Must Have: Cork Yoga Mats + The Samadhi Initiative

I’m so excited to finally share my latest discovery and current obsession, the cork yoga mat by The Samadhi Initiative. Read on to learn more about why I love my mat. If you are inclined to buy one, use my code ‘lovezahra’ for 15% off of your purchase!

First off, a little background, the Samadhi Initiative is a line of eco-friendly yoga mats and accessories, created by a passionate yoga teacher searching for better products to use and improve her own practice. The mats are completely customizable with your own personal mantra or favorite images that will enhance your practice. Whether you are a seasoned yogi or just getting started on your yoga journey, the Samadhi Initiative cork mat is a must-have. Especially for hot yoga, the non-slip grip of cork will be a huge improvement to traditional plastic mats, which any hot yoga practitioner knows can easily get dangerously slippery. 

I’ve been using my mat for several weeks now and the biggest surprise to me was how comfortable and thick they are under my feet unlike some cork mats I’ve tried. I’m also surprised and a little embarrassed I’ve been using plastic mats so long even though I care a great deal about the environment. Unlike plastic PVC mats, cork does not have you breathing in toxins. It is also easy to clean and naturally repels dust, hair, and insects, so it is also better for people with allergies.

If all that weren’t enough, cork is also a completely natural renewable material produced from the bark of a tree, and is harvested in a way that does not harm the tree that produces it, allowing it to continue growing, flourishing and reproducing the bark after it is harvested. Cork trees do not require excessive amounts of resources either, making them eco-friendly. Also, water-based inks are used to personalize the mats. 

What I really love about The Samadhi Initiative mats though, is that there is a place to personalize your mat with something truly meaningful to you, whether it is a design or a personal mantra. Growing up I was always praying on beautiful prayer rugs that were embroidered with geometric designs commonly found in Islamic art, or images of holy sites like Mecca. Having something to look at really helps me with my focus and concentration. For my mat, I chose to personalize with a beautiful flower and the word ‘presence’ for two reasons: 1 – I always want to remember to be present, to live in the moment and appreciate the blessings in my life instead of just going through the motions, and 2- I want to have presence, meaning the confidence to always own who I am, and always proudly live my truth.

Learn more about The Samadhi Initiative here.

Don’t forget to use code ‘lovezahra’ for 15% off of your purchase!

 

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  • I was looking all over for a 2009 photo to do my 10 year thing - and I finally realized why I don’t have any! Some of you may already know this, but in the beginning of 2009 I got into a bad snowmobile accident where I had to be airlifted to a hospital and ended up in a coma for 3 days and ended up having a huge hematoma in my head (thankfully it healed on its own) and I had to get surgery on my broken collarbone m that is now metal plated! You may have noticed I have one bumpy collarbone - that’s the one haha. That near death experience set in motion so many things that would change my life. Most importantly I started living life for myself, I thought about all the things I would have regretted if I actually died that day. I (first broke up with but then) got married to my love @tom_sandberg, started practicing yoga regularly, tried a lot of new hobbies including horseback riding, I had a baby, started my blog, quit my job, had another baby, and now I’m at this really weird point of life - trying to decide what’s next. Now that Sophia’s getting older I have slightly more time to invest in my career, and I’m still trying to figure out where exactly I want to put my energy. 2019 is my year of exploration ~ anyone else at a similar turning point??
  • Throwback to Sophia’s first birthday! She turns two soon and I’m at a loss for ideas...(Bahamian beach party isn’t in the cards this year) I’m a theme kinda girl so please share your ideas! #birthdaygirl #tropicalparty #bahamas
  • Notes on being an American born of Pakistani immigrants...
Thanks to @urdumom for the q’s - check my highlights for expanded answers
1. Were you ever labeled an ABCD? What did you feel about that? 
Ha! Yes - I would still consider myself an 'ABCD' (American born confused Desi) although I think 'intersectional' is what the kids are calling it these days. As a kid it was difficult navigating both cultures, simultaneously being both and neither. I still struggle with it, to be honest, but I'm just now beginning to see that it is such a blessing to be sort of an outsider. It ultimately made me much more emotionally intelligent, and also broadened my perspective. 
2. Did you get to travel to Pakistan with your parents as a kid? How was the experience? 
Yes! We traveled often - almost every year - and I absolutely loved it. As a kid it was fun playing with the goats and chickens in my dads village, or shopping in the huge maze of bazaars in the city. When I was in tenth grade, my parents even sent me to Pakistan because they thought I was getting too 'wild'. Long story short, they are so advanced in education in Pakistan, we realized me going to school there meant I had to go back two grade levels, so they gave up on that plan and the whole trip became an extended vacation. I was SO resentful that I had to come back to America! I LOVED Pakistan so much. But I also knew my parents were now out of major punishment options - so I fulfilled their prophecy and became pretty wild 😜 
3. Did you face bullying at school for being different? 
sure! My first name Itrat was something kids really liked to tease me about. 'It's a rat' was a fan favorite. Kids would laugh at me and say that my dad worked at the gas station while imitating an Indian accent like Apu from The Simpsons, and they would ask me why I'm not wearing a red dot. I remember once arguing with a girl who then called me a rag head, and I thought she meant my hair was raggedy, but my older brother filled me in that she was referencing our Muslim heritage. 
4. How did your parents keep your Pakistani roots alive at home? 
My parents are both from Pakistan, so we had the food, language, music, books
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  • Northern Cali folks, my sister Rania will be teaching a Spring course called Global Islam: Culture and Civilization - at American River College in (my hometown) Sacramento! The course is introductory but covers a wide breadth of topics including the origins of Islam, the Prophetic traditions, Arts and Literature, and modern concepts as well. There are still a couple of open spots so I wanted to spread the word in case anyone was interested! Swipe left for even more detail. Save this post, share it, spread the word! (Also side note: this is a throwback way back from Sophia’s baby shower - the most recent pic we have together because I was not about to post a flyer on the feed 💁🏾‍♀️)
  • All I need in this life of sin...p.s. a bunch of old guys kept asking us where we are ‘from’ (because obvs we couldn’t be from here 🙃) - and they couldn’t believe it was Pakistan either - im going to just say outer space next time...👽 #girlfriends #ladiesnight #gno
  • SO glad I forced myself to go out tonight with my girls, sometimes we forget how much we love each other’s company 💕 #gno #chicago #girls
  • She won’t even take a bite out of something she doesn’t like - I learn lessons from this QUEEN every damn day! 🙏🏾💕 👑 👧🏻
  • When you always think the song is about you 🎶 (Queen + Adam Lambert tour here we come!)
Also going to do more stand up comedy this year because, well - being a wife and mom - no one listens to me any more and I need my validation so...yeah
Also: wearing this coat all winter long because I’m a proud outfit repeater 👊🏽 (Also because I’m an old coat kind of girl  don’t @ me) ~
  • 1) hanging with my sister Nusrat who has been here visiting since New Year’s Eve - we are 13 months apart so basically we’re twins 👯 except when it comes to our personalities we are polar opposites ☯️ she has always been the one person who constantly humbled me  whenever I thought I was too cool (which was often) she would put me in my place (whether I liked it or not) and now as an adult I really appreciate that 
2) me doing Nusrat’s makeup as I’ve always been the resident makeup/hair/stylist in the family
 3) Sophia’s lewk 😍 
2019 is starting off pretty great I’d say!

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