When a royal baby arrives, it's customary for Commonwealth countries to send a gift. When that gift comes from Australia, more often than not, it's of the fluffy koala variety. But when Prince Harry and Meghan Markle welcomed Archie into the world, the Governor of NSW, Her Excellency the Honourable Margaret Beazley AO QC, decided to do something a little different.
The gift that arrived on the Mountbatten-Windsor’s doorstep (to an overwhelmingly positive reception)? A personally designed child’s yoga mat, made by Sydney-based littleyogi.
Founded by corporate lawyer and mother of three, Lisa Mitry, littleyogi began as a way to counteract our busy world of instant gratification, schedules and competition. In other words? The perfect gift for a new royal.
We spoke to Lisa about the process of sending a gift to the royals, the inspiration behind the design, and why we can all do with a bit of yoga in our lives.
How did the royal engagement come about?
When little Archie was born, the Governor of NSW and her staff were brainstorming ideas for a symbolic and unique gift to give the Sussexes to mark the occasion, rather than simply send a spoon or soft toy kookaburra.
Days before Archie’s birth, the Sussexs moved into Frogmore cottage, which had been refurbished to include a yoga studio for the Duchess who had grown up doing yoga (her mother was a yoga teacher too). Her Excellency, knowing the Duchess’s love of yoga and also being a keen yogi herself, thought that a yoga mat for Archie would be the be the perfect gift.
Knowing of littleyogi brand, the Governor’s staff reached out to collaborate to create a unique design.
What inspired the design of the mat?
The design of the mat was inspired by the flora and fauna of New South Wales. We wanted to create something that was playful and friendly but also formal and refined.
How do you incorporate yoga into the lives of your children?
My three girls love doing yoga. But don’t be fooled, yoga for us does not mean peacefully practicing asanas every morning before we get ready for the day. Rather, yoga for my kids is a way to unwind for 5-10 minutes (ok, sometimes only 2). We roll out our mats, sit down, take a few deep breaths and then often take it in turns to choose a yoga pose. We have an A-Z yoga book which is beautiful. Other times the girls enjoy doing a Cosmic Kids yoga class. These engaging an interactive classes are brilliant and can be found on YouTube.
I feel the practice of yoga for my kids helps them to unwind and move their bodies slowly at the same time. It connects us and also allows me to do some yoga at home without feeling like I am not focused on my kids. The mats themselves give the girls a real sense of ownership of their space and their practice.
Where did the inspiration come from to create the brand?
The inspiration for the brand came from my first daughter, Alessandra. She had started yoga at preschool and was really loving it. I wanted to buy her a yoga mat but couldn’t find anything on the market. I knew then that I wanted to create something completely unique that was designed to capture children’s attention. Like sitting down for dinner, if you can get a child on the mat, you are halfway there.
How do you make the juggle work in your family?
I feel very grateful to have this little business that is in the children’s space. My kids become part of the business, they are my models and my product testers. That said, I have found that the golden key for managing the juggle is to have a strong 3 dimensional support network.
My mum is beyond amazing at helping with the kids and my husband provides priceless business support. I try to make things easier where I can for myself.
Because the message behind littleyogi is about giving children (and ultimately parents) the gift of presence and self love, I have to (at lease try to) practice what I preach. I try not to sweat the small stuff, not to burn myself out and always remember the reason why I started littleyogi.