“I think it’s awesome when they have that reaction because to me, that means they get it and they know how to use it,” said Morrow, a certified yoga instructor.
Morrow has sold to people who live far from a yoga studio, those with tight schedules who need to squeeze in practice whenever they can, and people with health conditions. The National Institutes of Health’s National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine reports that recent studies of people with chronic low-back pain suggest yoga can help reduce pain and improve function. Other research shows regular practice might reduce heart rate, blood pressure and stress and may help relieve anxiety and depression.
“People who are older are using it because the DVD really focuses you on not contorting yourself into Cirque du Soleil-style acrobatics,” Morrow said. She demonstrated the mat recently at her parent’s house in Bow, N.H., about an hour north of Boston.
The latest “Yoga in America” study, released by Yoga Journal, reported 20.4 million Americans practiced yoga in 2012, compared to 15.8 million in 2008. They spent $10.3 billion on classes and products, up from $5.7 billion the earlier survey.
Janet Lark teaches yoga in Ogden, Iowa, and had a bad experience with a poorly cut, astringent-smelling mat, so she started doing some research. She came upon Morrow’s mat and was struck by how simple it was for novices.
“It truly was a ‘Duh! Why didn’t anyone think of that sooner?’ moment,” she said. “It is fantastic to notice how quickly the clients start to focus on making sure they are properly aligned.”
Morrow, who worked in the nonprofit sector for several years, also hears from purists who pooh-pooh the mats as a gimmick.
“My response is that this is not a mandate,” she said. “I think that if you’re already practicing yoga and it works for you, that’s great and I’m really excited for you. I’m interested in hearing from people for whom the system doesn’t work.”