“There was a problem,” declared Carla Berkowitz, president and founder of Perfect Balance World, a clothing line for yogis of all levels. “I was noticing that no matter how basic you are or how far advanced you are in your practice, there are certain poses that you get so sweaty you either lift your pants up and put your foot on your leg or you don’t do that and you slip or you slip anyway when you do that – so it’s just after years of teaching it just one day hit me, ‘oh, wait a minute, what if I decided to build in the balance?’ There has never been a disruptor category for leggings. There’s nothing new ever. The only new legging is the new crazy print that someone found.”
Partnering with an engineer, a physicist, a chiropractor and a master yogi, Berkowitz set out to solve this problem she could hardly believe no one had tackled before. Over and over again they worked on their design to “build the balance” into the clothing.
“I’m the type of person who likes to launch ideas,” explained Berkowitz as she revealed that she has owned the name “Perfect Balance” since 1991 when she created the Perfect Balance workout, always knowing one day it would be put to use in a greater fashion.
Little did she know it would actually be used for fashion – and athleticism.
“It’s a physics-based yoga brand which takes into consideration your body, the angles and the fact that it’s an equation that needs to be dealt with properly in order to not use brute force when you’re practicing yoga,” said Berkowitz. “So when falling out of a pose in no longer an option, amazing things can happen.”
With Perfect Balance World clothing, Berkowitz has created, as she claims, a “yoga instructor in your pants,” as the pieces in her collections have specific foot and body markers that takes the place of instruction and creates muscle memory. With her PB foot markers, Berkowitz is intent that she is taking all the guesswork out of yoga poses, as anyone wearing her clothes will always know where to position themselves and in turn, learn what those poses feel like, memorizing and knowing when they are not aligned.
Described as “dark, sophisticated” and without color, Perfect Balance clothing is taking off and looking to extend into new categories such as maternity wear, a kids’ line (that Berkowitz said needs “more balance that is better and smarter”), a men’s line, one for seniors and even wetsuits.
But before the success came several years of trial and error to get the “science” just right.
“I didn’t really need to sell people on this idea,” Berkowitz said. “It was the kind of thing where people would like, hit themselves on the forehead and go, ‘Oh my God!’”
While it was easy for Berkowitz to find those who agreed that there was a market for her idea, what she couldn’t convince them of, however, was that it actually could be done. After all, how do you put balance into clothing?
“I was met with ‘You cannot take the inseam out of a pair of leggings and put it on the outside of the thigh’ and I’m like, ‘You can’t but I can,’” Berkowitz said.
It was after a year of searching when Berkowitz finally found someone who would, as she put it, “indulge” her and make the design she had put together.
“We then gave away 250 pairs to the first 250 people that signed up for yoga and we gave everything away. It was an unscientific, scientific study,” said Berkowitz. “That was my first proof that this concept has a life.”
After that Berkowitz ran forward acquiring funding and gave samples to customers at her yoga studio to create a buzz. One such customer proved to be a shift in momentum for the brand as she was a Breast Cancer survivor who felt she could no longer practice yoga after having her lymph nodes removed, which made it difficult to have much feeling under her arms.
“She didn’t practice for years until she got a hold of the top, the Perfect Balance top, and because of the landmark, her knee was able to feel — something — and she started crying and it was crazy,” Berkowitz said. “So she did a whole Instagram challenge with Perfect Balance and all of her survivor friends are now back to practicing. It’s really quite amazing.”
This woman’s story further demonstrated what Berkowitz had already felt about this line of clothing, that it went beyond yoga practice.
“I want this brand to almost to take away the stigma of using, whether it’s props for yoga or the wall — that it’s not always about brute force and balance and that it’s ok to get help — even if you have to wear your balance,” said Berkowitz. “Everybody could use more balance.”