CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION
This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application No. 61/148,155, filed Jan. 29, 2009, the disclosure of which is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety.
The present invention relates to athletic equipment and supplies, and, in particular, to athletic training apparel that includes areas with a higher coefficient of friction to allow a user to maintain desired positions.
The various forms of Yoga have become increasingly popular in Western society as a form of exercise and recreation. In its various forms of practice, a participant places their body into various specified positions or asanas which stretch different portions of the body in various ways. Repeated practice of the various asanas can increase flexibility and strengthen various muscle groups leading to improved flexibility, posture, and muscle tone.
Since some of the standard asanas require a practitioner to place and hold the limbs in positions that may be awkward for an unpracticed novice or to bend the body in new and unfamiliar ways, these may be difficult for a novice to achieve and/or maintain. This can discourage novices from continuing yoga training. Consequently, there exists a need for a simple device or system that would assist a yoga practitioner in achieving or maintaining certain asanas. Athletic apparel that achieved this goal without requiring a novice to learn to operate additional equipment would be a further improvement in the art.
The present invention includes athletic training apparel useful for yoga or other sports. In one illustrative embodiment, a pair of pants, which may be constructed from a lightweight textile base material and are relatively smooth, includes areas with an increased coefficient of friction to allow a wearer to use the higher friction areas to maintain a training position, such as a yoga asana. The higher friction areas may be formed by disposing a higher friction material upon the textile base material of the pants. In one illustrative embodiment, the higher friction areas may be placed on the portion of the pants that will be positioned on the inner thighs of a wearer. The higher friction areas may be disposed in an aesthetically pleasing manner.
DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING
It will be appreciated by those of ordinary skill in the art that the elements depicted in the drawing are not necessarily to scale, but are for illustrative purposes only. The nature of the present invention, as well as other embodiments of the present invention may be more clearly understood by reference to the following detailed description of the invention, to the appended claims, and to the several drawings attached hereto.
FIG. 1 shows a front view of an illustrative embodiment of athletic training pants in accordance with the present invention.
FIG. 2 shows a partial view of a portion of a leg of the pants of FIG. 1.
FIG. 3 depicts a front view of a second illustrative embodiment of athletic training pants in accordance with the present invention.
FIG. 4 depicts a front view of another illustrative embodiment of athletic training pants in accordance with the present invention.
FIG. 5 depicts a front view of another illustrative embodiment of athletic training pants in accordance with the present invention.
For the purposes of promoting an understanding of the principles of the invention, reference will now be made to the embodiment illustrated in the drawing and specific language will be used to describe the same. It will nevertheless be understood that no limitation of the scope of the invention is thereby intended, such alterations and further modifications in the illustrated device, and such further applications of the principles of the invention as illustrated therein being contemplated as would normally occur to one skilled in the art to which the invention relates.
Turning to FIG. 1, there is depicted an illustrative embodiment of athletic apparel in accordance with the principles of the present invention. The depicted apparel is a pair of pants, generally indicated at reference numeral 10. Pants 10 may be constructed from a lightweight textile base material 100, which has a relatively smooth surface. For example, where pants 10 are constructed as loosely fitting pair of athletic pants which allow free movement for exercise, the base material 100 may be cotton, linen, hemp or a blended material including one of these natural materials or one or more man-made textile materials. It will be appreciated that for such embodiments, a textile base material 100, which is comfortable and breathable is preferred. Alternatively, where pant 10 are constructed to be form fitting apparel, the lightweight textile base material 100 may be a more elastic material, such as Lycra, Spandex, or an elastic cotton blend.
Pants 10 include selected areas with an increased coefficient of friction to allow a wearer to use the higher friction areas to maintain a training position, such as a yoga asana. One exemplary selected area is the “pelvic garage” generally identified at 102, at the portion of the pants 10 which will be disposed over generally corresponding to an area extending over the front hip joint of the wearer from the inner thighs across the front of the torso. As depicted, the pelvic garage area 102 may be formed from the inseam to the outer seam of the pants on either side as symmetrically bands at the angle of the front hip joint. When a wearer of the pants 10 performs certain yoga asanas; such as vrikshasana (tree), Eka Pada navasana (One Leg Boat), Janu Sirsasana (seated head to knee), Parivrtta Janu Sirsasana (revolved head to knee), or Eka Pada Rajakapotasana (One-Legged King Pigeon); one foot if brought towards the opposite leg or inner thigh, ideally within the “pelvic garage” and maintained in that position while the position is held.
