Yoga mats and other potentially life threatening items, Part 2

Warning: Highly dangerous if not used correctly.

Right, so – back to the yoga mat. What yoga mat? Come on, keep up! The yoga mat I posted about here a few days ago. Yes, that dangerous product I bought so flippantly, not realising what a minefield of potentially fatal injuries it could lead to! I was taken aback at all the warnings on the box for this seemingly benign item.  Here are some (but not all) of them: (the exclamation marks were in the original warnings)

Warning! Important! Remember to read the instructions below before using the product!

Wow! Remember – this is a yoga mat!

Until now, I just assumed that some products, e.g, a pair of pants, a book, or a yoga mat, didn’t require instruction manuals, because people buy them already knowing what to do with them, through the wisdom handed down from generation to generation. (Eg, parents show their children how to put their legs through their pants and pull them up, teachers teach kids how to read, and, well, what is there to know about how to use a yoga mat?) Of course, normally I abhore all instruction manuals – they are boring and usually confusing – but this warning struck me as so completely over-the- top ridiculous that I was intrigued enough to continue reading to find out what warnings could possibly come with a yoga mat!

A Yoga mat, apparently, according to a Wikimedia search. This one looks a little bit more dangerous than the one above.

Do not use if pregnant.

You know, when I was pregnant, I was cautious about products that were known to be unsafe to take during pregnancy, such as alcohol, cigarettes, soft cheeses, salamis, and anything with the artificial sweetener Aspartyme in it. Of course, I also avoided other things that would be considered dangerous to do during pregnancy – such as tightrope walking, speed skating, or climbing up a ladder to fix the roofing, but I tend to avoid those kinds of activities even when not pregnant.  As I am naturally clumsy, I am usually in danger of injury from items most people consider fairly harmless, such as wine glasses and doorways, so there is no need for me to test fate by balancing along the guttering when 8 months pregnant. But, to get back to the yoga mat –  even I felt pretty safe using one of these things! If warnings like this are now being put on yoga mats, it is obviously a tokenistic gesture meant to cover the manufacturer against any risk of litigation in the case that a pregnant woman should go into labour during a yoga session and then try to sue the manufacturer of her yoga mat???

I mean, what is the worst a yoga mat could do to a pregnant woman? Cause her to lie down and become so relaxed that she can’t lift her heavily pregnant body back up off it again? So what?? Have a snooze!!!! You’ll need all the rest you can get!

Always work out in a safe environment wearing appropriate training gear.

Well this is really smart. They’ve caught me out here, because I guess that if I put on high heels and a tight fitting dress, take my yoga mat under my arm and prance on down to the Grand Prix track, place it on the track and start to do a downward dog as the cars come around the bend, and then end up being injured as a result – I can’t sue the makers of the mat for being negligent?

Damn that warning. It had seemed like a flawless plan.

Stop your exercise immediately if feeling faint or dizzy.

Very wise. Stop your exercise. Eat a Mars Bar to raise your blood sugar level and undo all the good work you’ve just done. If still feeling faint, have a lie down – but not on the yoga mat!!!! Are you mad??? That could be construed as recklessly endangering your life!

(Truth be known, in any situation, regardless of faintness, dizziness or just plain boredom, my advice would probably just be, Stop your exercise.)

Before use, check for wear or damage to the product. Do not use if your product is worn or damaged. Under this there is actually a phone number to call if your product looks worn or damaged! I doubt that even atom bombs come with as many warnings, instructions and phone numbers for back up service in the case of being faulty as this yoga mat does!

What could go wrong if there is a hole in my yoga mat?  Perhaps my finger might get stuck it when I’m doing the child’s pose, and next thing I know I’ll be tangled up in the mat, doing the straightjacket pose.

Help! I didn’t read the instructions, and now look at me!!

This is not a toy. Keep out of reach of children.

Wow, this warning was well placed, as otherwise I would have offered the yoga mat to my 11 year old daughter to play with. I suspect that in reply she would have looked at me with the condescending contempt that such an offer would rightly deserve. Er, hello…does it play songs from Glee? No? Does it come from Smiggle with a matching stapler and pencil case? No? Can you download the Angry Bird app onto it? No? Boring. This child is in no danger of playing with a yoga mat.

Exercises should be done in a SLOW and CONTROLLED manner.

Don’t worry, that’s the only way I do them. I’m not into exerting myself.

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8 Comments

  1. Oh, my, and I thought hair dryers were dangerous (do not put into any orifice). I’ve got this dangerous yoga mat here, just daring me to stand on it. Who knew?

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    • Ah yes, that’s a common ploy, the old “butter wouldn’t melt in my mouth” blank stare from a yoga mat. Makes you want to go and salute the sun then and there, doesn’t it? Well, beware. That’s what it WANTS you to do.

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    • Ps it’s first thing in the morning here and I thought you had written, of hair dryers, “do not put into any office” ….and I thought at first THAT was strange! Assumed you had a “hair dryer at work” story. But “orifice”?? Don’t tell me that was in the instruction manual???

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  2. too funny! thanks for your wry humor 🙂

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  3. I’ve always felt that yoga mats have a sort of sardonic look about them so I’ve never really trusted them. Or yoga, for that matter.

    I think you’re right, though: these warnings are less to avoid embarrassment or injury to the consumer than to protect the manufacturer from litigation. Hence the “Caution: contains nuts” on packets of peanuts or “Caution: hot liquid” on take-away coffee cups or kettles labelled “Caution: hot when in use”. (Actually, they could add “Caution: blows out scalding steam”, something I discovered just the other morning.)

    There’s also been a change in computer software. Once upon a time, at some point during installation, you would see a notice saying something like “Oh, by the way, click here if you want to read our terms and conditions”. Not any more. You now encounter a tick box and unless you tick it, the software won’t install. Beside it the label reads “I accept the terms and conditions which I have read” (my emphasis). Wow, who read terms and conditions? Well, now you have at least to pretend to have done so.

    To be fair, I have to admit that people can be stupid and apt to blame others for their own stupidity. So I do have some sympathy for manufacturers. Moreover, I think that however many misuses of the product you warn against, some genius idiot will find one you never thought of.

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    • Thanks for reading an old post! There are some old posts on my blog that I feel quite fondly towards, and my yoga mat posts (this was part of a 2-part series) are some of those, so it’s nice when someone reads them.

      I agree with you on all counts. It’s ridiculous that a product like a yoga mat requires any warnings at all. Clearly, warnings are placed on all sorts of benign objects to cover the manufacturers from being sued when someone does something really stupid with their yoga mat/hairbrush/socks/pillow that results in injury. Sadly, there will always be someone who will think of ways to injure themselves that did not occur to the manufacturer – although in the case of my yoga mat, the manufacturers were pretty damn thorough when they tried to think of all the possible ways a yoga mat could be implicated!

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