The Secret of the Llama
I had always had a fondness for camelids. I was about 4 at the time my parents returned home to New York from Israel, giving me a wooden one-hump camel as a gift. Developing an attachment to that gift, any animal from that family held a special place in my heart. I loved that camel took it around everywhere and always called out for it. I would even start noticing people who had similar features to a camel, in short, camelids have pretty colorful personalities.
Another thing from my childhood, which I was was also fond of was peanut butter. My mom would always have a container of Skippy Peanut Butter in the house for making sandwiches, however I preferred eating it right off the spoon. On a school day, sometime between getting home and supper, I would go to the refrigerator, spoon in hand, open the jar (which I believe may have still been glass at the time), dig my spoon in trying to get as much on the utensil as I humanly can, and enjoy that scoop - a joy that has never left me.
In fact, let's fast forward to almost 30 years later - married and a dad to amazing kids. While performing my peanut butter ritual, and running my tongue the remaining residue that still stuck to the spoon, my wife remarked that I looked like a llama, the way I licked the peanut butter. I'm not sure what made her think of llamas, but had she realized that she had created a monster, or should I say, a llama, she may have held her speech. However, the cat, or should I say, the llama was now out of the bag. In short I had been outted!
Over the next few years the word llama became more and more of a household term and soon took on a life of its own. Each morning when I drove my son to school and my wife was concerned about whether he would get there on time, I would reassuringly send her a text message upon arrival to the school, "The llama has landed", or at times "the llamas have landed". My sons were loving the whole llama scthick. One day at the petting zoo after observing the llamas, my older son turned to me and remarked, "Dad, it really looks like you!"
Around this time, I began pursuing a healthier lifestyle, incorporating healthy eating such as plant based foods and fruit with my excercise. Having become a certified nutrition coach, I started getting into yoga and making it a part of my exercise routine and general lifestyle. "Namaste", meaning something along the lines of "The spirit in me bows to the spirit in you", was emanating all around. At times of stress I would take a breather and get myself into an asana (yoga pose). Around this time, my wife wanted to add some daily inspiration into our children's lives and began writing a different quote every few days on our dry-erase board on the kitchen window sill.
One time my son observing my pose asked me to draw a picture of a llama in a yoga pose. I did a quick sketch on the back of an envelope and in a tongue-in-cheek wrote "LLAMASTE". I looked at it, started laughing and showed it to my wife who busted out laughing as well. The next day, when I walked downstairs to the kitchen and saw "LLAMASTE" written on the board, I knew I had to bring the philosophy of Llamaste into the world and make it a part of people's every day life. What is its philosphy? Like the llama who is cheerful, playful, loyal to its herd and others, and generally chill, we ourselves must strive to be the same every day of our lives.
At that point I decided I had to make a brand out of it. Through my creation of my brand, exploring the needs of yogi practitioner in order to perfect my product, I in turn began to aspire to become a yogi - the llama yogi! Since then it has been an amazing journey and looking back to those years ago, I owe special thanks to my wife, my true love, inspiration and the best friend I could ever have and to my amazing children who continue to bring out the inner llama in me!
Llamaste (the llama in me bows to the llama in you)