Talking yoga with Cate from LovEarth
The Ponderance would describe Cate Peterson as a ‘Legit yogi’. Someone who effortlessly personifies many of the true principles of yoga by being kind, strong, healthy and generous (and obviously an awesome yogi). From pioneering corporate yoga in Australia, to providing mats for rough sleepers to sleep on, Cate has found more and more ways to send yoga beyond the studio.
Cate has offered half of her life to helping others discover yoga. That's simply awesome.
Cate's overall energy surprised me when we first met. I felt instantly comfortable having a big, enthusiastic chat with her. There's something impressive about a conscious-minded person who is equally kick-ass in the business world as she is on a yoga mat.
Initially training in Oki-do yoga under Takao Nakazawa, planting her feet firmly on the ground (literally in Tadasana) through continued study under Andjez Gospodarczyk at Ryogo Yoga. Since learning the practice, Cate has invested 25 years of her life to yoga and sharing it with communities around the world.
Cate was responsible for what is now referred to as 'corporate yoga'. Starting out by pioneering workplace programs in Australia over 2 decades ago. Cate recalled her humble beginnings trying to get corporate clients, fondly remembering the effort she put in to bending and twisting the 9-5ers for 2 years until she finally landed her first contract.
Once established, the corporate yoga business was a good way to make a living relative to Cate's studies and passion. As her client base grew, Cate began commissioning company branded yoga mats for her corporate clients, adding a bit of well-deserved capital.
The added financial momentum allowed Cate and her friend to begin fitting out a house, a former backpacker hostel, in Sydney's North. It required some work. With a bit of elbow grease and a coat of paint or two, Cate had her base of operations and a share in a busy neighbourhood studio. It soon became a local institution buzzing with fresh energy.
The trouble started when a couple of new neighbours decided that they didn't like having a bunch of zen'd-out Yogis hovering about. It was a parking and privacy 'catastrophe'. The Council complaints started rolling out and all of a sudden Cate and her business partner had to shut down their thriving, 12-year-old studio.
Those damn Yogis, always peering over the fence, doing burnouts on their bicycles and screaming "ommmm" at the top of their lungs...
Faced with a homeless business and an influx of calls from lost clients Cate had a lightbulb moment. What if there was a service that linked people up to local studios as if they were all connected to one big network? YogaPass was born.
Cate once again rolled out her business mat, unwittingly pioneering the now popular fitness membership aggregation model in Australia.
Cate's displaced clients and many yogis more took to YogaPass. It grew to allow its members access to 538 yoga studios. Those studios were accessed by members well over 200,000 times in the 6 years that YogaPass was alive. That's a lot of sweaty downward dogs, wonky handstands and small businesses getting a financial boost.
It wasn't long however until entrepreneurs were taking note of the successful YogaPass business model and the market flooded with imitators. Eventually, as Cate explained, customers didn't really know which service was her original version. Numbers started to drop and Cate decided to shift her focus to her newest venture, LovEarth.
On learning of the direct human and environmental impact of PVC, from which the yoga mats she had been selling were made, Cate took action. Looking around for a sustainable alternative, Cate soon found that there really weren't any environmentally-friendly yoga mat options. Not being the type of person to back down, Cate decided that her company, LovEarth yoga, would come to market with environmentally and socially responsible mats.
Cate contacted the manufacturing firm that she was working with in Taiwan to produce the PVC mats and gave them an ultimatum: Lose her regular business or start using natural tree rubber for the mats. Despite a lack of experience with the material, the factory agreed to change their ways, creating mats from all natural tree rubber and opening the doors for their business to expand into new, more sustainable products for other clients. Win/win.
Cate is responsible for a number of brilliant mat-based initiatives. The market-mimicking YogaPass has inspired her newest venture, a bigger, better and newly launched yoga community and studio aggregator, YogaHive. Check it out! Most recently, Cate has partnered YogaHive with McDonalds as a prize for their annual McDonalds Monopoly competition. Precisely the kind of market cut-through that helps people overcome the barriers to entering the yoga scene - be it a physical, social or cultural stretch for some.
Skip ahead to today and you can find Cate still teaching yoga, making eco-friendly mats and travelling the world to bring practice to the masses.
I had the pleasure of trying out a LovEarth mat. I've given it a fairly good run over the last few weeks, the results are below.
LovEarth Mat trial
I've now used my LovEarth mat for 3 x heated classes (30°c 1 hour) and 2 x 45 minute vinyasa flow classes at home.
The mat has required some wearing in, as all mats do when new. But still it isn't as grippy as I'd like it to be. I found the surface gets a bit slippery when the mat is sweaty. I've experienced this before with new mats from leading companies, you just have to wash/use them a few times and earn the grip. I'm fine with that but it may be a bit tricky for less experienced yogis who may slide out of alignment.
People have definitely heard of LovEarth and I get cool points for being eco-friendly amongst the curious and conscious crowd. The mat iself is robust, making it a touch heavier than others, which I like. It feels like it will last for a long time. I 100% vouch for this lovely, earthy-feeling, biodegradable and AFFORDABLE option at $87.
LovEarth mats are sold online (here). Having recently shopped around for mats (christmas present for wifey) I can vouch for the fact that they are one of the most socially and environmentally responsible mats available. They are up there with the other eco-mat leaders such as Jade Yoga and Second Earth (which I own and use also).
This is not a paid or incentivised post. Cate did provide The Ponderance with a LovEarth mat free of charge to allow us to test it, she kindly offered to not have it back following our trialling it. She did so with a lovely big smile. Thanks Cate!