Mondays' M.O.M To Mention ~ Elizabeth Goranson Introduces Stretch What Matters Yoga System

As in true M.O.M fashion, Elizabeth managed to create the Yoga Mat System and build her Personal Yoga business while staying home and raising her two young children, Christian (5) and Gracie (3). In Elizabeth's own words, "I have so much respect for moms like us, who are trying to be the best moms we can while trying to create something for the world."

Let's Meet Elizabeth Goranson

M.O.M Katie ~ Wow, what a great product and business! For us Yoga novices, can you help explain the benefits of doing Yoga? As a M.O.M, can we fit in a Yoga routine with limited time to ensure the benefits?

M.O.M Elizabeth ~ Thank you Katie for helping me share more yoga with the world! Yoga first came into my life in ‘97 when I started practicing at a local gym, and it has been changing my life ever since. I think that class was the first time I was asked to pay attention to what was going on inside of my body. Just think about it, “How often do you really check in with your heart, your breath or your stomach?” Unless I was at the doctor’s office, all of my attention was placed on what was happening outside of my body. Although learning to shift my attention inward during yoga was a new concept for me, it took no time at all to learn that focusing on what was happening inside was the key for managing my world on the outside.

Yoga offers balance to every system in your body. Through poses, meditation and breathing techniques, yoga provides physical, emotional, and mental balance. What Mom doesn’t need a little of that each day? I can guarantee yoga is stronger than your favorite latté!

Each morning, I spend just 15 minutes on my yoga mat. I roll out my children’s mats beside mine and they know that they are always invited to join me. Gracie, my 3 year old, typically sits on my lap while I practice my breathing… this is one of my favorite moments of the day. I follow my breathwork with a few poses that I need that day: sometimes strengthening, sometimes relaxing. The key is listening to what I need and giving myself exactly that—a little something we could all use practice with, on and off the mat. Sometimes I just breathe with Gracie, and that is perfect.

M.O.M Katie ~ Tell us about how you came up with the concept of the Stretch What Matters Yoga System. When was your 'a-ha' moment?

M.O.M. Elizabeth ~ I had been teaching yoga to individuals with special needs for quite some time and I often struggled with successfully cuing my students on how to transition from one pose to another. I found myself on my students' yoga mats most of the time and this went against everything I hoped to give each of my students - independence. If my goal was to teach people to use yoga to regulate themselves, how in the world were they going to do it on their own if I was always physically showing them what to do?

That is where THE MAT (link to ) comes in. After I saw the picture of the yoga mat in my mind, I quickly placed my then 1-year-old daughter, Gracie, in her crib for the night and began sketching the yoga mat on sheets of paper using my son, Christian's, Crayola crayons. The more I drew the more I thought, this mat must already exist. So I began searching for the mat online.  After sharing the idea with my blessing of a husband, Scott I shared the idea with my mom. I asked her to sign the 'inventor's notebook' that I had started shortly after I realized the product was not available. I recall asking her to drive with me to the paint store so that she could sit with my children in the car while I found paints that would make up the first prototype of my mat.

M.O.M Katie ~ As a M.O.M, does yoga help you balance it all?

M.O.M. Elizabeth ~ Absolutely. My morning yoga ritual allows me set my intention for my day – being a mindful mom and wife feels a whole lot happier and healthier than the robot version!

My children motivate me to get on my mat… I love knowing that they are seeing mommy take care of herself physically, emotionally and for free. Isn’t that the greatest gift we can give to our children?

M.O.M Katie ~ You also work with Special Needs Children, how will or does Yoga and your system benefit those with needs?

M.O.M. Elizabeth ~ I was a classroom teacher for 15 years. I regulated my students’ behaviors. I was often praised by my colleagues for having great classroom management skills. Looking back, I can see how I managed behaviors very well but I often failed to teach children to identify and manage their own behaviors.

Practicing yoga allows students to learn how to go become aware of their bodies, thought patterns, stress triggers. The yoga system allows learners to identify, manage, and prevent stress on their own.

M.O.M Katie ~ Thank you again for introducing us to your amazing product. Do you have any advice for other (m.o.m)preneurs developing a product and taking it to market? Anything you learned that was unexpected?

M.O.M. Elizabeth ~ Something I learned is that creating a clearly defined work/play schedule is critical for the success of my business and my family. When I place too much attention on my business, I feel the absence of the joy I receive when I spend time with my family. When I feel balanced, I truly see how the love for and from my family feeds my creative energy and positive business sense.

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