Title:
ARTICLE AND METHOD FOR PERFORMING AN EXERCISE AND HOLDING AN OBJECT USED IN THE EXERCISE
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The present invention is an article comprising a loop of inelastic material for use by a person to perform an exercise on a mat and that is capable of holding a rolled mat. If the exercise is yoga, the loop is a multi-functional device that can be used a strap, a cushion, a slip-prevention article and as a towel. Stitching can be provided to provide visual guidance for proper posture. The loop has a length equal to or greater than 15 inches such that it can be knotted by the person to hold the rolled mat either by hand or across the shoulder before and after yoga.



Inventors:
Denham, Alycia Monet (Los Angeles, CA, US)
Application Number:
12/103679
Publication Date:
09/04/2008
Filing Date:
04/15/2008
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
5/417
International Classes:
A63B26/00; A45F4/00; A63B21/002; A63B23/02; A63B23/12
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
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20080300113STATIONARY PEDAL EXERCISER WITH HANDLEDecember, 2008Battiston
20070287612Maximum muscle strengthening resistance deviceDecember, 2007Cha
20030166439Rowing machineSeptember, 2003Giannelli
20070032359Proprioception enhancement bandsFebruary, 2007Toronto
20080182729Martial arts training deviceJuly, 2008Ziska et al.
20070167292Endless belt for treadmillJuly, 2007Kuo
20070275838Method and Apparatus for Resistance TrainingNovember, 2007Neave
20060073942Treadmill for skiing-like exerciseApril, 2006Yang



Primary Examiner:
BIDDER, ALLANA LEWIN
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MORRISON & FOERSTER, LLP (LOS ANGELES, CA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. An article comprising: a loop of inelastic material configured for use by a person to perform an exercise on a mat, said mat capable of being rolled up after completion of the exercise, wherein the loop has a length equal to or greater than 15 inches and the loop is further configured to be knotted by the person to hold the rolled mat.

2. The article of claim 1 wherein the loop comprises a plurality of panels connected together.

3. The article of claim 2 wherein the plurality of panels comprises a first, second, third and fourth panel, each panel having a first and second end.

4. The article of claim 3 wherein the first ends of the first and second panels are connected respectively to the first and second ends of the third panel and the second ends of the first and second panels are connected respectively to the first and second ends of the fourth panel.

5. The article of claim 4 wherein each of the first and second panels has a length between 27 inches and 35 inches.

6. The article of claim 4 wherein the first ends of the first and second panels are stitched respectively to the first and second ends of the third panel and the second ends of the first and second panels are stitched respectively to the first and second ends of the fourth panel.

7. The article of claim 6 further comprising an upper periphery and a lower periphery, each of said upper and lower periphery having stitching.

8. The article of claim 4 wherein the first and second panels have a first color and the third and fourth panels have a second color.

9. The article of claim 1 wherein the non-elastic material is a towel-type fabric.

10. The article of claim 9 wherein the towel-type fabric is terry cloth.

11. The article of claim 1 wherein the exercise is yoga and wherein the mat is a yoga mat.

12. The article of claim 1 wherein the loop is incapable of being undone.

13. The article of claim 1 wherein the length of the loop is equal to or less than 60 inches.

14. The article of claim 13 wherein the length of the loop is between 32 and 38 inches.

15. A method of performing an exercise on a mat and holding the mat upon completion of the exercise, comprising: providing a loop of inelastic material for use during the exercise; and knotting the loop to hold the mat upon completion of the exercise.

16. The method of claim 15 wherein the exercise is yoga and the mat is a yoga mat.

17. The method of claim 16 wherein the step of knotting comprises: placing the yoga mat on the loop so as to separate the loop into a first loop section and a second loop section; and guiding an end of the first loop section through the second loop section such that the mat is held by the loop.

18. A method of making a loop of inelastic material for performing an exercise on a mat and holding the mat upon completion of the exercise, comprising: providing a first and second panel of inelastic material, each having a length between 20 to 40 inches; providing a third and fourth panel of inelastic material, each having a length between 6 to 30 inches; and connecting the first, second, third and fourth panels together to form the loop.

