When searching for creative inspo, it’s SO tempting to immediately reach for your phone. You can spend hours scrolling through PSL hair, Snapchats from your far away BFFs and let’s not even get started on Pinterest. But believe it or not, all those pretty pixels could actually be BLOCKING your next big creative breakthrough. In fact, you may actually find exactly that you need when you turn off and tune into a whole different kind of connection. In the case of Sophie Leininger, the owner of a hand-painted line of yoga mats, it was during these moments of stillness where she discovered her big a-ha idea and created the blueprint for the business of her dreams.
According to Tara Stiles, Stala yoga founder and author of Make Your Own Rules cookbook, “Practice on the mat is time for you to tune in, dissolve tension and create space for yourself. It’s a vacation from linear tasks and a dive into moving easily, everything you’ve got, in every direction you can. The process of expanding your comfort zone, opens up challenges to be easy, and fresh energy and ideas to rush in.”
“I got the inspiration for my company, Magic Carpet Yoga Mats while doing a flow practice at home by candlelight during the great recession,” says the Bay Area-based artist. “I had just graduated from college and was working five part time jobs to afford my room in a rough neighborhood. To comfort my soul and save money, I would do yoga at home. My boring purple mat was on top of my carpet, which was an heirloom, and I thought: this doesn’t make sense! My mat should be as beautiful as this handmade masterpiece! And what’s more is I want to spend my time making it look like that!”
Leininger got right to work turning her vision into a reality. “I started doing lots of reaching and learning about carpet production around the world. I wanted to learn the story of each carpet’s tradition, how the makers use their craft to represent the spiritual in an object suited for daily life, and then repurpose this for yogis to use as the sacred talisman that connects them to the divine through their practice.”
The mats are all hand-painted and take inspiration from places (Hawaii, Tunisia and France) that Sophie and her fam have lived.
Next up: yoga mats to inspire the next generation of makers, entrepreneurs and visionaries. Magic Carpet Yoga Mat has introduced two styles: Young Yogi (for kids under eight years old) and Happy Baby (best for children under nine months) yoga mats so kids finally have a mat that matches their size and creativity.
With so many recent studies proving the value of yoga for not only special needs children, but also to help kids focus in a super overstimulating world it only made sense to tailor the line for these pint-sized yogis.
“Yoga connects us to our breath, and to our inner truth, which babies feel innately,” says Leininger. “I believe that introducing yoga early on can help kids become better balanced, emotionally intelligent adults. I also think doing yoga with kids can help families bond by giving them tools to work through complicated issues and feelings, as well as connect them through touch in partner or post natal yoga.”
Have you ever been inspired after a great yoga class? Leave your stories in the comment section below!