Last New Year’s Day, I woke up at 7am with a goal in mind. “This is the year you are going to take your health more seriously.”
After moving to Los Angeles four months prior and finally getting a little more acclimated with my new surroundings, this declaration meant actually finding getting my butt in that El Segundo yogo studio I had been eyeing for months. I needed the push and the balance these classes could give me. So I went to my first Kundalini class, which according to Gaia.com, is “a blend of Bhakti Yoga (the yogic practice of devotion and chanting), Raja Yoga (the practice of mediation/mental and physical control) and Shakti Yoga, (for the expression of power and energy.”
It was pretty amazing.
There wasn’t a lot of twisty poses or tons of flowy movement, but something about the small turns, breathing and words of encouragement, made me feel like I had just left church and received a serious word! It left me with a sense of fulfillment, joy and even excitement about what my year could bring if I had the will and discipline to walk in my purpose. Since then, for over a year, I’ve been going to range of classes—Hatha, Barre, Weekend Warrior and My yo-box class—pretty consistently. With my side-kick by my side—my Gaia yoga mat — I’m stronger, leaner and more focused.
So when I saw a story about these two Black sisters making yoga mats with Black women on them, of course, it made my heart flutter. Enter: Toned By BaggedEm.
The mats, which range from $60 to $80 (which is pretty standard for a high-quality mat) feature three different mats with amazing imagery of Black women with different shades and hair textures getting their pose-on. In terms of thickness, they also come in three millimeters or five-millimeters, are eco-friendly materials and can take even the hottest Bikram class (hot yoga).
Take a look:
The company’s owners, two sistas’ who are actually sisters in real-life, Julia and Cornelia Gibson, started the company with a $2,000 Kickstarter campaign, taking their own personal “fitness journey to shape the brand, expressing the challenges of maintaining a healthy weight,” Black Enterprise reported.
The duo recently told POPSUGAR that they created their first set of mats for Black yogis to be able to see themselves.
“We started with images of Black women because that is whose journeys we most closely relate to, but our goal is to provide representation for all people,” they said, adding, “Our goal is to provide visual affirmations that remind people that they are not alone in their health journeys.”
Here are a group of Black women using their mats for class:
Representation matters in every facet and in every space!
Yes, I love my studio and it has helped change my whole quality of life, but I am always one of few Black women in the class, and outside of my “Melanin” and “Black girl nutritional” tanks I rock, this mat would be an awesome addition. But most importantly, it reminds me that I am not alone in finding my Zen.