19. The article of claim 1, wherein the loop has a height of at least 6 inches and is made of a towel-type fabric.

20. A combination comprising: a loop of inelastic material and a mat capable of being rolled, said loop having a height of at least 6 inches and configured to allow a user to perform exercises therewith, wherein the loop is further configured to be knotted by the user to hold the mat when rolled.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application is a continuation of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/849,216 filed Aug. 31, 2007, which is a continuation of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/830,541 filed Apr. 22, 2004, the entire disclosures of both are incorporated herein by reference.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention generally relates to an article and method for performing an exercise and holding an object used in the exercise and, more particularly, to an article and method for performing an exercise, such as yoga, and holding a mat used in the exercise.

2. Description of the Related Art

Yoga is a popular exercise in the United States. Its popularity stems from its ability to provide physical and mental fitness in a simple manner. All that is required is the ability to execute and maintain a series of body poses typically on a mat. Although the body poses appear to be easy, they are in practice very difficult to achieve and maintain.

To achieve a given body pose, a yoga student must first learn the correct posture for the pose. Each yoga pose requires proper placement of the arms, legs, head, etc. The correct posture for a pose is commonly taught by a yoga instructor. The instructor adjusts the yoga student as the student tries to achieve the pose. Yoga, however, is also practiced alone or without the assistance of an instructor. In these situations, the yoga student may not remember or even know the correct posture for the pose.

Even if the yoga student knows the correct posture for the pose, she must be able to maintain the pose. This can be very difficult, particularly for a beginning student. For example, one yoga pose requires the student to lay on her back and raise one leg for a period of time. Most beginning students can hold this simple pose for only a short duration of time. To assist the student to hold the pose, a nylon strap is commonly used to provide support. The strap is placed around the foot of the leg. The student then holds the two ends of the strap with her hands and raises the leg. By pulling on the end of the straps, the student supports the leg in the raised position. The strap is very helpful, and many yoga students have such straps as part of their yoga gear.

Another yoga pose requires the student to maintain a push-up like position, known as the plank pose, for a period of time. Holding this pose for a period of time places great stress on the shoulders, arms and hands. Because yoga mats are usually thin, this pose can quickly become painful to maintain. Most beginning students can hold this pose for only a short duration of time. To assist the student in this pose (and other poses), a cushion or cushion blocks are commonly used to reduce the stress on the shoulders and arms. Such blocks are very helpful and may also be part of a typical yoga student's gear.

Another difficulty in maintaining poses such as the plank pose is slippage. One of the hallmarks of yoga is its ability to generate internal “heat” or perspiration. After a series of poses, most yoga students have perspired on their mats and have wet hands. Poses, such as the plank pose, that require firm contact between the hands and the mat are difficult to maintain when the mat and the student's hands are wet. The hands can slip along the mat even if the student uses a mat with a sticky material designed to prevent such slippage. Such slippage results in the end of the hold and possibly can lead to injury. Yoga students commonly overcome this problem by placing a slender towel across the mat. The student then places her hands on the towel during such poses as the plank pose. The towel not only prevents the hands from slipping along the mat, but also dries the hands and the mat.

Thus, a yoga student may take a number of pieces of yoga gear to a class. She may take a mat, a nylon strap or straps, a cushion or cushion blocks, a towel to prevent slippage and a towel for drying her face and body during and after yoga. Many yoga students also take a bag for the mat. The bag prevents the yoga mat from being undone before and after class. Yoga bags are typically elongated pouch-like bags in which a rolled yoga mat is placed. Two disadvantages of such bags are that they do not allow the mat to breath and dry-out after class and they can be bulky.

