Yogastra – For the Conscious Yogi
Anupam Mukerji, the founder of Yogastra can easily be called an urban yogi. He’s a digital marketing professional turned yoga practitioner who now focuses on creating the perfect yoga experience for people through his line of products.
Mukerji was running a digital marketing solutions agency in Bangalore which catered to the likes of Star Sports and Microsoft when he started practicing yoga. “Once I got into it I noticed a lot of changes within me, outside me and in how I viewed the world. In a couple of years I realized that whatever I was doing to earn a living wasn’t worth it. It wasn’t who I was anymore”, says Mukerji. In his search for a business and livelihood that was in some way connected to Yoga, Mukerji shut his company and travelled to the Himalayas, Ladakh and Rishikesh. With the thought of working on some kind of yoga product in the back of his mind, he serendipitously got in touch with people who were already working in this space. Their wave lengths matched and Yogastra was born.
Yogastra is a combination of two word: Yoga and Astra (instrument or tool in Hindi). And that’s what the vision behind the product is; to provide people with the instruments of yoga.
The aim of Yogastra is to provide a healthy and clean breathing experience while practicing yoga. The brand’s most popular product is the Yogastra Mat which is essentially a yoga mat but vastly different from what you get off the shelves. These mats are hand-woven organic cotton mats and the colours used in the mats come from Ayurvedic herbs. The idea behind these mats is that they provide the cleanest breathing experience during yoga and amplify its benefits for your body, mind and spirit. “Anybody who does yoga knows that breathing is the most important aspect of the physical asana practise. As a yoga practitioner myself, I used to find it ironical that we would practice yoga on a rubber mat, breathing in all the PVCs and chemicals it’s treated with. I was looking for an alternative for my own practice and I found that the cotton rugs weren’t too good because they tend to slip, tear etc”, says Mukerji. The Yogastra mats have a natural rubber mesh on the underside which provides a good floor grip which is essential especially for dynamic yoga such as Ashtanga Yoga. There are ribs too for better hands and feet grip. “It’s a product that’s taken three years to evolve to this level of functional stability”, he adds.
The Yogastra mat comes in three variants: ‘Vasantha’ which is dyed in turmeric, neem and tulsi, ‘Godhuli’ which is dyed in vetiver, pomegranate shells and turmeric and ‘Kumkum’ which is dyed in vetiver, triphala and red sandalwood. In each of the herbal combinations, there’s one strong antiseptic herb like turmeric, neem and triphala which keep the mats clean. So even if you sweat the herbs will kill the germs. However, the mats are washable and you can either hand-wash or machine-wash them using organic or gentle detergent. But it’s advisable to not dry the mat under the sun as it causes the turmeric and vetiver to fade. Drying the mats in a shaded area is recommended.
Apart from Yogastra mats, the brand also makes meditation mats, eye pillows filled with aromatic and soothing herbs, eye masks and towels. All of them are organic and use Ayurvedic herbs. “Over the last eleven months that we’ve been around, we’ve sort of covered the yoga space and are now moving towards yoga lifestyle space. We’re trying to provide clean, ethical, hygienic products for people who want to live more consciously and with more awareness”, says Mukerji when asked about his future plans for Yogastra.
Yogastra products are available online on www.yogastra.com and are shipped all over the world.