I began showing the YbN mat design to friends and family. My excitement grew as each person who looked at the sketch for a minute said something like, “Oh, I get it!”
People were connecting to the idea without needing a long explanation or pitch. The fact that people intuitively knew how to use the mat convinced me it was worth pursuing. It was time to develop a prototype.
Any entrepreneur will tell you prototyping can be an expensive process. Innovations like 3-D printers have lowered costs and broken down barriers to entry, but for many people with ideas the cost of prototyping can be prohibitive. I was fortunate that my idea only required a canvas and some ink. I took the design and silk-screened it onto a piece of canvas, which I used as a rough mat to begin testing my idea.
I noted where I needed to adjust dimensions, and recognized YbN mats needed to be wider than average. While standard mats are just 24” wide, I knew YbN mats needed to be 30” wide to accommodate a design that truly worked for everyone. I also wanted the mats to be wide enough to create a stable surface for anyone using a balance aid, such as a walker.
During this time I also pursued my own study of yoga and looked for a teacher with whom I wanted to complete yoga teacher training to become a certified instructor. I spoke to a few trainers, explaining that although my doctor had cleared me to begin teacher training, my medical condition would prohibit me from executing some poses and require some modifications. I sensed apprehension in the first few teachers I spoke to, and was even told it might be better to wait. Then I contacted a studio called South Boston Yoga and spoke to the owner and director of teacher training, David Vendetti. I explained my situation to David, who listened thoughtfully and asked questions. He warned me the studio was a third floor walkup, and then said the words that made me sure he was the teacher for me. “We will work together to make sure you have the modifications you need to do this now, and I’ll carry you up the stairs in a hospital bed if I have to.” I had found my teacher and a partner in healing.
I began training in a formal capacity, and continued testing my prototype and assumptions. The knowledge I was gaining in teacher training helped me to refine both the mat and the methodology until I knew I had arrived at the right product. I had a prototype, a product, and I was beginning to find partners. It was time to launch Yoga by Numbers.
by Elizabeth M.