Taking all this gear to practice yoga can be cumbersome. If the student is practicing yoga in a class, she may not have the space to place all this gear around her mat. Even if she has the space, the unloading of the gear before practicing yoga and packing of the gear after practicing yoga can be time-consuming. Such unloading and packing can also be particularly distracting for yoga, which seeks to give the student a serene mind-set. Furthermore, while some of the gear may assist the student in maintaining a pose, none of the gear can visually guide the student to the correct posture for the pose. Also, the yoga bag does not allow the mat to breathe and dry-out after class.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

One embodiment of the present invention is an article comprising a loop of inelastic material for use by a person to perform an exercise on a mat. If the exercise is yoga, the loop of inelastic material can be used to perform yoga in many different ways. The loop can be used as a strap to assist in maintaining poses such as the raised leg pose discussed above. The loop can also be placed across the yoga mat. The loop of inelastic material not only provides a cushion for poses such as the plank pose, but it can also prevent slippage. Furthermore, the loop has a length equal to or greater than 15 inches such that it can be knotted by the person to hold the rolled mat either by hand or across the shoulder before and after yoga. Because the yoga mat is held by a loop of inelastic material, the mat can breathe and dry-out after class.

The yoga student thus does not need to bring to class nylon straps, cushion blocks, a towel to prevent slippage and a yoga bag for the mat. The loop of inelastic material is multi-functional by being capable of use during yoga as a strap, a cushion block, and a slip-prevention article and by being capable of holding a rolled mat used in yoga. The yoga student simply shows up to class or anywhere she performs yoga just with her loop and mat. Because the loop is used during yoga, there is no gear to be placed around her mat. Moreover, there is no time-consuming unloading of gear before class and packing of gear after class. The elimination of extensive unloading and packing allows the yoga student to concentrate on achieving the proper mind-set, which is an important aspect of performing yoga.

In one aspect, the inelastic material is a towel-type fabric. The use of such fabric prevents slippage on the mat if the loop is used during yoga. The yoga student can also use the loop of towel-type fabric to dry her face and body during and after yoga, thereby eliminating the need to bring a towel to class.

In another aspect, the loop of inelastic can visually guide the yoga student to the correct posture of a pose. The loop may have stitching or even hand positions indicating where the student's hands should be placed for a pose such as the plank pose.

Another embodiment of the present invention is directed to a method for performing an exercise on a mat and holding the mat upon completion of the exercise. The method comprises providing a loop of inelastic material for use during the exercise. The method further includes arranging the loop to hold the mat upon completion of the exercise.

This method can be used to perform yoga and hold a yoga mat in one aspect. In a further aspect, the step of arranging comprises placing the yoga mat on the loop so as to form an opening extending to each end of the loop and guiding one end through the opening at the other end such that the mat is held by the loop. In this manner, the yoga mat can be simply held by the loop used during yoga.

Another embodiment of the present invention is directed to a method of making a loop of inelastic material for performing an exercise on a mat and holding the mat upon completion of the exercise comprising: providing a first and second panel of inelastic material, each having a length between 20 to 40 inches, providing a third and fourth panel of inelastic material, each having a length between 6 to 30 inches, and connecting the first, second, third and fourth panels together to form the loop. In a further aspect, the panels are connected by stitching. Any of the details of the description herein can be used in manufacturing an article.

These and other features and advantages of embodiments of the present invention will be apparent to those skilled in the art from the following detailed description of the embodiments of the invention, when read with the drawings and the claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWING(S)

FIG. 1 illustrates a perspective view of the first embodiment.

FIGS. 2 and 3 illustrate the first embodiment used during an exercise.

FIG. 4 illustrates the first embodiment arranged around a mat to hold the mat.

FIGS. 5-7 illustrate a series of steps for arranging the first embodiment around a mat to hold the mat.

FIG. 8 illustrates a perspective view of the second embodiment.

FIG. 9 illustrates a perspective view of the third embodiment.

FIG. 10 illustrates a perspective view of the fourth embodiment.

FIG. 11A illustrates a perspective view of the fifth embodiment.

FIG. 11B illustrates a side elevation view of the fifth embodiment.

FIG. 12 illustrates a perspective view of the sixth embodiment.

