The Inspiration

I believe in free education for everyone, especially underprivileged girls. FlowMats focuses on India’s education system because yoga and India go together like breath and movement. You cannot have one without the other.

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I find it easy to get caught up in the physical practice of yoga and sometimes forget what the spirit of yoga is about: service. While “I” statements can connote a strong attachment to the Ego for some, psychology affirms the power of repeating positive affirmations. Every FlowMats yoga mat is therefore embossed with the reminder, “I helped build a school in INDIA.

The right to basic education isn’t enjoyed by everyone, especially girls. Building a school in a rural region of northern India helps educate children out of generational poverty. Embossed on every yoga mat is an invitation to get the conversation started.

Pre-pubescent girls in India are often coerced or sold into prostitution before they even learn to read. More than 90% of girls whose mothers work in the profession follow the same path. India’s traditional caste system makes it difficult for young girls to understand that given a proper education, they could have a choice. According to Half The Sky Movement, more than 89% of prostitutes in India report wanting to escape, with up to 95% reporting cases of physical assault and abuse.

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Vinyasa Yoga Teacher Training in Rishikesh, India (2016)

To supplement the family income, it is not uncommon in India for families to take their children out of school and force them to beg or work in some capacity. This is why many families say they cannot afford to send their children to school. But current education statistics force us to ask: can they afford not to?

According to the Indian District Information System for Education, the national dropout rate of elementary school children in India is over 40%. In rural areas, it is often worse. Less than half the population living in rural India can read at a basic level. Among girls, those numbers are even higher. Education and literacy have direct and real impacts on a child’s chances of reaching his or her full potential. Lack of education perpetuates the cycle of generational poverty.

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Less than half of primary schools have an electricity connection. Less than 10% of elementary schools have access to computers, and less than 25% have access to libraries. There is a real need to provide proper educational environments for India’s growing child population to succeed. FlowMats aims to help meet that need.