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Doreen Hing

December 2015

Getting Grounded with PLANK

Photography by Joel Benjamin  – shot on location at South Boston Yoga – http://www.southbostonyoga.net

When practicing yoga, other than breathing and moving, another important element is your mat. Doreen Hing is the creative force behind Plank, a Charlestown based yoga mat and accessory company. After falling in love with yoga, Doreen put her design background to work to create a line of yoga mats that not only make you smile but help improve your yoga practice. “I obviously wanted some unique yoga gear which answered my brief of cool, edgy, thought provoking imagery, high quality materials and functionality – which at the time and even today is hard to find,” said Doreen. Plank develops and designs the only heat activated connect yoga mat which helps to provide instant feedback of grounded body awareness.  Out of necessity, Plank was born in 2005.  

Doreen lives in the Fort Point neighborhood with her husband Lee Griffiths, her son Douglas (12) and her daughter Molly (11). We recently sat down with Doreen and had a little Q&A with her.  

Where did you grow up?
 I grew up in Leicester, England, UK

Tell us about your career path? 
I studied Footwear Design at De Montfort University, Leicester. After college, I  went to Paris in the hopes of working for a major shoe design company.  After a couple of years of very unfulfilling jobs, like a two day stint at Burger King, I managed to get an internship at Christian Dior, followed by freelance work, which gave me the start of a portfolio to present in the United States. I came over to visit on a whim for a job hunting session. I guess similar to my decision to go find work in Paris with no leads, I decided to do the same for the US. My first shoe ‘design’ job deflated my design training, where I basically copied high end designs in cheaper materials on more moderate heels and toe characters. Next for me was Children’s footwear, although I had more design input & freedom, I wasn’t really passionate about Children’s shoes. I kept applying for women’s design positions within the company I was working for but never got the job. Needless to say I got a little frustrated. In January of 2005, I founded Plank.  

What is Plank’s philosophy? 
Plank’s vision is to make the Dynamic Body Awarenessâ„¢ of yoga understandable & feasible for everyone. Plank does this by focusing on one of yoga’s many potent body and mind tools – grounding. Using the yoga mat as a platform for curiosity & critical thinking, our goal is for students to discover what constant and intensive grounding is, and is not. Care of Plank’s BADTechâ„¢, (Broad And Deep Technology), students experience an unparalleled security developed by deliberate and forced refinement of grounding. Our reverse grip technology, where it is mandatory to increase the surface area of body to mat contact, automatically realigns the body’s architecture. This in turn has students connect more powerfully to the physical & mental process of how yoga poses are constructed, eventually holding poses for longer, deeper and to have an enhanced yoga experience.
 
How many different designs of your mat do you have?  
Currently we have three designs, The Cobra mat is the heart opener. Shag mat is for those committed to a home practice. The Pills mat, for those who want to throw away their meds for yoga.


   
Where do you practice yoga?
These are my favorite yoga studios, South Boston Yoga, for innovative and fun technical Vinyasa Flow Class. Divine Play Yoga previously known as Baptiste Power Yoga, for a fast paced hot Vinyasa flow, to challenge Plank mats and my mind on body. Down Under Yoga for my pose study classes. Iyengar Yoga for me, is like my yoga coach, providing refined bone & muscle awareness for a deeper understanding of pose construction.  For a home practice, I love Yogaglo.com – It provides me with an opportunity to practice with some of the yoga’s renowned instructors presenting their latest discoveries with educated content to challenge the mind & body.

Best part about living in your neighborhood?
For now, it’s quiet yet close to the everything. We’re within walking distance from downtown, Chinatown, the South End & obviously all the new developments happening in the Seaport District.

Favorite restaurants?
Babbo & Sportello. Fingers crossed that Coppersmith & Worden Hall will be able to fine tune their operations to become local foodie institutions.

Favorite spot in Southie?
Walking across the Summer Street Bridge from town, seeing the architecture and the Boston Wharf Co. sign lit up. I love our proximity to the waterfront, anywhere the city meets the water becomes my favorite spot in Southie.

What’s next for Plank?
We’re super excited to be developing the next evolution of yoga mats to provide a durable, eco superior platform for any brand to create their own studio quality yoga mat for their customers to be proud to use. Our vehicle to nurture Plank’s vision of making yoga accessible to everyone, is to provide differentiated yoga mats with authenticity, brand & product awareness for all companies, including non-typical yoga companies who want to offer genuine yoga gear to their customers.

To learn more about Plank Designs, visit: http://blog.plankdesigns.com  To get yourself a Plank yoga mat, enjoy 20% off by visiting: https://a.pgtb.me/jfcqmb

Namaste!

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About the Author

Maureen Dahill

Maureen Dahill is the editor of Caught in Southie and a lifelong resident of South Boston sometimes mistaken for a yuppie. Co-host of Caught Up, storyteller, lover of red wine and binge watching TV series. Mrs. Peter G. Follow her @MaureenCaught.