Jeff Bargiel wants to warm up your yoga routine. As the founder of Toasti, Bargiel has created a heated yoga and exercise mat that makes it easier to get muscles loose and workout-ready—a necessity if you live in a not-so-toasty environment like Cleveland. The avid yoga practitioner first came up with the concept after shivering through one too many home yoga routines.
“I have a really cold, drafty house, and when I wanted to do workouts at home my mats were really cold and stretching was difficult and slow,” Bargiel says. “I thought there must be a heated mat that exists to do something like this. I didn't find it. So I made one.”
He cobbled together a prototype using heating wire and a power supply found in his basement, before discovering a manufacturing company that made other heated electric mats and blankets. An initial run of 20 mats sold quickly to his friends and on eBay, but he set aside the project for eight years until time freed up in 2018. He resurrected the idea and ran a successful Kickstarter campaign for it before fully launching Toasti in January.
Today, Toasti is based out of Launchhouse. The ToastiMat has evolved to feature a different finish on each side (smooth canvas or grippy bumps), a timer, and a temperature control with four heat settings (“I set it on a one if I want to sleep on it all night. I set it at a four if I want to start sweating,” adds Bargiel). The 90-inch cord plugs into any standard outlet.
While the mat was created for home yogis, the uses go far beyond just exercise. Bargiel used it during a particularly cold winter while working on his car. He’s taken it camping and sometimes sleeps on it at home. People have used it for their pets or to keep warm in a cold office. Customers quickly realized that the heat the mat provides can also work as relief for sore muscles or chronic illness.
“I have lots of folks with arthritis and lupus laying on it, or any connective tissue or inflammatory disease where you're using heat therapy," ” says Bargiel. “A lot of my customers find it more beneficial to use a full body heat pad instead of using a localized one.”
Because of this, Bargiel hopes to expand Toasti into a full line of products in the future.
“The Toasti brand just makes you feel warm and toasty and comfortable,” he says. “My goal from the beginning was to try to wrap other types of warmth products around it.”