Yoga Mate, established by myself (Jordan Soenen) and my lovely Thai native wife, Ninkky Wongsuntorn in August 2018 in Calgary, Alberta. Foremost as I’m certain you’re wondering, Yoga Mate means yoga friend. As in your best friend in yoga. I’m sure you can agree Yoga Mate rolls off the tongue better.
Our origin story opens as most do from pain, in our backs. As avid yoga lovers, we had just wrapped up a wonderful flow class. On our way home in a yoga haze* Ninkky must have felt out loud, “Those blocks were super uncomfortable and why did we need to switch props 3 times”? I snapped out of my haze and admitted, “It was distracting and my back pinched”. Ninkky suggested that we should order Mon Khit* pillows for ourselves from Thailand. The same ones we used as 3-in-1 props at the yoga studios over there. Being the good husband that I am, I agreed. The following day Ninkky attempted to find these pillows online in Canada with no luck, so she went straight to the source. A Northern Thai manufacturer online and we ordered our 3 favourite colours. After arriving and practicing with them for a month, we were in love. That is why, as I do with something new, I googled Mon Khit pillows and it surprised me to learn that what appeared to be an ordinary bolster had a rich past. Buddhist Monks had been using these things for hundreds of years for meditation and sleep (or as we yogis call it savasana). Men traditionally present these to their future wives’ families as a dowry. Not to mention that their filling is 100% organic kapok* and their manufacturing is a craft. Every facet of the design made by hand. Last, OTOP a Thai government coalition created these manufacturing facilities to create jobs for very poor regions in Thailand. “What a great product, why is this not a thing in Canada?” I said aloud. Ninkky agreed, and we decided that we should build a sustainable brand and bring this line of props to Canada. The coming week during a sunny picnic in Chain Lakes, Alberta Yoga Mate was born, and the rest is history.
Ninkky and I love yoga life, and so we promise to offer comfortable premium quality products. We will give back because we LOVE nature and animals. That’s why for every purchase we will give back to the elephant sanctuaries of northern Thailand to help protect these gentle giants.
Thank you for your love and support yogi family!
Jordan and Ninkky
Yoga Mate Lingo:
Kapok: *Kapok is a hypoallergenic cotton-like pod that grows on giant trees in southeast Asia and is the pillow stuffing.
Yoga Haze: *that hazy feeling you get after working your ass off in yoga class.
Mon Khit: A handmade pillow design technique used in Northern Thailand for traditional Buddhist temples for hundreds of years. Adopted by almost all yoga studios in Thailand as an all in one prop.