Evolution of the Happ:y Yoga Mat

Communicating with Images

It was while working with the Deaf and hard of hearing population and facing communication challenges, that the creative insight for The Happ:y Yoga Mat design came to me. Even though we had interpreters, Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART) service, and a loop system, there was still a level of complexity to conveying some basic yoga principles that prevented clear understanding. One piece of the puzzle was explaining foot placement to students learning a standing pose such as the Warrior. I solved this problem by finding diagrams of feet on the computer, printing them out, and using them as a template for where students should stand — almost like a twister game. This worked!  

Remote Accessibility

My research partners and I also explored accessibility issues among rural adults. Many rural communities lack yoga teachers. The feasibility of the academic community doing assessments far away from their university was another issue we were considering. During these conversations, I began to develop the idea of using the yoga mat as a tool for accessibility. This could address the issue of remote access to a teacher and students, as well as a tool for academic assessments.

Developing the Solution

Creating a solution for these challenges became an important goal and an exciting pursuit. The first hurdle was finding a printer, which turned out to be a journey of discovery. I found a local company who was willing to play, even though they had never done this before. It is interesting when you have an idea with a lot of energy behind it, how others get excited and want to go along for the ride. We printed that first mat from my initial layout in PowerPoint. (Yes PowerPoint…!) I tested it out and found it to be 90% effective, but it still had some issues. With the help of a talented visual designer, we modified the layout and graphic elements to reflect my notes from the first prototype. Version two was printed. Then I enlisted yoga students, yoga therapists, yoga teachers, and some researches to use the Happ:y Yoga Mat 2.0. From their feedback, the visuals were further refined and version three was printed. Once this design was finalized I located an amazing USA producer of high-quality yoga mats who could handle higher volume production.

It has been a joy working with these professionals and seeing my original vision come to life. I hope you find value in and enjoy The Happ:y Yoga Mat.

Paul Mross
Founder and Inventor of The Happ:y Yoga Mat©