FIG. 13 illustrates a perspective view of the seventh embodiment.

FIG. 14A illustrates a perspective view of the eighth embodiment.

FIG. 14B illustrates a perspective view of the ninth embodiment.

FIG. 15A illustrates a perspective view of the tenth embodiment.

FIG. 15B illustrates a perspective view of the eleventh embodiment.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

In the following description, reference is made to accompanying drawings illustrating the preferred embodiments. It is to be understood that other embodiments may be utilized and structural changes may be made without departing from the scope of the preferred embodiments of the present invention.

FIG. 1 illustrates in perspective view the first embodiment of the present invention. The first embodiment comprises a loop 1 of inelastic material. The loop 1 comprises a plurality of panels 2, 3, 4 and 5. Each panel has a first end 2a, 3a, 4a and 5a and a second end 2b, 3b, 4b and 5b. The panels are connected together to form a loop in the following manner. The first ends 2a and 3a of panels 2 and 3 are connected to the first and second ends 5a and 5b of panel 5. The second ends 2b and 3b of the panels 2 and 3 are connected to the first and second ends 4a and 4b of panel 4.

In FIG. 1, the panels are connected together through stitching. That is, the loop is manufactured by stitching the panels together. The method of manufacture includes stitched seams 6 and 7 connecting panels 2 and 3 to panel 4, while stitched seams 8 and 9 connect panels 2 and 3 to panel 5. A number of different types of stitches may be used to connect the panels together. For example, a serge stitch or a railroad stitch can be used. These two types of stitches provide a very strong connection between two pieces of material, such as fabric. A strong connection can be important if the exercise requires the loop to be pulled with force. Other types of stitches that can be used are a straight stitch, a flat lock and a serge raw edge.

FIG. 1 shows the same type of stitch used to connect the panels. However, different types of stitches can be used in the same loop. For example, panels 2 and 3 can be connected to panel 4 with a surge stitch, while panels 2 and 3 can be connected to panel 5 with a railroad stitch. This may be necessary if, for example, the exercise requires the loop to be used in one manner on the panel 4-side of the loop 1 and in another manner on the panel 5-side of the loop 1. FIG. 1 also illustrates that the stitches 6, 7, 8 and 9 extend from the upper periphery 10 of the loop 1 to the lower periphery 11. Stitches extending for only a portion of the distance between the upper periphery 10 and the lower periphery 11 may be also be used.

The first embodiment also includes stitching along the upper periphery 10 and the lower periphery 11. An edge stitch is used for both the upper periphery 10 and the lower periphery 11. Such peripheral edge stitching prevents the upper and lower peripheries 10 and 11 of the loop 1 from fraying. Fraying can result from use of the loop 1 during an exercise. If the loop is made from an inelastic material that is washable, such as terry cloth, the peripheral edge stitching also prevents fraying due to washing.

Of course, stitches other than an edge stitch can be used, and different types of stitches can be used for the upper periphery 10 and the lower periphery 11. Although FIG. 1 illustrates the edge stitch extending along the entire upper and lower periphery, the edge stitching may extend for only a portion for one or both of the peripheries.

FIG. 1 shows the stitching, whether to connect the panels or along the peripheries, with colored thread. The colored thread contrasts with the material of the loop 1. Such contrasting provides the loop with a distinctive look, such as old sweatshirt or football jersey. The contrasting also provides a guidance function which will be discussed with respect to FIG. 2.

The material of the loop 1 is inelastic. The inelasticity prevents the loop from stretching in exercises, such as yoga, that may require the loop 1 to be pulled with force. The material illustrated in FIG. 1 is a towel-type fabric, such as terry-cloth. Terry-cloth has at least seven advantages. First, terry-cloth does not stretch when pulled. Second, it is a flexible fabric such that the loop can be arranged in numerous configurations. Third, terry-cloth can be used as a cushion, because it is typically a plush and soft fabric. Fourth, terry-cloth is absorbent, thereby allowing the loop to be used as a towel during an exercise (to, for example, absorb perspiration from hands, face or body) and after an exercise to dry the face and body. Fifth, terry-cloth can provide a high friction surface. This reduces or even prevents not only the hands or other body parts from slipping along the mat, but also the loop from slipping along a mat or other surface. Sixth, terry-cloth is washable. Seventh, terry-cloth is aesthetically pleasing.

