Yoga Boards/Platforms (for doing yoga on carpet)

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Project by Ron Stewart posted 09-04-2017 11:19 PM 14346 views 0 times favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch

My wife has been taking yoga classes for a few years, but she has been doing more of it at home recently. Until now, she had been doing it in our kitchen, but it’s not a great environment. She and a friend had also talked about practicing together, and our kitchen won’t accommodate that.

Now that our kids have moved away, we have a large, mostly empty bonus room over our garage that is an ideal spot. It has plenty of room and large windows for natural light. It also now has a TV for YouTube classes/videos. The only problem is that it’s carpeted, and many of the poses and exercises require a firm surface under the yoga mat.

We found a product on the web called the Lifeboard that’s basically a big plastic slab split into two interlocking pieces. It would appear to solve the problem, but it’s a bit pricey and not too pretty. (On the plus side, it’s also light and portable, but that wasn’t a big deal for us.) I told her I could make similar platforms from either plywood (edge banded) or inexpensive hardwood. She chose hardwood, and we found some nice poplar boards at my favorite lumber yard.

Each platform is made of four edge-glued boards and is 80” x 33” (large enough to hold a standard yoga mat with some extra space around the perimeter) and about 7/8” thick. I also used a 1/8” round-over bit on all edges.

I had originally planned to finish the platforms with Danish oil, and I used it on the undersides, but that yellowed the poplar too much and made the dark grain too black; it was just too muddy. To avoid those problems, I switched to water-based poly (Minwax Polycrylic). I applied three coats to each board and then buffed the finish with a piece of maroon abrasive pad on my random orbit sander. That produced a smooth satin finish. It also bowed the platforms a bit, but they seem to be flattening a bit, and the slight remaining bow is not a problem in practice. I suspect that I wouldn’t have had the problem if I had used Polycrylic on both sides from the start.

My wife is very happy with the platforms, and she and her friend have started using them. Two happy friends, a new purpose for an unused room, and more practice with planing, panel assembly, and finishing—I call that a win! Thanks for looking.

June 6, 2018 Update

At my wife’s encouragement, I have been practicing Yoga for the past eight months. It’s really good for you, and I’d encourage you to give it a try, particularly if you’d like to improve your flexibility and strength and increase your body’s range of movement.

Actually using these boards really made me understand why it’s important to keep them thin. Some yoga positions require you to move your hands or feet off the mat, and you don’t want the parts off the mat to be significantly higher or lower than the parts on the mat. So, for example, that would rule out building a thick torsion box or platform as a yoga board. A taller platform (anything over an inch or so) would likely be a safety hazard, as you could twist or sprain an ankle or wrist by falling off the board.

One other thing to keep in mind is that you might not want to make the bottom of the board too slick. Some yoga transitions involve softly jumping from one position to another, and those movements can make the board shift a bit. So far, that hasn’t caused any problems, but I might consider routing a few grooves across the board’s underside if I make another one. That would reduce the sliding.

August 6, 2018 Update

I recently built a third yoga board that is easier to construct, less expensive, and more stable. Please see my Yoga Board 2.0 project for details.

-- Ron Stewart

2 comments so far

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

26784 posts in 4348 days

#1 posted 09-04-2017 11:37 PM

Great idea and I’ll bet she will really like them!!

Cheers, Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View helluvawreck's profile


32122 posts in 4109 days

#2 posted 09-05-2017 01:58 PM

This is a nice and practical use for wood. Congratulations.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

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