Show us your best asanas and strike your favorite pose – yoga pose, that is. We have the scoop on the brand that should be on every yogi’s radar. Introducing nagnAta, a Byron Bay-based collection of colorful yoga mat travel bags and woven scarves, perfectly suited for all of you practicing wanderlusters and adventure seekers.
Every nagnAta travel bag tells a story. It begins with founders Laura May Gibbs and Holly Dixon hand selecting and arranging a variety of textiles and embellishments, sourced from their travels between India and Afghanistan. Beautiful vintage silks and vibrant patterns combine with the detail of intricate hand embroidery and vegetable dip-dye, resulting in no two bags being quite the same – beautiful imperfections that give each bag indigenous character.
We spoke to Laura May and Holly about life as yogis traveling abroad, and on the business of travel itself – how it not only shapes their business of nagnAta, but how it has enriched their lives as well.
CULT: Tell us about nagnAta – how was the idea formed? What does the word nagnAta mean?
NagnAta translates to naked wanderer in Sanskrit. Naked, alluding to raw, exposed and in our natural state and wanderer; expressive of our penchant towards a nomadic life.
The name nagnAta also weaves in ideals of tantric spirituality. The word tantra translates to ‘loom’, ‘fibre’, ‘textile’, ‘warp’, ‘technique’ and ‘teachings’, all words associated with the traditional practice of weaving and from a spiritual perspective, the weaving together all threads of our being into one harmonious whole.
Our first two projects in India were focused around the art of weaving – using recycled textiles in our yoga mat bags followed by our collaboration with Women Weave to create a bespoke range of organic cotton handloom-woven scarves. The idea to create nagnAta together began in Byron Bay when we reconnected between travels. It was here we planted the seeds for the project and returned months later to start work on founding our brand.
CULT: What do you love most about the practice of yoga?
Holly: I love the way it calms my sometimes crazy, busy mind. It improves my energy levels, my moods, my awareness and it nurture’s my body like nothing else can. I love that it is my own special time.
Laura May: Yoga opened me to a pathway of self-healing, spiritual growth and a more consciousness life. Through yoga I can live with more grace and awareness, and over the years my practice has helped me drop, or rather expose, a lot of the drama and darkness I used to exist in. I still slip into the darkness but I am quicker now to call it and have the tools to move through those times with more awareness and inner peace.
I like that there’s no hiding from yourself in yoga. As you move through your body and mind you develop a more intimate relationship and deeper understanding of yourself. Know thyself…even if its not so pretty.
CULT: Favorite pose, flow or yoga method?
Holly: I can’t pick favorites! It really depends on my different daily needs. Sometime a restorative yin practice can be just as powerful as a strong flow practice. I do especially love Urdhva Dhanurasana & Eka Pada Rajakapotasana (wheel and pigeon pose)
Laura May: I practice Kundalini Yoga and Hatha Yoga. In Kundalini Bound Lotus is my favoured pose, which I hold up to 31 mins in a full practice. In Hatha I really love Karnapidasana (deaf mans pose). I find an intimacy and comfort in both of these poses, wrapping yourself up, bringing your head close to your heart and cocooning into your own world.
CULT: Best advice for staying balanced:
Eat well and find a daily practice that works for you. Maybe it is yoga, mediation, walks in nature or ocean swims. Whatever it is take regular time out to do it! Look after yourself – body, mind and spirit. And always get lots of sleep!
Laura May: Releasing control of trying to be in total control of your life can bring more balance. I try not to resist life or situations too much.
If I can change something, I will. If not I accept it and move on. Don’t get too attached to things. Embrace change. Enjoy the ebbs and flows of life. They’re always the interesting parts.
Integrate into your life all the things you love doing. Don’t stress when you’re feeling out of balance, just know what brings you back to that space.
I would recommend a daily practice or ritual that brings stillness to the mind and time for contemplation like yoga and meditation. Though reading, writing, designing, dancing, cooking, music, chanting, being in nature and spending time with friends are all equally as important to making me feel good and enjoying my life.
CULT: Travel is a large influence in nagnAta – how has travel shaped both the brand, and you each, personally?
Holly: Travel is always so inspiring! It was through our shared love of travel that nagnAta was born and it’s through travel that it will continue to grow. Personally I can’t imagine my world if I wasn’t a traveller. I am defiantly a much more open, appreciative, happier person from all the adventures I have been lucky enough to experience. Travel really helps puts life in perspective, my values are strong but it’s made me thirsty for more adventure…
Laura May: I want to live an interesting, open minded and authentic existence, so I travel.
The most freeing feeling in the world is being on the road, heading on new adventures not knowing who or what lies ahead. Your experiences while traveling become your teacher, and these moments are the ones you remember most richly in life.
How I integrate my experiences and findings while traveling into my life shape who I am, and influence my work and creativity in unexpected ways. I enjoy this process.
Weaving travel so deeply into the foundations of nagnAta leaves room for endless possibilities and collaborations. This is an exciting and inspiring way for us to create a brand and we don’t know where it may lead.
CULT: Where are some of your favorite / most impactful places that you’ve traveled to?
Holly: India, it just keeps calling me back… always colourful, chaotic and an absolute life changer. Nepal, Morrocco and the Mentawai Islands would be up there too!
Laura May: Camping in the Palenque Jungle at the World Rainbow Gathering in Mexico. Living in pyramids at Las Pyramides in San Marcos, Guatemala. India. Tokyo. New York. London. Paris. I love all of these cities for very different reasons and experiences.
CULT: Five things that you never travel without:
- A notebook/ journal – essential for scribbling down the experiences, ideas and inspirations that come with travel.
- iPhone – which acts as my camera, music and connection to the world should I need to be connected.
- Jurilque Moisturiser Replenshing Day Cream – to hydrate my skin morning and night.
- A large shawl to keep me warm on the plane, covered up in modest cultures and that can also be used as a sarong when I am at the beach. My favorite beach accessory at the moment is the ‘SAND’ nagnAta x ww scarf
- My original nagnAta yoga mat bag of course!
- nagnAta yoga mat bag
- Jade yoga mat
- Selection of books depending on my mood
- A journal to sketch and write
- Then depending where I’m traveling it would be anti-parasite herbs for my off-the-beaten-track journeys…or my Balenciaga ankle boots which are my staple city footwear.
CULT: How long does a bag take, from inception to completion?
We begin by traveling around Rajasthan to source the recycled textiles then return to our makers in Jaipur. We piece the fabric combinations for each bag together then wrap them up in bundles and handover to the master who hands on to the individual artisans. The make of each bag can take from a half day to full day depending on the work required on the original materials. Some fabrics are in better condition than others so require different levels of work. It’s a time consuming process but one we enjoy and what gives the bags their uniqueness and character.
CULT: In the last 24 hours, what has inspired you?
Holly: A warm sweaty practice this morning, followed straight after by a swim at my favorite local beach, Wategos (in Byron Bay). The salty turquoise water is the ideal temperature this time of year and I could have easily stayed at the beach all day long but after a dip I was ready to get to work and continue my day!
Laura May: Living the good life at Krinklewood, my friend’s farm and biodynamic vineyard in the Hunter Valley. We drank biodynamic wine, listened to our friends play music, swam in the lake, lay in the sun reading books, cooked meals with food from the gardens and shared good conversation with good people. Time stood still for a few days and it was heaven.
CULT: Words to live by:
Holly: Expect nothing, appreciate everything!
Laura May: Create your life.