Amanda has created the ultimate one-stop-shop for yogis . A carefully curated collection of sustainable yoga apparel and accessories from around the globe. We chat to Amanda about the importance of investing in yoga accessories that reflect the values of yoga and how she practices mindfulness on-and-off the mat.
1. Everyone’s yoga journey is so unique – can you tell us about how you found yoga?
I am not sure I found yoga, I think it kept coming to me and nudging me. My mother was a yoga teacher in Vanuatu, and we used to just tag along to the classes. At Uni I took classes here and there, I felt the pull but could not yet commit. It wasn’t until I found myself in a very low point in my marriage and with young children that I really rediscovered yoga which then lead me to teacher training in the US about 10 years ago. Since my teacher training, I have practiced yoga daily. The physical practice came first, but I think that meditation might have had the most profound impact on me.
2. What inspired you to create Yogi Spirit?
I was inspired to create Yogi Spirit mostly because I wanted to buy clothing for my own practice and could not find what I was looking for. I was looking for clothing that reflected my values, that looked beautiful and was comfortable during practice. Once I started looking, I soon realised how many designers were not represented here in Australia. For a long time, it seemed that Lululemon was the only yoga brand but now there are so many gorgeous brands for both men and women. It is not about selling leggings; it is a whole lifestyle and the paradigm shift that comes with being inspired to take up a yogic lifestyle
3. Yogi Spirit stocks an array of inspiring sustainable and ethical yoga brands - what do you look for in the brands you stock?
I am really careful when looking for new brands. I select brands that have the core values that are inherent in a yoga lifestyle, this often means that the creators are themselves yoga teachers or yoga practitioners. The designers are conscious of the impact of the fashion industry on the environment and are making an effort to minimize this impact. They also care about the people actually making the products. The brands often also actively contribute to charities or help local communities. Then aside from the brands reflecting these core values I also feel that they have the philosophy of yoga integrated into the design and branding of their products.
4. Why is it important for yoga accessories to be sustainable?
It is important for yoga accessories and all yoga products to be sustainable in some way as they need to reflect the core values of a yoga life.
5. “Sustainability” is a multifaceted concept – what exactly does it mean to you?
Sustainability is a multifaceted concept and is very much at the forefront of everyone’s mind. It can be very emotive concept too. For me it means that there is understanding that we can’t ignore the ecological difficulties we are facing and that there are solutions that can change our future. It is about finding balance, a balance that we also crave in our lives. I also feel that sometimes it is about all the little choices that we make that will make a difference, we don’t have to wait for the one large step. It is like my yoga practice in the morning, sometimes I only have 5 minutes, but I still do it, because it still makes a difference.
6. How do you incorporate sustainability into other aspects of your life outside of yoga?
Outside of yoga, it is very much about being conscious of the decisions I make in what I choose to buy and use. It is about choosing conscious over convenience. I home-school my sons, so we have a lot of discussions about issues surrounding sustainability, we watch documentaries about the environment and the impact we are having on it. So, it is about awareness and education. And this affects what we eat, put on our skin, listen to and what we buy.
7. What would be the perfect starter kit for someone new to yoga?
The perfect starter kit, aside from clothing, would be a yoga mat, a strap and a meditation blanket. The type of yoga mat to buy really depends on the yoga style which is why stock different types. A yoga strap such as the Akasha Yoga strap is great for carrying a mat but is also valuable to help move into poses with ease. I have found that having props such as a meditation blanket facilitates my practice at home.
8. What are some of your favourite yoga resources?
Some of my favourite resources are; Yogaglo’s online yoga classes, the meditation app Insight Timer, and the Tara Brach and Sounds True Podcasts. In the real world I like to read yoga magazines such as Yoga Journal, Mantra Wellness magazine and Dumbo Feather. There are so many great books in the yoga genre, and I do mostly read non-fiction, Light on Life and Light on Pranayama by B.K.S. Iyengar were the first yoga books I read.
9. What does your yoga practice look like right now?
I practice yoga and meditation every morning, it used to be a more intense physical practice, but now I really listen to how I am feeling and accept that sometimes it is a restorative or yin practice and sometimes meditation and pranayama take up most of the time I have. I also take time to journal usually before my practice, and I have found journaling to be really beneficial for becoming aware and shifting emotions and patterns.
10. What does it mean to be conscious on and off the mat?
Being conscious on the mat is about bringing the breath and the mind into the practice and being fully aware of the physical body during the practice. Off the mat, it is about bringing the teachings and awareness developed during practice, into every aspect of my life. This has been so important for me as a single mother of teenage boys. But it has an impact on every aspect of my life. I have just been on Freediving course and holding your breath and going deep is so affected by your mental chatter! It is a continual practice to bring the yogic principles into our every day.