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San Diego, California

Bennd Yoga
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The Creation of Bennd: An Interview With Our Founder

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Once a month, in our Tuesday newsletters, we chat with the industry´s top leaders in wellness to learn about their lifestyle habits, asking them three questions that make their day successful. Since June 21st is International Yoga Day, we decided to interview our Founder, Heather Parkin, to find out why she created Bennd and where she predicts the Wellness Industry is headed. 

Let's start with one of the questions we ask all of our interviewees - Why do you Bennd?

I Bennd to remain open and flexible to whatever life throws my way. We always have a choice, but if we are shut off from expansion or the yearning to grow, our choices will continue to lead us to dead ends. I experienced this first hand when starting Bennd. Being open to the “What if?’ and asking the Universe to provide opportunities to expand my own growth was a key factor in creating Bennd. I wanted more than an eco-friendly yoga mat to practice on. I wanted something bigger, more expansive, something that could assist in the health and wellbeing of our cells, something that was beyond the practice itself. 

Why did you create Bennd?

I have a background in Fashion and Interior Design, and I was actually looking to create a non-toxic women's clothing line that would be eco-friendly and good for the body. I didn’t want just your typical organic cotton. While I was doing research for the brand, I came across a beautiful art medium called Ayurvastra, a form of Ayurvedic medicine that involves dying and infusing herbs and medicines into textiles. Artisans and healers have been practicing this technique in India for centuries. With a background also in health and wellness and my experience as an LED light therapist, I saw how powerful this tradition could be, and I didn't understand why no one was doing it in the United States.

[Ayur-vastra]: "Ayur" is Sanskrit for health, and "Vastra" is Sanskrit for clothing. Ayurvastra means Healthy Fabrics.
I asked myself: What if we took this a few steps further? What if we infused herbal medicines into something you could break a sweat doing? Knowing that our skin is the largest organ in our bodies, it interacts with everything we touch, thus absorbing everything we come into contact with. When your body temperature rises from activity or a warm environment, your skin becomes more permeable, allowing for better absorption. Additionally, our hands and feet have more sweat glands than other parts of the body, making them highly absorbent to chemicals through physical contact. So when you practice yoga, your hands, feet, and skin absorb whatever is in your mat, including any toxins used in its manufacturing. So why not absorb herbal medicines instead?

What has been your most challenging experience thus far in creating a new-to-market brand?

Education is key. There are multiple points of education to be told here. Number one is teaching people about Ayurveda. In the wellness industry, Ayurveda is a fluent way of living, but in the majority of America, most people don't know what Ayurveda is. So teaching our audience some simple ways to bring Ayurveda into their lives is so important. Just by using a Bennd textile, you are incorporating Ayurveda into your life. Secondly, educating people on the learning curve of practicing on a Bennd mat. You have to become much more aware and present in your practice. You use much more of your core strength than you would on a rubber or plastic non-slip mat. So not only do you become stronger with the use of a Bennd mat, but you also can achieve better health. 

Do you think there is a future where the wellness and textile space can co-exist in harmony?

One thousand percent, and I am determined to help lead the way. I believe in the very near future, all healing will occur through light, sound, and color. The world is losing faith in our healthcare systems, which has become very evident throughout this pandemic. Humans are looking for alternative, intentional, and natural ways to heal their bodies and our planet. I can’t wait for the day when ‘Fast Fashion’ is no more. So, although it may take time, I do believe we are evolving to a more sustainable, natural, and healthy future. 

Ok, one last question- Do you have a favorite mantra?

I have many. Hahaha. But the ones that stand out to me the most right now are:

‘I am open to all the opportunities this world has to offer me

‘Everything happens in its appropriate time and space.’

And since launching Bennd, this mantra is usually on repeat:

‘If it’s not a hard no, it's still a potential yes.’