Mind the Mat’s Je Ne Sais Quoi

A few weeks back, my business partner Megan Brown wrote a post on the community at Mind the Mat and the feeling you get when you walk through the doors here.  She called it 1 part party and 2 parts peace.  Or the jester and the lover.  In essence, we have fun and we care a lot.

I remembered what Megan had written because yesterday I was at Mind the Mat and a client began to talk to me openly. This is what she said: “It feels like home to me here. Everyone is so welcoming.  I tried a different studio for a few weeks because the class time and type worked better for me, but I came back, because I love it here.”

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This same client told me that she had come to Mind the Mat as a Pilates student but recently started practicing yoga.  She said, “I feel like when I practice yoga here, I can just be myself.  I don’t have to be ashamed or compare myself to anyone else.  I feel accepted.”

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It was not the first time I had heard these same sentiments from a client, so I sat back and really let her words sink in.


The more I let it sink in, the more I realized how huge what she was saying is.  In that moment I felt more successful than I have ever felt before.  That is what we all want — a place that feels like home.  I am so thankful that my client shared her feelings with me because it motivates me to cherish, protect, and build upon the values she named.  I am also am thankful because I wanted to tell her that Mind the Mat is that way because people like her walk through the doors.  People like her create Mind the Mat.  It might sound strange coming from an owner, but I want to say, it’s an honor to be part of it all.

  • The latest from Sara
co-owner, CMT, e-RYT 200, RYT 500 | Mind the Mat
Sara VanderGoot, CMT, e-RYT 200, RYT 500, is Co-founder of Mind the Mat Pilates and Yoga and Director of Mind the Mat Yoga Alliance certified teacher training program. Sara is an experienced Registered Yoga instructor with Yoga Alliance. She studied Interdisciplinary Yoga with Don and Amba Stapleton in Nosara, Costa Rica and at Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health. Sara is Nationally Certified in Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork, licensed by the Virginia Board of Nursing. Sara has been practicing massage therapy, including specialties Prenatal Massage, Postpartum Massage, Deep Tissue Massage and Thai Yoga Massage, in Del Ray, Alexandria for over 15 years and a yoga instructor for 7 years. At Mind the Mat she specializes in Prenatal Yoga, Postpartum Core Yoga, Mommy and Me Core Yoga, Partners Yoga, and Hot Flow Yoga. Sara frequently acts as a birth companion for many of her clients, doing massage and yoga during labor and delivery to facilitate comfort during both medicated and unmedicated births. Before becoming a massage therapist and yoga instructor, she was a lawyer in the Washington D.C. area and found that the healing practices of massage and yoga brought a balance to her life that she had been searching for.

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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