Many different types of terry-cloth or terry-cloth like fabrics can be used, such as corduroy toweling, glass toweling, huck toweling, knit terry, French terry, terry velvet, Turkish toweling, two-sided terry, preshrunk terry and velour toweling, all of which can be made with cut pile or uncut, looped pile. The terry cloth can be made with cotton or a cotton/polyester blend.

Terry-cloth or terry-cloth like fabrics are not the only towel-type fabrics that can be used. Other types of towel-type fabrics may be used, such as microfiber and absorbent cotton blends. Furthermore, inelastic materials that are not a towel-type fabric may be used, such as nylon and polyester blends.

FIG. 1 shows the same type of fabric on both the exterior surface and the interior surface. Different types of fabrics or even materials can be used on the exterior surface and the interior surface. For example, the exterior surface can be made of terry-cloth, while the interior surface can be made of cotton. This can be achieved using a single loop having different fabrics on each side, two concentric loops having different fabrics that are joined together or any other arrangement whether partial, full or otherwise.

Logos, images, words and the like may also be placed on the exterior surface and the interior surface of loop 1. FIG. 1 illustrates a logo 12 on the exterior surface of loop 1. The logo 12 is placed (in FIG. 1 through stitching) at the bottom corner of the second end 2b of panel 2. The logo 12 is illustrated with a figure made of colored thread, but the figure can be white or in black. The lines below the figure, which are optional, are in colored thread (of the same or different color than the figure). The lines can also be white or in color.

FIGS. 2 and 3 illustrate the loop 1 of the first embodiment used during an exercise such as yoga. FIG. 2 shows a plan view of a person 20 on a yoga mat 30. Loop 1 has been arranged to lay flat along the horizontal or x-direction of the mat 30. The arrangement is achieved by collapsing the loop 1 onto itself. That is, panel 2 lies on top of panel 3, and panels 4 and 5 are each doubled over. This arrangement leads to seams 6 and 7 to be aligned such that seam 6 is on top of seam 7. Seams 8 and 9 are aligned such that seam 9 is on top of seam 8. It should be noted that FIGS. 2-3 (and FIGS. 4-6) do not illustrate the stitching along peripheries 10 and 11.

The person 20 is performing the plank pose by extending his body along the vertical or y-direction of the mat 30. His hands 21 and 22 are positioned on the loop 1 between seams 6 and 9. FIG. 2 shows the seams 6 and 9 falling on the vertical edges of the mat 30. The seams 6 and 9 visually mark the boundaries of the mat. Thus, the seams 6 and 9 guide the person 20 on the placement of his hands 21 and 22.

Aside from visual guidance, the loop 1 acts as cushion. Loop 1 is made of towel-type fabric, such as terry-cloth and, in this arrangement, has two layers. Panel 3 and half of panels 4 and 5 constitute a bottom layer, while panel 2 and the other half of panels 4 and 5 constitute a top layer. Two layers of towel-type fabric can reduce the stress on the shoulders, arms and hands associated with the plank pose.

The loop 1 also prevents the hands 21 and 22 from slipping along the mat 30 in at least two ways. First, the towel-type fabric absorbs the perspiration in the hands and on the mat. Second, the towel-type fabric of loop 1 prevents the hands 21 and 22 and the loop itself from slipping along the mat 30. FIG. 2 illustrates the height h of the loop 1 to be smaller in length than hands 21 and 22. Of course, the loop 1 can have a height h that fully encompasses the hands 21 and 22.

