moved to the United States from Ecuador when she was 18 and has stayed ever since. She and her husband met after they had gone to college and moved all over the country for Justin Eidem’s scientific supplies sales job. They recently moved to Brookings from Minneapolis when the sales territory for his position opened.
Karen Eidem said that the transition to Brookings has been wonderful for her and her family as well as the My Comfort Mat business. They have shipped mats to most of the surrounding states already.
“Overall, what we want people to understand is that our thought process and our purpose behind it is to serve a need, serve a community, more than just to be one more mat out there,” she said.
For more information, visit mycomfortmat.com or their Facebook or Instagram page. The mat can be purchased at their website or at Prairie Soul Studio, 986 22nd Ave. S. Suite B.
Contact Matthew Rhodes at [email protected]