Nimble Insider | AKASHA
Nimble Insider | AKASHA
Meet the makers of the chicest yoga accessories, Luke Della Santa and Emily Klein. Creating unique yoga accessories 100% handcrafted and hand selected in local markets in Guatemala, each design completely original. We got to speak to Emily all about their amazing brand AKASHA, yoga, and healthy living.
What motivated you to start AKASHA?
Luke and I left Sydney over two years ago to explore the world and found ourselves captivated by a small idyllic village in Guatemala, located on the shores of Lake Atitlan. It’s a very spiritual place and we found ourselves deeply exploring our connection to yoga, through regular yoga practice, mediation and many of the workshops offered in town.
With my background in design and Luke’s natural eye for beauty and craftsmanship, we had long been admiring the ancient Mayan weaving techniques of the region and really wanted to honor and preserve this vanishing art form. Not only that, but we became integral members of the community we lived in, volunteering at a local nutrition center, where it became intensely clear, the endless struggles that many Guatemalans face everyday. We became passionate about supporting this community, our friends, in a sustainable way and bringing awareness to the importance of conscious shopping, back home.
So all of these elements came together, as if the stars were aligned! We hired a local women’s co-operative of around four women, a screen printer, a photographer’s assistant, two tailors, and two washerwomen, not to mention all of the amazing women who we bought the vintage straps from every week at the market. Our dream is for the business to succeed so that we can hire these incredibly skilled people on a permanent basis.
Weaving is a way for Guatemalan’s to celebrate their culture and express their identity and we’re so honoured to be able to share this unique beauty with the world.
What do you love most about your job?
We love the hustle and bustle of the local markets, searching out each unique “faja” (strap) designs – it’s like a giant endless treasure hunt! Building relationships and getting to know the artisans is also a huge perk. Knowing that we’re helping to support the indigenous community is one of the main reasons that we got into this business, so it’s rewarding to see the empowerment the artisans feel, being part of the AKASHA story. And of course working beside your best friend, watching something that you built together grow and succeed is pretty amazing.
AKASHA is built on the philosophy of creating space in your mind, body and soul. How do you create space in your mind, body and soul?
Through regular yoga practice we create space within our body, promoting energy flow and simply helping us to move through our everyday tasks with ease. We create space within our minds, by focusing on breath, exhaling the clutter of everyday thoughts and inhaling calm and stillness to the mind. And by incorporating meditation into our daily rituals we create space within our souls, becoming one with the universe.
Personally I find that my regular yoga practice brings me so much joy and really helps with my overall health and wellbeing. And breath for me, is so important – something that I’ve discovered recently. It’s simple, yet most of us don’t give much thought to this simple act. Becoming mindful of our breath, especially in difficult situations is an incredible tool. Meditation for me doesn’t always happen in the typical cross-legged-mantra-sense. For me, meditation can take place while I’m hiking in the bush, or while I’m sketching. Everyone is unique and you just have to find what works best for you.
Image Source: Instagram/akasha.yoga.pieces/
What does healthy living mean to you?
To me, healthy living is all about honoring the self. Being aware in the present moment, and taking time to reflect and tune-in to what your soul needs. Feeding your body with nutrient-rich foods, making time to do the things you love, and filling your mind with kind thoughts, not just for others but for yourself also.
In the end though, we’re all just human, so if my body is telling me it needs that piece of chocolate, or that it needs a night vegging-out on the couch instead of going to the gym, then I don’t beat myself up about it. I just try my best to be the best version of myself.
What are some ways we can use our AKASHA yoga straps?
Well apart from looking stylin’, transporting your mat to-and-from class, they’re a fantastic way to enhance your practice, regardless of what level you’re at. It’s a common misconception that yoga props are only for beginners but they’re really a fantastic way to deepen your stretches and ensure correct alignment in your poses.
I’ve been practicing for over five years and I love incorporating a strap into my practice in poses such as the standing side leg pose, dancers pose, boat pose and my favorite; king pigeon pose (that was sarcastic!). For Luke who is quite tight in the hips, it’s a fantastic aid for him in forward bends and hamstring stretches, and getting into tricky binds.
What’s coming up next for AKASHA?
We’re excitedly planning our next trip back to Guatemala later in the year, to source more unique hand-woven straps. We’re also in the process of expanding our range to include a variety of ethical yoga accessories focused around the beautiful Mayan weavings of Guatemala.
You can shop various styles of the AKASHA range in our Bondi Beach boutique store. To see the full AKASHA range click here.