Yogascapes Spotlight: Priti
July 24, 2014
Q: What is the inspiration behind PRITI?
One day during yoga class I thought: “What’s with these itchy, acrylic Mexican horse saddle blankets?!” I couldn’t figure out their relationship to the yoga experience! I’ve practiced Iyengar for over 15 years and fell in love with India’s culture and people. As a creative director, it’s my job to develop brands and new products for clients and solve problems. Those blankets were a yoga prop that made me wonder where India was represented. I saw this as a problem and decided to do something about it.
The most important thing I learned after a year of discovering and developing products and exploring yoga in India and America, is how things become “lost in translation.” B.K.S. Iyengar (Guruji) originated and incorporated the use of yoga props when two scooter accidents dislocated his spine. He created props to allow disabled people to continue to benefit from the practice. Eventually, B.K.S. Iyengar introduced props into the modern practice of yoga to allow everyone access to the benefits of the postures. Props encourage students, bolster confidence, and create optimal body alignment.
I researched and interviewed US yoga teachers while creating PRITI and learned that their students are overachieving. With our fast-paced lifestyles and the tendency to compete and strive— some students tend to push their bodies too hard. (Ironically, the first Yama, Ahimsa, is translated as “nonviolence, or non-harm.”) I was inspired by the notion of creating new and better tools to allow students to experience the postures more profoundly— regardless of age, level of study or physical condition.
I also fell in love with Indian Khadi. Known as “The Freedom Fabric,” Khadi is a gorgeous handspun, hand-
The PRITI Collection began with “The Art of Folding” cotton woven yoga blanket, designed with embroidered color-coded folding lines to educate folding techniques, represents the practice and India’s people. We then created a completely new quilted yoga blanket design we call “The Cloud Nine.” As we evolve we’ll continue to design products that are natural, functional and multi-dimensional. We want to make goods that provide transparency between work, practice and play. So far we’ve heard that our blankets are being used in yoga studios and in beds and on couches!
Our goal is to enrich lives and give back in the process. These pieces are sustainable, responsible and reciprocal. They’re created by the people who live where the practice of yoga comes from and benefits those people directly. It’s our belief that yoga gear, wear and goods can be as enlightened as those who practice yoga strive to be themselves.
Q: How do your yoga products create sustainable, responsible and practical standards?
PRITI fabrics are primarily woven under the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS. ) This is a textile certification for the processing of fibers from certified organic agriculture. We seek handmade cotton khadi and raw silks that are minimally dyed/colored using Azo-free dyes— vegetable dyes that do not split off aromatic amines. Aromatic amines are a class of chemical byproducts in the plastic and chemical industries. They’re created by the manufacturing of polyurethane foams, dyes, pesticides, pharmaceuticals and semiconductors. They’re also found in environmental pollution. As you might imagine, many aromatic amines have proven to be carcinogenic.
I was fortunate enough to locate a talented (and patient) weaver who is devoted to manufacturing eco-sustainable textiles. This helped spur our commitment to partnering with individual artisans and companies that offer proper wages and work ethics to everyone involved in the production process. Currently our focus lies in the southern region in Tamil Nadu where there is a dedicated green movement. We’re sourcing new product from Auroville, an experimental township. The urban area of this city is surrounded by a Green Belt, an environment research and resource area that includes farms, forestries, a botanical garden, a seed bank, medicinal and herbal plants and water catchment bunds.
We are wholeheartedly dedicated to avoiding any GMO seeded cotton. PRITI always seeks to educate consumers about and support India’s precious farmers who are currently in a GMO pesticide crisis. Approximately 270,000 farmers have committed suicide since Monsanto entered the Indian seed market and destroyed their livelihoods.
Additionally, we give comfort to those in need through our donation program, “Sharing the Warmth.” This effort supports the homeless in shelters and soup kitchens throughout the US. Since the launch of the program in late 2013, $1,000 in blankets has been donated to the New York City Rescue Mission and St. Luke’s Shelter in New Jersey to support their new Tai Chi/yoga program. We are also creating a program with our weavers to donate blankets to the colder regions of Northern India.
Q: How can the community support your cause?
Be informed about the threat of GMO seeded cotton and its affect on our planet. The environmental leader and activist Dr. Vandana Shiva has a program called “Seeds of Freedom, Fibres of Freedom” which encourages alternative globalization movements and sustainable living.
Support your local homeless shelters and soup kitchens. If you would like to donate a blanket, PRITI will match your donation, one for one. Contact us here: firstname.lastname@example.org
In the on-going quest to bring balance to our lives, we shouldn’t have to alter the balance of someone else’s life or our environment.