Thursday, May 28, 2015

MAKERS + MOVERS: YOKE


When I discovered YOKE a few months ago, my eyes glimmered over its clean, simple aesthetics + Ayurvedic apothecary. Their line is based off of the 5,000-year-old holistic healing science of India that is seasonally hand-blended with mantras, plant-derived, + infused with the five elements of nature: earth, water, fire, air, + ether. 

To say that I am an aficionada + devout practitioner of this line and particularly Ayurvedic medicine would be an understatement. Following Ayurvedic medicine has deepened my healing journey of autoimmune issues, provided bars for my extremely vata-dominant monkey mind to settle upon, + allowed me to trust my body's internal wisdom. Ayurveda a love story with your soul—what's your dosha, baby? 

This information will come in handy when I announce an exciting collaboration with YOKE on Friday. In the meantime, do hope on over to the website + peruse the beautiful selection of harmonising products they have to offer. I carry my Vata perfume oil with me at all times—it's on my bedside, then by my yoga mat, + in my purse. I roll it on + breathe its rosy scent in to expand my heart + beautify my vision. Some selections I suggest are the tibetan amber soap for its warming sandalwood scent, the walkabout candle—hello, moss, spruce, pine, and cedar with a hint of last night's campire!—and this handsome nohmad notebook.

And five percent of this incredibly luxurious leather wallet's profits goes to the Kula Project, which aids single mothers + widows of genocide in scaling their coffee production in Ruli, Rwanda. Conscious shopping . . .

TAMARA JONES, YOKE | byron bay, australia + venice, california
Q: Tell us a little bit about you and what inspired you to start your line.
Yoke evolved slowly over the years from a decade of teaching yoga, traveling the world for extended periods of time, moving deeper into my meditative practice, and falling in love with the countryside of my Australian farm life.


Q: What led you to Ayurveda—what do you find is so potent about it?
Ayurveda has been in my family for years. My father became well under the care of an Ayurveda doctor when I was a child, so I grew up with warm water and lemon at mealtime in my younger years, before I even understood where it came from. Decades later becoming a yoga teacher reintroduced us, but at that point it was just interesting and fun to contemplate my dosha.

Some years passed, and being completely burnt out from my corporate NYC life triggered a quest in me to re-evaluate the way in which I was living. This led me to Australia to teach yoga full-time and deepen my meditation and yoga studies.

As soon as I arrived in Australia I kept running past flyers for an Ayurveda college all over town on my early morning jogs – regardless of the different routes I would take. I noticed they kept emerging but neglected to do anything about it.

One day, a few months later, I got completely lost in a new part of town and had to ask for directions and accidentally ended up walking into an Ayurveda college clinic looking for a map. As fate would have it, the intro to Ayurveda course at the college began the week after my mediation studies ended, and they had one spot left.

I’m a huge believer in following the signs and this path had huge, fluorescent, flashing lights that I simply could not ignore. I always say that I found yoga but that Ayurveda found me -- and through Ayurveda I found my truest sense of self and calling. For me, Ayurveda is potent because it addresses the complete system for wellbeing: body, mind, environment, and spirit, simultaneously. The holistic platform spoke to me immediately, not only because it feels complete but also because its approach is rooted in self-care/healing and ultimately self-love.

Q: Do you have a ritual for making/applying your products?
In school we made all of our products after meditation and reciting the Gayatri mantra. I still follow this tradition and make my products in the early morning, just after meditation, and recite the Gayatrai before beginning (and often play it softly in the background during the process). I make all of our products when the moon is full or waxing and won’t make products if I don’t feel like I am in a connected state.


Q: How long did it take for you to craft your products to the state it is in now? Tell us about what that experience was like + the importance of small-batch sustainable crafting for you.
It’s been an ongoing process over the past three-four years. I’ve had the opportunity to work with several clients in my own practice and in the clinic in college, and these experiences have over-time informed formulations that are the backbone for the AA line currently.




Q: When you are not working on your line, what else do you like to do?
I’m either surfing (poorly), hiking in the canyons of Topanga (my second home), camping in the central coast of California, or teaching yoga in Venice.


Q: What keeps you going? What is your daily ritual or a mantra?
Being able to create for YOKE and celebrate the systems of well-being that I am honored to have learned through yoga, meditation and practicing Ayurveda is deeply self-sustaining. I wake up every day and get to live my dream and appreciation is endless.

My main mantras change as I grow I feel like, but one that always stays around is the mantra that “you are exactly where you are meant to be.” When I feel my Vata getting off-balance and wanting to do fifty things at once, in three different places, I use this to keep myself in check as a reminder that I don’t need to do more or be more than I already am.


Q: What are some of your favourite snacks or foods that fuel your creative process?
Papaya is endless fuel and chai is consistently boiling at my house…


I also rely on herbal teas throughout the day with whatever I need to get into my system. Each season varies, but I typically drink 4-6cups of tulsi, fennel and ajwain tea with a lot of jaggery (for Vata). I also drink about 4-6 glasses of water, with pomegranate juice and a pinch of black salt to make sure I get all the minerals I need to keep me going when I am making a large order of products, or have tight-timelines.




Q: What are your three staples for glowing health?
I can’t live without sunshine, meditation and laughter // 
From an herbal/formulation standpoint: Brahmi, Triphala, and Chyawanprash…If I could name 4, Neem would be next in line.

Q: What do you do or use to keep your skin beautiful? What is your beauty routine?
My beauty routine begins with my digestion and my state of mind. I know, I know, SO Ayurveda. But it’s true, health and beauty really begins with our bodies’ ability to assimilate, eliminate and reconcile the relationships and choices we’ve made in our life.

My routine is meditation, forgiveness, appreciation, herbal abhyanga, seasonal food and permission to have the space and time to do these with complete presence. 


Gifting myself the time to nurture is basically the backbone of my beauty routine. I could eat the best food, and use the cleanest products, but without an easeful state of mind it would be an incomplete picture. Have you ever noticed how happy people always look so healthy!?!

Q: What are your go-to products in your holistic medicine cabinet?
My kitchen cabinet is my medicine cabinet and depending on the season, and where in the world I am living, there will always be a healthy mix of herbs and seeds supporting all six tastes in Ayurveda (sweet, sour, salty, bitter, astringent, pungent).

There is always a lot of Cardamom, Ajwain, Tulsi, Turmeric, Coriander, Ginger, Pippali, Neem, Shatavari, Ghee, Jaggery and Besean Flower (so I can make a medicinal paste with whatever herbs are needed).


Q: What is your next big vision for YOKE?
We have so much happening right now that my vision is really to continue to connect with likeminded people who are resonating with our products, creations, and platform in its current inception. I think that somewhere from this current flurry of co-creation the next phase will present itself…and as long as the signs are huge, fluorescent, and flashing -- I promise to heed its calling!