Each selected area, such as the “pelvic garage” 102 is, characterized by having an increased coefficient of friction compared to the base material 100. This may be accomplished by disposing a higher friction material 104 in the selected area 102. The higher friction material 104 may be disposed upon the textile base material 100 in any suitable manner known to those of ordinary skill in the art. For example, the higher friction material 104 may be applied using a silk-screening or other stenciling process, by xerographic deposition, by block printing, roller printing, screen printing, or by directly painting a suitable material 104 on the base material 100. Suitable processes and materials include those disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 4,728,538 to Kaspar, et al., U.S. Pat. No. 7,107,626 to Andrews, and U.S. Pat. No. 7,346,935 to Patterson, the disclosures of each of which are incorporated by reference herein in their entireties. The deposition may occur after the pants 10 are constructed from the base material 100, or upon the base material 100 prior to assembly and sewing of the pants. Suitable higher friction materials 104 may include silicone rubber, PVC vinyl materials, rubberized materials, acrylic inks, latex inks, or any other suitable ink, dye or paint for textile use known to those of skill in the art. Plastisol inks may be used in certain embodiments and may be applied in a manned that results in a “gummy” texture, as by using a fine screen during a screen printing process.
The material 104 may be disposed as a pattern formed from a number of discrete individual disposed bodies 106 (FIG. 5) or as a continuous band. Each discrete body 106 may have the same or a different shape and may be disposed in a desired pattern to accomplish the goal of assisting in the retaining of a body part in the desired position. The material 104 may be multi-colored, contain a pattern, and/or be disposed as bodies 106 with shapes, to form an aesthetically pleasing pattern. For example, the material 104 could depict flowers, patterns, or geometric designs similar to a tribal tattoo or Sanskrit lettering by colors or placement of bodies 106. For example, where the textile base material includes colored flowers on a green background, bodies 106 may be used to form a pattern of green stems with varying colored flowers to match the background design. As another example, where the textile base material 100 is a solid color, the higher friction material 104 may be a contrasting color disposed in a fanciful geometric design.
Additional selected areas selected areas with an increased coefficient of friction to allow a wearer to use the higher friction areas to maintain a training position, may include along the inseam 108 down a portion of the length of the legs of the pants 10. This may occur down the entire length of the inseam 108 or only a portion thereof. As depicted in FIGS. 1 and 2, this may be done by disposing a series of individual bodies 109 along each inseam. Alternatively, one or more bands 112 may be used as depicted in FIGS. 3 and 4.
Another selected area may be the portion of the pants corresponding to the knees of the wearer, as generally indicated at 120. This may include an enlarged area extending from the inseam towards and across the back of the knee, as depicted in FIG. 2. As depicted in FIGS. 1, 2, and 4, this may also include an enlarged area extending towards the front of the knee.
As with selected area 102, each selected area 108 or 120 may be formed by disposing a higher friction material 104 therein the selected area 102, as discussed previously herein. As depicted in FIG, 4, the material 104 deposited in the selected areas 102, 108, and 120 may be connected as a continuous area.
It will be appreciated that although pants 10 are depicted as a pair of pants, other forms of athletic apparel may be utilized to achieve the benefits of the present invention. For example, a garment with integrated pants and top such as a leotard or unitard may include the higher friction areas in the desired locations to assist a user in yoga training.
Methods of training students to practice yoga re also included within the scope of the present invention. In such training, a student, such as a novice with little or no yoga experience is provided with a pair of pants 10, including the area 102 with a material 104 disposed thereon to increase the coefficient of friction. The material 104 may be disposed as a number of discrete bodies 106 and positioned over the inner thighs of the wearer. On some embodiments, the remainder of the pants 10 will be free of material 104 outside the selected areas, to allow for smooth movement by the student wearing the pants 10.
An instructor then guides the student into one or more desired positions for training Depending on the yoga school and instructor training techniques, the particular poses may vary. Selected poses may include vrikshasana (tree), Eka Pada navasana (One Leg Boat), Janu Sirsasana (seated head to knee), Parivrtta Janu Sirsasana (revolved head to knee), or Eka Pada Rajakapotasana (One-Legged King Pigeon). In each of these poses, one foot of the student is brought against the opposite inner thigh and into contact with the material 104 disposed in the “pelvic garage” area 102. The relatively higher friction of the material 104 compared to the textile base material of the pants 10 assists the student in maintaining the position. The instructor may assist the student in achieving proper positioning or technique.
By providing apparel that allows a student to maintain an unfamiliar pose during training, the need for separate supports or assistance to maintain the pose can be eliminated. This allows a student to achieve a degree of success earlier in training providing motivation to continue training and obtain the benefits of the exercise.
While the present invention has been shown and described in terms of some illustrative embodiments thereof, it will be understood that this invention is not limited to any particular embodiment and that changes and modifications may be made without departing from the true spirit and scope of the invention as defined and desired to be protected.