A spokeswoman for the nonprofit Yoga Alliance, which represents teachers, schools and studios, said the ideal situation is to learn from a master teacher in private classes, but time and cost can be barriers.
“Any tool that helps people practice yoga is a good thing,” said Katie Desmond. “And so we applaud Elizabeth’s ingenuity in spreading the power of yoga by helping to make the process of learning yoga as a beginner more accessible.”
Morrow patented the idea and sells the mats, made in the U.S. from sustainable rubber, for $119.95 including DVD and carry strap. She started selling on The Grommet, a website that launches undiscovered products, then had a successful, online crowd-sourced campaign to raise more start-up funds.
She also registered the business as a benefit corporation in Massachusetts, which means she can write into the bylaws that the company’s social mission takes precedence over the bottom line for shareholders.
Up next: She wants to focus on reaching kids, especially those at risk, and hopes to partner with social services providers. If she makes money along the way, all the better.
“I think politicians sort of create this false dichotomy where you either have to be pro-business or pro-social program and that you can’t do both,” she said. “A lot of corporations want to put out the message that it’s just not profitable and that is just not true.”