Although FIG. 2 illustrates the loop 1 used as a cushion for the plank pose, the loop 1 can be arranged to act as a cushion in other poses. For example, the loop 1 can be doubled over several times to act as a thick cushion block for a knee or elbow in poses requiring knee or elbow contact with the mat 30. If the loop 1 is made thick enough, it can act simply as block to support the hands, arms, legs, head, etc.

FIG. 3 illustrates the loop 1 used as a strap. The loop 1 in FIG. 3 is used as a strap for a leg pose, but the loop can be used as a strap in other poses. In the leg pose, the person 20 lies on his back on yoga mat 30. He must lift his leg and foot 23 above the mat for a duration of time. He may raise his leg with his leg extended or he may be required to bring his knee toward his chest as illustrated in FIG. 3. Because either position may be difficult to achieve or maintain, support can be provided through the use of the loop 1 as a strap.

The loop 1 is collapsed onto itself in the same manner as in FIG. 2. With his right hand 21, the person 20 grabs the loop 1 on its panel 4-side. Specifically, he places his fingers around panel 4 between seams 6 and 7. With his left hand 22, the persons grabs the loop 1 on its panel 5-side by placing his fingers around panel 5 between seams 8 and 9. The person 20 then places the loop 1 around his foot 23, such that his sole is touching the exterior surface of panel 2. As the person 20 lifts his leg and foot 23 above the mat 30, he pulls with his hands 21 and 22. Because the loop 1 is inelastic, it allows the hands 21 and 22 to force the knee toward the chest. The hands 21 and 22 can continue to pull the loop 1 to maintain the pose.

FIGS. 2 and 3 thus illustrate the loop 1 used in performing yoga. The loop 1 can be used as a cushion (or just a block), a slip-prevention article, a visual guide for proper posture, a strap and a towel.

FIG. 4 illustrates the capability of the loop 1 to hold the yoga mat 30. In FIG. 4, the yoga mat 30 has been rolled, which is typically done before a yoga session and after the completion of a yoga session. The loop 1 has been arranged to hold the yoga mat 30 at approximately waist level of the person 20. The knot that is used allows the yoga mat 30 to be held over the shoulder to thereby leave the person's hands free. Of course, in this arrangement, the loop 1 can also be held by the person's hand or hands. In either way, the yoga mat is held in a way that allows the yoga mat to breathe and dry-out. This is particularly important after yoga, where the mat can be wet due to the yoga student's perspiration.

FIGS. 5-7 illustrate a series of steps for arranging the loop 1 to hold the yoga mat 30. In FIG. 5, the yoga mat 30 is placed on the loop 1 to form two openings. The first opening 13 extends to the panel 4-end of the loop 1. The second opening 14 extends to the panel 5-end of the loop 1. In FIG. 6, the panel 4-end is guided through the opening 14 in the direction of arrow AR1. Once the panel 4-end passes through the opening 14, the panel 4-end is pulled up in the direction of arrow AR2 as illustrated in FIG. 7. The opening 14 begins to close as the panel 4-end is pulled in the AR2 direction to hold the yoga mat 30. The opening 13 remains to allow the person to grab the panel 4-end of the loop 1 or place the panel 4 end around his shoulder as illustrated in FIG. 4. The present invention is not limited to the knot illustrated in FIGS. 4-7. Other knots well-known to one of ordinary skill in the art can be used to hold the yoga mat, whether rolled or unrolled.

Although FIGS. 2-7 illustrate the loop 1 used during yoga or holding a yoga mat, the loop is not limited to the exercise of yoga. For example, the loop can be used in pilates to perform some of the poses in pilates and to hold a mat or other equipment used in pilates. The exercise does not have to be series of actions (such as a series of poses in yoga or pilates), but can be a single action such as doing a single stretch.

The loop is not limited to being used in exercises relating to positioning the body, such as in yoga, pilates and stretching. The loop can be used in exercises such as hiking and spinning, which involves stationary bicycles. Typically, in spinning, an instructor leads a class through an imaginary bicycle course and requires the students to perform upper body exercises while cycling. The loop can be hitched around the handles of a bicycle. This allows perspiration from the bicycle rider to be absorbed. By looping the loop around the handles, the rider can easily access the loop for drying her face and body. Furthermore, the loop can be used during spinning to provide for upper body exercises such as stretching of the arms.

