In ancient times, Indian yogis practiced directly on the dirt or grass. Rugs made out of deer or tiger skins were also used; although, the high price and scarcity of them meant that they were never particularly widespread.
When yoga became popular in the West, towels and cotton or rubber mats were used. Angela Farmer is credited with using carpet underlay in 1982 and then, working with her father (Richard Farmer), to produce similar sticky mats for use in yoga.
The type of non-slip yoga mat that is so common today is a relatively recent invention. In the 1990s, Hugger Mugger Yoga Products made the first yoga mat designed specifically for yogis. By the start of the 2000s, the British firm, EcoYoga, was making the world’s first eco-conscious mat.