Need To Destress + Heal? Just Breathe.

“Just” breathing seems like a simple and obvious request. After all, breathing is automatic, we don’t even think about it. This automaticity allows us to inhale and exhale almost 1,000 times per day while performing our daily tasks and truly living at the same time. Our primary breathing muscle, the diaphragm, works involuntarily — we don’t have to consciously tell our diaphragm to move every time we inhale and exhale.

Although breathing is absolutely autonomous, the quality is not. When “stuff” happens, like stress, illness, and general unrest, our respiratory efficiency is negatively affected. That’s where yoga and Pilates come in. Breathing is the foundation of both of these mindful movement systems. To take this even further, one could say the breath is the underpinning and the constant in life. We take our first gasp for air when we are born. And, when we die, we exhale one last time. In between, we can cultivate this constant by improving its quality and characteristics, thus improving our lives, especially during hard and stressful times.

Here are some upcoming uplifting opportunities to curate the breath at Mind the Mat:

Beautiful woman doing breath exercises with an autumn background
Explore gentle ways to settle into the fall season. Essential Nature Fall Restorative & Yin Yoga with Hope, Saturday, November 19.

Learn how to improve alignment and heal back pain with yoga. Align Your Back with Miranda, Saturday, November 19.

Feel movement therapy invigorate you! Yogance with Tamara Levinson (@cuchira), Sunday, November 20.

Get through Turkey Day with a special workshop: 45 minutes of vigorous flow followed by 45 minutes of deep stretching. Power & Peace for Thanksgiving: Hot Flow / Deep Restore with Laura,Thursday, November 24.

Learn how your stress response works, and how to control it through movement and breath. Yoga for Stress Management, Saturday, December 10.

Check out our entire Workshop Schedule here!

deep meditation open mind

Destress and Heal with Free Classes & Meditation

Free Hot Slow Flow & Stretch Yoga with Meg, Sunday, November 13th at 1p More Info

Free Gentle Flow with Yoga Nidrawith Meg, Friday, November 18th at 7:30p More Info

Free Gentle Yoga with Sarah, Saturday, December 3rd and Sunday, December 11th at 1p More Info

Free Guided Meditation with Dana, Sundays at 8:30p — weekly! More Info


  • The latest from Megan
Megan Brown, physical therapist, Pilates instructor, mother and co-founder of Mind the Mat Pilates & Yoga in Alexandria, VA, likes to goof around. Yet her commitment to her students and her skill set in the field is no joke. After graduating from University of Virginia with a degree in Sports Medicine, Megan went on to receive her Masters in Physical Therapy and eventually her Doctorate in the profession. Although Pilates was never part of the plan, the method changed the way she treated patients, positively re-directed her career path and enhanced her own active lifestyle. Customized Pilates instruction is her specialty–she designs classes based on clients needs: athletes, new moms, rehabilitation or just for fun (why be serious all the time?). Pilates + Yoga is the best of both worlds, hence the creation of Mind the Mat studios providing classes for all—in every walk of life.

Mind the Mat Pilates & Yoga was founded in 2008 by Megan Brown, Doctor of Physical Therapy and Polestar Certified Practitioner of Pilates for Rehabilitation and Sara VanderGoot, Nationally Certified Massage Therapist and Registered Yoga Teacher (e-RYT 200, RYT 500). In their private practices as physical therapist and massage therapist respectively Megan and Sara observed that many of their clients were coming in with similar needs: relief for neck and shoulder tension and low back pain as well as a desire for more flexibility in hips and legs, stability in joints, and core strength.

Together Megan and Sara carefully crafted a curriculum of Pilates and yoga classes to address needs for clients who are pregnant, postpartum, have injuries or limitations, who are new to Pilates and yoga, and for those who are advanced students and are looking for an extra challenge.     

2214 Mount Vernon Avenue
Alexandria, VA 22301


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