The present invention is not limited to holding a mat or even a holding function. The loop can be configured to hold other equipment used in the exercise. For example, the loop can be used to hold a water bottle or other equipment used in performing the exercise of hiking. The loop can provide uses other than holding such as upper body exercises and absorption as discussed above with respect to spinning.

The inventor has determined the range for the height of the loop is between 1 and 15 inches (including 1 inch and 15 inches). Within this range, a range between 6-10 inches is a preferred range for an adult with typical proportions. The length of the loop is defined herein as half of a circumferential measurement of the loop. The inventor has determined the range for the length of the loop is between 15 to 60 inches (or a range between 30 to 120 inches for the circumferential measurement). Within this range of 15 to 60 inches, a preferred range for an adult with typical proportions is between 32 to 38 inches.

FIG. 2 illustrates the height h and the length L of the loop 1. As discussed above, the loop 1 in FIG. 2 is collapsed on itself. Panel 2 lies on top of panel 3, and panels 4 and 5 are each doubled over. The length L illustrated in FIG. 2 is half the circumferential measurement of the loop. As discussed above, the circumferential measurement of the loop can be determined by multiplying the length L by a factor of 2.

Suitable height h and length L dimensions for the loop 1 in FIG. 2 can be 6 inches by 32 inches through 10 inches by 40 inches or any combination therein (such as 8 inches by 34 inches). These dimensions reflect the multi-functional uses for an exercise such as yoga. A loop having these dimensions can be easily grasped as a strap, can prevent the hands or other body parts from slipping, can properly position the yoga mat at waist level and on the shoulder and is consistent with the dimensions of a typical yoga mat, which are 24 inches in the x-direction (mx) and 68 inches in the y-direction (my) as illustrated in FIG. 2.

The height and length dimensions can also be smaller, such as 4 or 5 inches by 24 inches. Furthermore, the height h and length L dimensions can be any combination within their respective ranges (1 to 15 inches for height and 15 to 60 inches for length) as discussed above.

It should be noted that the dimensions are not limited to a minimum and maximum range. For example, the length L of the loop 1 can be equal to or greater than 15 inches in order to be knotted by a person as shown in FIGS. 5 to 7. The length L of the loop 1 can be equal to or less than 60 inches. Furthermore, the height h of the loop can be equal to or greater than 1 inch or equal to or less than 15 inches.

Lengths l1, l2 and l3 in FIG. 2 illustrate the length of the panels. The length l2 is the length of each of the panels 2 and 3. Length l2 can be between 20 inches and 40 inches. A range between 27 inches and 35 inches is suitable for an adult with typical proportions. Lengths l1 and l3 are half the total lengths of panels 5 and 4, respectively. The lengths l1 and l3 can be between 1 inch and 15 inches (or 2 to 30 inches for total length) and suitably between 7 inches and 12 inches. Thus, panels 2 and 3 may have height h and length l2 dimensions of 8 inches by 27 inches through 8 inches by 35 inches while panels 4 and 5 may have height h and length l1/l3 dimensions of 8 inches by 7 inches through 8 inches by 12 inches. It should be noted that the dimensions are not limited to a minimum and maximum range as discussed above. Although the height dimension h of the loop 1 is the same for all the panels, the panels can have different heights.

FIGS. 8-15B illustrate other embodiments of the present invention. FIG. 8 illustrates a loop 1 with a circular opening 40 in a panel, while FIG. 9 illustrates a rectangular opening 50 in a panel. Each opening provides at least four advantages. First, the opening reduces the amount of fabric used. Second, the opening can be used as a guidance tool. If the loop is used for the exercise of yoga, it can indicate to the yoga student or practitioner where to place her hands, arms, etc. A yoga teacher can use the opening as a signpost to direct her student's posture. Third, the opening allows for even more knot configurations to hold an object used in an exercise. Sections of the loop can be fed through the opening to create different knots. Fourth, the opening is an aesthetically distinctive feature.

