“I first tried Yoga in 1996 when, still a teenager, I went to an Iyengar class with my mum, after a clever doctor had recommended it as way to treat the back problems I had started to develop (blame it on a mis-spent youth on skateboards!).
Over the next 10 years, despite spending most of my time shackled to a desk (never kind on the back!) as an entertainment lawyer, I went to Yoga classes as often as I could and it really helped with my back problems (and in so many other ways I hadn’t bargained for).
In 2004, I definitely had a turning point with my Yoga practice when I started attending a regular Ashtanga led primary series class with a very experienced and inspiring teacher called Heather. And so gradually over the following years, I began to get more into the groove of my own more regular asana practice. It was pretty slow progress actually, which I think is quite common when you live a modern urban life in between practicing Yoga. But that’s the great thing, that I eventually came to realize – Yoga is not a competition or a quest for perfection, and we learn so much more along the way than we give ourselves credit for.
And as for the Liforme mat and how that came about? Well, it all started, as these things often do, with a pretty simple idea. I had of course experienced lots of different teachers giving lots of different alignment cues when teaching asana, and quite often (although of course not always), those cues would amount to directions for the positioning of hands, feet or other body parts in a certain place on the mat. So I asked myself: “why doesn’t someone put some markers to help me position myself evenly, or help my teacher see where I’m at”?
To cut a very long story short, this sparked a 5 year long process of research and development of both the AlignForMe system (as we’ve ended up calling it) and of course of all the other important features of the Liforme Yoga Mat, some of which arguably became more important to us than the seed from which they all sprouted. Grip was always something I had struggled with on other Yoga mats, and I needed to fix that. And when I started to learn about all the materials and how they’re really made and what is eco-friendly and why (or why not), it was not only fascinating but this soon became the most important focal point for me.
In terms of the development process of the mat, I had absolutely no idea what I was in for. If someone had told me in advance that it would take several years to make this single product, that I’d have to travel to the Far East 7 times during the process and that we’d be confronted by an almost unimaginable amount of obstacles. But thankfully, no one warned me about all of that, and the obstacles came one by one. And once you’ve dealt with so many of them, and you’re so far down the track, well you can’t really give up. And besides, there was fun and new friends made along the way, and more than a few other ideas that we also worked on and that we are keeping up our sleeve for now!
Overall it’s been a joy and a privilege for me to develop the Liforme mat and to grow our company from scratch. And I’m really proud that a year after our launch, we have shipped mats to wonderful customers in 44 countries around the World and in 45 of the US states. The Liforme mat won’t do your asana practice for you, but if it helps to make it a little bit (or a lot!) more effective or enjoyable (because that’s what it’s all about, really), then I’m a happy Yogi.
I’m constantly excited about what we’re trying to achieve here at Liforme, and I’m beyond grateful to the many wonderful people who have helped us along the way. Those who believed in and supported my ambitions for Liforme at the earliest stage, and of course those who are working with me now to help us realize and re-shape those ambitions as we go along. They all know who they are, and I thank them whole-heartedly.
And trust me on this. We are only just getting started here at Liforme! So please join us for the ride.