The path to making handmade organic cotton yoga mats

As we began to follow our dream to produce beautifully crafted, GOTS certified natural fiber mats in 2020 -- we experienced obstacles that threatened the success of our eco-mission.

During our quest to make artisan organic cotton yoga mats, we were reminded of teachings from the Hindu God, Lord Shiva. Stories from India's Hindu mythology and their deities are used to help yogis learn how to navigate through life's difficulties.

India's Hindu mythology often depicts Lord Shiva dancing within a circle of flames. The purpose of his story is to understand the cycle of life, from death to rebirth.

 Hindu's Lord Shiva depicted in a brass sculpture. He is dancing in the center, surrounded by a circle.

Hindu's Lord Shiva depicted in a brass sculpture. He is dancing in the center, surrounded by a circle.

Yoga poses (like Natarajasana or dancer's pose) are inspired by Shiva. Natarajasana trains the mind to breathe through the discomfort when the body is put in difficult positions. The practice is to learn to find serenity and peace even when experiencing life's struggles.

Yogi balancing on one foot with the other in the air behind her, practicing in a yoga pose called dancer's pose.
 

The purpose of practicing these difficult poses, as taught through Shiva, is to find connection. Connection to nature, to our truth, and to find the path to self-realization.

 

Finding the GOTS certified organic cotton farmer

When we decided to make yoga mats, our goal was to connect to where yoga began, in the city of Benares, India. We searched for an organic cotton farm where we could produce our yoga mats ethically and sustainably.

We wanted to create yoga mats that were made from natural materials and not from plastic or through a chemically treated process. Read more: How to choose a yoga mat

We found a GOTS certified organic cotton farmer who agreed to meet with us over a lime soda. After he heard our eco-mission and intention, an agreement was made, and one more lime soda later - we were thrilled to start production with our handmade organic cotton yoga mats.

Each mat takes 10 days to make with a skilled weaver. The weaver works with the mat from the beginning to the end. They are not exposed to chemicals that could be harmful to their health -- the entire production process is constructed to respect the health of the weaver and the yogi who practices on the mat.

After production began...just as the myth of Shiva that tells us he creates; it also warns us that part of the cycle is also darkness and destruction.

 

Production is stopped

COVID-19 (covid) spread to India and there was death and destruction everywhere. Production stopped. We weren't sure what would happen with our business and the livelihood of the weavers.

We had a policy of paying above the average local wage. Due to the circumstances and financial devastation the locals were facing -- we agreed to double the wage we were paying them. We also had to pay additional covid related costs to keep the production in business.

We believe in the Karma of our eco-mission. We support many families by employing the weavers and we also donate from every mat sale to the education of the children of our weavers. More than ever, we felt it was important to keep the mission going forward.

 

From darkness to light

This is the cycle that Shiva brings...just as he destroyed with darkness, it is part of the journey in life to continue to find the light.

After the darkness of the night is burned away by the warmth and promise of a rising sun, our new mats have experienced a rebirth, made with care and positive karma from the weavers we employed who could continue to support their families.

Yogi on a Fire (red/orange) organic cotton yoga mat doing a seated yoga pose in a cave. Our organic cotton yoga mats traveled through Shiva's cycle and arrived at the other side - a path of healing and helping yogis in their journey to healing and improving their mental and physical health.

Yogi on a Fire (red/orange) organic cotton yoga mat doing a seated yoga pose in a cave.

Our organic cotton yoga mats traveled through Shiva's cycle and arrived at the other side - a path of healing and helping yogis in their journey to healing and improving their mental and physical health.

Support our small business and eco-mission by shopping for your organic cotton yoga mat. Shop Yoga Mats.

In the poem by Ruth Peel:
"The source of all movement,
Shiva's dance,
Gives rhythm to the universe.
He dances in evil places,
In sacred,
He creates and preserves,
Destroys and releases.
We are part of this dance
This eternal rhythm,
And woe to us if, blinded
By illusions,
We detach ourselves
From the dancing cosmos,
This universal harmony…"

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