I first fell in yoga 8 years ago when I fell out of love with myself. I was out of shape and in a slump. I had originally taken a yoga class with my mom as an act to shed some weight never guessing it would become a place where I could escape. It has been a constant in my life ever since. Yoga has been my therapist, my physical exercise, my mental exercise, my temple, my enemy, and my friend. I guess you could call me a yogi. I’ve always been a more spiritual person rather than a religious one.
When I became pregnant I realized the importance of yoga in my life. Sure, I had learned ujjayi breaths years ago but it wasn’t until childbirth when I witnessed firsthand, the power of the mind and breath. It has been such an adaptive practice. There was Vinyasa when I needed a sweat, Iyengar when I needed an alignment and Kundalini when I needed to refocus. It seemed like wherever I was in life, yoga was there to ground me. The education I learned from my practice over the years has gotten me through quite some feats; from planning a wedding to raising a child. I have been able to remain grounded (and sane) all thanks to my practice.
While I’m not able to make it to my mat as often as I’d like to lately I still find ways that I am able to incorporate yoga into my life. I have hung onto the mantra “Sat Nam” meaning truth is my name. I find myself repeating this over and over in my head when I need to drown out the outside world and find my breath. I’m overjoyed to see the outcome of a life lived positively through yoga. I’d like to think that my daughter, Hera, is as calm and happy as she is due to my practice – especially my prenatal practice. It fills me with such joy to see her smile. My mom recently bought her a BendiBaby yoga mat and while I’m sure her poses are purely instinctual, her ‘happy baby’, ‘baby cobra’ and the ever popular ‘savasana’ gives me a proud mama moment every time.
I’m going to digress for half a second; isn’t Instagram wonderful? It allows some pretty amazing people to come into your life that would normally never have crossed your path. I connected with Heather about a month ago when I saw her beautiful Mala Beads online. We got to talking and found out that we had quite a bit in common. Heather owns Mama Malas, an amazing line of gorgeous mala beads geared to inspire and remind mamas, like ourselves, to slow down and remain in the present. I used to find myself always looking towards the future. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but ever since I brought Hera into the world I’ve found myself clinging on to time. There is never enough of it. I always tear up a bit when I think to myself that a lifetime with Hera is simply not long enough.
Heather, herself, has had quite an amazing journey. When she was 22, she packed up her entire life and made the trek from Winnipeg to Calgary to live with a boy she had only been dating for five months. Everyone thought she was crazy but she knew in her gut that he was “the one”. She had been working as a stylist and one of her clients introduced her to energy healing and meditation. She was encouraged to listen to her “gut” and that’s exactly what she did. She said it’s the best decision she had ever made. It turns out that guy was “the one” and they were married three years later. They welcomed their son, Owen, into the world 2 years after that.
She, too, had been practicing yoga on and off for years; however, she became serious about it right before her wedding. She would often turn to yoga to deal with the stress of wedding planning and was blown away by the change in her attitude. She said, she “fully credits yoga for keeping [her] calm when the bridal salon tore [her] dress and [she] only had 2 weeks to find a replacement!” She also loves how her practice evolved with her through pregnancy and motherhood.
I had asked her what her favorite asana was and she said that after having a baby that pigeon had really helped her to feel light and amazing. Because women tend to hold a lot of tension in their hips, she thanks pigeon for helping her work through that. She finds it “freeing”. She does note that savasana is always where the real magic happens.
She tells me that, “One random day it hit [her] like a ton of bricks, how quickly Owen was growing up, and [she] wanted a tangible reminder to slow down and be present.” It’s so easy to multitask all day, and never give anything your full attention. She wanted to find a way to remind herself of her own spiritual journey; a reminder to take care of herself when she got lost in taking care of others. I couldn’t relate more to her if I tried. She tried wearing her large sandalwood Mala beads but she said they just didn’t feel right. She wanted something beautiful that would make her want to wear her reminder daily. She made herself a pair of Mala beads and added a healing stone to help keep her aligned with her goals. After receiving numerous compliments she started Mama Malas. Don’t fret if you’re not a mama yourself, anyone can wear and benefit from these stunning works of art. She focused on the needs of mamas because that’s where she was in her life and she found it so easy to forget about herself and her personal journey while taking care of her family.
Early this year, in January, she officially launched Mama Malas and Heather is quite the one-woman show. She does everything from designing and producing the malas to packaging and marketing. While it’s been a lot of work, she says it “has been the most rewarding experience and has introduced [her] to so many amazing and inspiring women.” While she does wear many hats she, by far, adores the design aspect the most. She finds that trusting her intuition always leads to the perfect combination of healing and beauty. When she told me of her plans to launch a new line of stackable bracelets in April I had to pick up my tongue off the floor.
She reminds her customers to trust their “gut” when choosing their malas and that their first instinct or “gut feeling” is usually the mala for them. She wears all of her malas but finds herself gravitating toward the Glowing Mama Mala and the Inspirational Mama Mala the most these days. She finds that they help remind herself to stay fully present whether she’s with her family or at work. Her goal for this year is to put an end to her multitasking. With her implementation of “office hours” she finds it easier to be fully present. She says she’s “so much happier on the days that [she's] not trying to multitask and to just let [herself] enjoy what [she's] doing while [she's] doing it.”
Heather gifted me with my own set of gorgeous Mama Malas; I trusted my gut and went with Glowing Mama Mala. It’s true what she says, not only is it beautiful but I find myself wanting to wear my daily reminder to be present. I love that the stones give meaning to me wearing it. Without sounding too cliche, I do feel empowered when I wear it. It may be the power of White Jasper or the fact that this gorgeous piece of art is the perfect accessory for anything from running errands to grabbing cocktails. I’d love to take a second to thank Heather, it’s like she has given me back time I would have otherwise lost from forgetting to be in the present.
Being the absolute sweetheart that Heather is, she is graciously spreading the love by gifting one of my lucky readers with their own Mama Mala. Check out Mama Malas to see which one best fits you! To enter this giveaway you must:
Follow Heather on Instagram | @mamamalas
Follow Me on Instagram (if you don’t already!) | @kimberhbrown
Repost my “Giveaway Photo” on Instagram with the hashtag #mamamalasgiveaway
*Please contact me if your Instagram is private. The giveaway closes on April 11th at midnight and the winner will be announce on April 12th. Spread the love!
Update. The giveaway is now closed. Thank you to all who entered and the winner is …