All About Llamaste

Llamaste! We wanted to dedicate this week’s blog post to our audience, customers, and beloved yogi community! This post is ALL about Llamaste! We know you’ve heard of our name before! You’ve probably seen us on t-shirts, mugs, or other fun novelties. But, if you’ve ever wondered about the face behind the name and true essence of who and what Llamaste is, then this article will break it down for you! Llamaste was founded in 2014, at first as an apparel company by owner and founder, Bill Ades. It since then has branched out to a family yoga center keeping its online presence while also offering activewear/gear for yogis of all ages! Read below for an exclusive interview with the mastermind behind this awesome company, Bill Ades! 

How did you start Llamaste?

Llamaste’s history goes as far back to 2009 from my kitchen at home. While licking peanut butter off the spoon, my wife remarked that I looked like, well, a llama. From there the word llama became a household term, with my son making jokes, like “Hey dad, it looks like you!” A few years later, I began to practice yoga and around 2013, started looking into becoming certified to teach. In September of that, my  son asked me to draw a picture of a llama in a yoga pose, so on a napkin I did a sketch of a llama in a yoga pose with the word “Llamaste” written underneath. We all got a big kick out of the drawing and the next day, my wife wrote “Llamaste,” on the marker board she uses to leave motivational quotes for the kids. Feeling motivated myself, I decided to use the image and word to create a brand geared towards yoga and llamas. In 2014, I trademarked the name and developed our first product line - carry-all bags for the on-the-go yogi, in which she can transport his/her or her items  to and from class to work. Like the llama carries all your things around and stays by your side, same thing with Llamaste bags. 

What exactly does Llamaste offer?

Llamaste Family Yoga Center offers classes for the working-yogi, parents, seniors, kids, teens, and yogis of all ages. Llamaste is inclusive to families of all kinds and aims to build community and connection. Our teachers instill healthy living and conscious lifestyles for you and your family's day-to-day!
Our apparel reflects that same foundation, offering yoga gear and wear for all ages! We have matching mini-me sets for mom's, dad's and their kids to help encourage all members of the family to attend classes! Our entire brand is built on family and community and we want our studio and apparel to cater directly towards that! 
 Why llamas?
Llamas are amazing and fun creatures. They are also very loyal animals and can travel for several miles at a time carrying your bags and personal items through mountains and all sorts of other terrain. Like the llama, Llamaste’s bags were designed for ultimate comfort to keep you properly aligne for you next practice. The  llama on the totem symbolizes  success, strength, and perseverance on the totem. These are central tenets of the yoga practice. Also when you look at a llama, it makes you want to smile. Llamaste as both a practice and product line is designed to put a smile on everyone’s face - not just children but adults as well!

Why yoga?

Having a regular yoga practice has contains so many benefits - it increases flexibility in your body and extremities. In addition,it enhances your breathing, which leads to proper blood flow and functioning of  organs, and strengthening of your immune system. When you breathe properly, your body releases endorphins (happy genes), which leads to a better focus and reduced "brain fog".
Do you know that as a child, you are practicing yoga without even realizing it? Learning to crawl, you push yourself onto your hand and knees. Learning to walk, you learn how to lift your own body off the ground. Those first baby steps and balancing. These are all natural moves which stimulate the mind and body’s ability to function. Studies have shown that incorporating yoga early on in life, along with proper eating, prevents or corrects a multitude of issues, including unnecessary food cravings, anxiety, migraines, insomnia, obesity, and ADD/ADHD. 

What’s your background with yoga?

I am certified with 500 hours of teacher training and more recently in yoga for kids. After getting my certification, I began teaching privately to clients of all levels, primarily to adults who wanted to add yoga into their exercise routine. My specialty is teaching individuals and small groups, as I believe that while yoga is for everyone, each and every individual has specific needs. There are all different forms of practice, and while one specific form may be ideal for one person, someone else may require a different practice altogether.

Why did you get certified to teach? 

As a strong believer in healthy living through sensible food choices, exercise and lifestyle, I strive to help others achieve that. Previously I was in the computer support industry, which involved working long hours in front of a computer and at the location of my clients. After feeling burned out much of the time, I decided to change my lifestyle, by adding in daily exercise and eliminating bad food choices. Not only was I seeing great results, but others as well saw it and in turn asked me what I was doing differently. I enjoyed sharing my accomplishments, and as an ex-smoker, I taught other smokers how to quit. In 2011, I became a certified health coach, and in 2013 I became a personal trainer. While most of my routine consisted of long distance running and high impact exercise, I started to balance it out by adding yoga into my weekly routine. After tearing my meniscus, which required surgery and time off my knee, I had to scale back on anything that was too high impact, and spent more time doing yoga. Seeing all of its great benefits and motivating others to practice, I decided that this was my calling.

What do you hope for Llamaste to contribute to the yoga community? 

There are many people who want to practice yoga, but find it hard in their busy schedules to commit to a regular practice. Also some people shy away from the practice due to the large size “open level” classes, tend to be more serious and consist of some people who are more advanced than others.  Seeing someone get up on both hands in a perfect handstand can sometimes cause one who does not have this asana available can be a bit intimidating to the individual and cause that person to think that yoga is not for him or her. This is simply not true. Yoga is all about connection - to earth, to others and most importantly to yourself in your purest form. The Llamaste community is there to encourage and support people who want to do yoga in a light non-competitive setting and have fun doing it.

Why should people practice at Llamaste?

Llamaste is available to yogis of all levels as we cater to everyone’s needs based on their level of practice, flexibility and lifestyle. No individual is exactly alike and what may be ideal for one person may not necessarily be the best for someone else. And while our teachers work within your level of flexibility, we encourage you to explore each pose and have successfully helped our students find new abilities which they never knew they had. This is why we are so successful with customers with families. When children first learn yoga, based on their tendency to be less fearful of a new pose and open to exploration, they soon find themselves doing amazing things as a result of our teaching. This in turn encourages their parents to engage more in yoga, discover their potential while having fun doing it!

Why should people wear and use Llamaste apparel & gear?

When you see an article of clothing or a bag with a llama sitting there meditating in lotus pose, what’s your first reaction? Smile, right? You may even laugh out loud. Llamaste is designed to make you smile, which in turn helps you de-stress. Yoga is all about reconnecting with yourself and finding that blissful positive state. Same with smiling and laughter. Llamaste has something for everyone - children and adults who want to stay connected to their inner child. All these vibes in turn help eliminate negativity and and being about a sense of community in people. Our mats and bags are eco-friendly, made with biodegradable material so when you use Llamaste gear, you are contributing to making the earth a safer and cleaner place. In addition, a certain percentage of Llamaste’s proceeds go to charities benefiting the well-being of children

Where do you see Llamaste in the future? 

Llamaste is a family yoga center and a family within itself. I see Llamaste being a place not only of yoga but of helping parents and children connect through the practice. Llamaste is based in Brooklyn right now but our message is universal and I see us growing as a franchise of yoga centers in turn making yoga available to children, adults - anyone who wants to practice and have fun doing it!
To join our Llama lovin’ community, stop by our family yoga center in Brooklyn, New York where we host classes and workshops for ages 2-100! If you’re not based in New York, no worries! Check out our online store to shop our awesome yogi collection, or join our Facebook Group-  for FREE yoga videos, discounted promos, wellness articles, and networking opportunities with our global Llamaste community!