A friend convinced me to try a class with her at another studio after work one day. The class began with 20 minutes of chanting, none of which I knew, and progressed through a series of chants followed by postures. It felt painfully slow to me at the time, as a recent graduate working in New York City. Just a babe in the woods, I was.
I tried once more and signed up for an introductory week at a Bikram yoga studio. Though the challenging pace appealed to me, I wondered if I was actually learning anything or even performing the movements safely. There was no way to know, since the teachers never deviated from Bikram’s script.
Home from the hospital, I knew I didn’t have the stamina for a 60 or 90 minute class. I bought a few DVDs so I could practice when I had the energy, but again wondered whether I was correctly positioned as I imitated what I saw on screen. Then one day, my aha! moment arrived. I realized that the right mat design could work in tandem with instruction to allow the student to correct their own positioning and alignment, and learn how to modify teachers’ cues for their unique bodies. The Yoga by Numbers mat design flashed through my head. The mat would be like a map, allowing students to see their body placement in the context of the design, and giving students the confidence they needed to follow along with both video instruction and live classes without needing to crane their necks to see what the teacher was doing.
I quickly sketched out the mat design, showed it to my partner, and asked what he thought of it as design for a yoga mat. He looked at the sketch and immediately said, “Oh yeah, it’s yoga by numbers.”
by Elizabeth M.