I’ve been asked a lot lately, “why did you start Kathmandu Yogi?”

I’ve noticed a funny habit starting to creep in when I respond.

Instead of speaking from my heart, that I believe Nepal is a magical and precious place and I wanted to create a business that brought benefit to both the East and the West, I start telling people what I think they want to hear.

It’s so easy to lose track of your own authenticity when you have bills to pay.

But the truth is I didn’t start Kathmandu Yogi to create a “bottom line” organization.

It is so much more than that.

A Journey Always Starts With a Single Step

I started this journey because of human connections.

When I first visited Nepal in 2012, I was fascinated that everything and everyone had a story and even more fascinated that they had the time and interest to share it.

Too often we go through the motions in life and are disconnected from people.

We “engage” on social media, but don’t look people in the eyes when we speak to them.

We’re so caught in our day-to-day life that we’re never in the moment.

Or we just can’t put down our phones!

If this is the case with the people in our lives, we are even less aware of our things we consume that make up our modern life.

Everything in Our World Has a Story

Everything we have came from somewhere and was made by someone.

Even if they just pushed a button at the factory, there was a human somewhere along the way who made it possible for us to receive and enjoy whatever it is we have today.

picking fabric in nepalNepal is a place where things are made.

Where people don’t have money but have incredible talent.

A place where people are clever and resourceful — but don’t have the resources to build sustainable businesses or develop technologies.

There are a lot of charities working in Nepal, but very few actually make a sustainable impact. This is because change must come from the ground up.

People need work.

For them to have work there must be industry. Unfortunately, China and India have made it impossible for Nepal to compete in the manufacturing industry.

As ambitious as it was, I set out to establish a company that would be a catalyst for change.

It Started With a Cushion

I started by making the most beautiful and useful meditation cushion on the market.

Honestly, it could have been anything.

My wish was to give Nepalis, the rare opportunity to earn a living wage in safe conditions.

Opportunities we take for granted in the West.

Since Nepal is the birthplace of the Buddha and part of the region where yoga originated, it felt appropriate to make a product for western yogis.

Giving our yogis the chance to create sustainable change to the people who kept these special transmissions alive for centuries so we could learn from them today.

Kathmandu Yogi is so much more than a company that makes meditation cushions.

We want to bridge the 8,000-mile gap between cultures and create positive human impact.

–Natasha Casanova

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