The mat of the moment has been on my mind a lot recently. Moving my mind and body through the practice of yoga doesn’t get much better when there is a beautiful piece of artwork under my feet or for that matter my head. Sophie Leininger, the brains and beautiful hand behind Magic Carpet Yoga Mats tells us more about her roots and where the brand comes from. Sophie is an Oakland, CA based artist with a background in painting from Mills College. Graduating in the middle of the recession Sophie found herself working 5 part time jobs and struggling to make a living wage. In hopes to calm her anxious mind she dove into her practice of yoga at home. She tells us:
“One evening during a sunset yoga practice, I saw the patterns of my rug blend with the mat beneath my feet. I moved into warrior two and thought, “what if this carpet design WAS my mat???” In my yoga-clear mind and heart I felt affirmed that this idea was a good one and further compelled to someday manifest this vision. A year later with more time and resources available, I began to put feelers out and plant seeds. I immediately found it to be a rather large undertaking and became even more obsessed with seeing the mats MADE and available for use. “
Sophie is an inspiration and shows us what it is to put your heart fully behind your practice combining two passions, which is a lot like what we do here at ZAELIE. MCYM makes me more excited about my practice and excites me that other women are making it big by not only creating beautiful artwork but also doing what they love.
Sophie says: “Art is such an amazing portal into the sublime! Art offers perspectives and access to feelings that are both beyond the physical realm and totally of this world. What’s better than that?”
The brand continues to grow as you may have seen them on some of your favorite websites and stores. Their goal is to elevate yoga practice into a consideration of aesthetics and space. "This offers audiences objects that ignite intimate access into their own emotions and consciousness."
You may have seen MCYM mats at Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie , Refinery 29, Design Sponge and upon top yoga mat lists all over. The brand is taking off.
Why Yoga Mats?
“In yoga, people may interface with my designs both in their minds and with their bodies. Users are taking in aesthetics with physical movement, a total synthesis of body and mind.”
How does sustainability come into the picture?
“All of our mats are non-toxic, phthalate-free, latex-free, and printed with sustainable UV-cured inks. Additionally, the mats are made in California, USA! “
Does activism come into play with your brand?
“Not directly, however, our company strives to operate as locally and sustainably as possible. Our products also serve to empower all bodies, and this at times can be a radical act.
"I began Magic Carpet Yoga Mats at a very difficult point in my life. The endeavor of starting a project like this, building a company from the ground up, the vibrancy, rich history, and mystical powers of traditional textile designs, and the beautiful practices our mats get to be a part of, EMPOWER me to my fullest!"
- Sophie Leininger