It should be noted shapes other than a circle and a rectangle can be used. Moreover, the shape does not have to be in the panel. The shape can be an arcuate periphery or a cut-out of the periphery or peripheries. Of course, a loop can have more than one opening or shape, such as having an opening in each of two opposing panels.

FIG. 10 shows loop 1 with hand positions 55 and 56. If the exercise is yoga, these hand positions guide the yoga student or practitioner in the placement of her hands. The hand positions may be used in exercises other than yoga. Of course, any other markings can be used, such as geometric shapes, other body parts and words. FIG. 10 illustrates the hands 55 and 56 being of different color and/or material from the remainder of the loop 1. The hands 55 and 56 or any other markings used can also be stitched onto or placed on the loop 1.

FIGS. 11A and 11B illustrate a loop 1 with a pocket 60 on a side panel. The pocket 60 has a logo and an entry with edge stitching in the vertical or y-direction. The entry is simply pulled to place an object in the pocket. Of course, other types of entries can be used such as an entry with a zipper or an entry using buttons. The pocket can be of any size applicable to the loop, and its placement is not limited to a side panel. Moreover, more than one pocket may be used.

FIG. 12 shows a loop 1 having panels 70 and 71 with different colors and/or materials. This feature has at least four advantages. First, different colors and/or materials for panels can reduce the cost of manufacture. Second, different colors and/or materials for panels can provide a guidance function. An instructor can instruct a student to use only the sections having a certain color for a given exercise. Third, different colors and/or materials for panels can guide the user to correctly knot the loop. Directions can be provided with the loop showing how to knot the loop by clearly indicating the different panels. Fourth, different colors or materials for panels can be optimized for the exercise to be performed.

FIG. 12 illustrates that the panel 70 and its directly opposing panel have the same color and/or material, while panel 71 and its directly opposing panels have the same color and/or material. The present invention can be made with any number of colors and/or materials, such that each panel has a different color and/or material.

FIG. 13 illustrates another embodiment. Loop 1 has a plurality of panels connected together by seams 82, 83, 84 and 85. Unlike FIG. 1, the loop 1 of the present embodiment does not have any stitching on its lower periphery 81 and its upper periphery 86. It should be noted that the embodiment can be modified to have stitching on one of the peripheries 81 and 86.

FIGS. 14A and 14B shows two embodiments having a single panel. In FIG. 14A, the loop 1 comprises a single panel 90. The panel 90 has two ends which are connected by zipper 91. In FIG. 14B, the loop 1 comprises a single panel 100. The two ends of the panel 100 are connected by snaps 101. Buttons and other fastening devices can be used. In FIGS. 14A and 14B, the loop is capable of being undone. The user simply unzips the zipper 91 or opens the snaps to undo the loop. In contrast, loop 1 of FIG. 1 is incapable of being undone. The panels 2, 3, 4, and 5 are stitched together and cannot be opened. It should be noted the features of FIGS. 14A and 14B are not limited to a single-panel loop.

FIGS. 15A and 15B illustrate embodiments with different number of panels and different panel sizes. Any number and size can be used. For example, FIG. 15A illustrates a loop 1 comprising a plurality of panels 110, 111, 112 and 113. The panels are connected by seams 114, 115, 116 and 117. Unlike FIG. 1, at least two of the opposing panels are not the same length. Panel 110 is a different length than panel 111. FIG. 15B illustrates a loop 1 comprising a plurality of three panels 120, 121, and 122 connected by seams 123, 124 and 125. The panels 120, 121 and 122 are the same length.

Although the present invention has been fully described in connection with the preferred embodiments thereof with reference to the accompanying drawings, it is to be noted that various changes and modifications will become apparent to those skilled in the art. Such changes and modifications are to be understood as being included within the scope of the present invention as defined by the appended claims.