Spirit Sister Series - Carolyn Cooke from Yogat
It's such a divine privilege to be once again introducing you all to another beautiful Spirit Sister from the Spirit People Community, Carolyn from Yogat Yoga mats.
Carolyn is the founder and creative genius at Yogat, where she combines her love of Art with Yoga.
For those who aren't yet aware of their wonderful range, Yogat create the most stunning limited edition Yoga Mats featuring original Artwork from Australian Artists, aiming to bolster the arts community and shine a spotlight on the rich diversity of talent we have in Australia.
Their signature style of bold and colourful Yoga Mats are made using tree rubber and natural dyes to create mats that are 100% biodegradable.
Aside from being a driven and creative business women, Carolyn is also a beautiful Mamma and Yogi with a strong community focus who is very active in the Brisbane yoga community, with Collaborations with lots of incredible yogis and brands always in the works.
But first, read our interview with this beautiful soul below where she shares with us all a little of her personal journey with yoga, life and business and some of the lessons and learnings she's been blessed with along the way.
Let’s start with the basics, how old are you? And where did you grow up?
I’m a few months away from turning 40 and may I say, I’m looking forward to this milestone. Let’s be honest this number has copped some flak, it seems loaded with despair, but personally, I have never felt surer of myself. I’ve grown into my (almost) 40-year old skin, scars, and all.
I grew up in a beautiful old Queenslander in Graceville. It’s the family home and I love that my children get to discover the same hiding nooks, sleep in the bedroom where my sister and I played and build cubby houses under the same dining room table, as I once did.
Where are you currently based?
- Brisbane, Queensland.
What three words best describe you right now and your Intention/Essence/ offerings?
Content, open and curious.
Can you share with us a little about your Journey with Yoga and or Spirituality, whatever that means to you?
Yoga found me, after I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease in 2018.
In hindsight, I had been living an unhealthy existence for some time. On the outside, things may have looked fine, but internally I was a ticking time bomb. I had neglected my health for years with poor food choices, alcohol, unrealistic expectations, minimal exercise and little sleep.
After my first flare, I attended a yoga class and while I found it challenging, something clicked. My mind felt clearer than it had in years and I had a sense of hope that doctors were unable to provide. I knew that yoga would help me to repair physically and mentally.
Can you Share with us a little about what led you to begin starting your biz/ sharing your current offerings?
It was through my diagnosis and my discovery of yoga that I realised I could help others to understand the importance of physical and mental wellbeing.
With a background in art and design and a decade long career in event and project management, I knew I had the right ingredients to bring the idea to life.
It has been an absolute pleasure to work with artists in this context, showcasing their work and for some, providing a unique platform to launch their creative career. Since inception, we have collaborated with over thirteen artists and have shared the Yogat brand to customers across the globe.
What have been your biggest triumphs?
Firstly, my two beautiful children, Harvey and Evie.
Secondly, to embrace life’s setbacks and channel them into something positive. I’m a big believer in the importance of experiencing failure and using it as a vehicle to build resilience, empathy, and inner strength. I hope I can pass this learning onto my children early, so they see failure as empowering and constructive rather than discouraging.
What have been your biggest fears, obstacles, and challenges along the way? And what has really helped you in overcoming them?
The biggest obstacle I have had to face is myself.
I, like so many women, have grappled with imposter syndrome. In the past, it got so bad that I questioned my abilities to the point of being paralysed with fear.
Overcoming this has been a conscious exercise. I recently spent some time with a kinesiologist who helped me to pinpoint where this learned behaviour began and together, we put in place some simple techniques to challenge the negative inner dialogue. It’s been quite a transformative process.
What lessons are you most grateful for in life and in what you do?
Being diagnosed with an autoimmune disease has certainly been my silver lining. I do not begrudge my illness, nor do I let it define me. I have simply learned to let it walk by my side and take from it some important life lessons.
What advice would you give another facing a similar challenge?
For women who may be struggling with that negative inner voice, I would suggest acknowledging it, but don’t let it stop you from moving forward, sharing ideas, being your unique self, and listening to your true intuition. Trust in the process and in yourself.
We all deal with fears and insecurities; how do you combat overwhelm and self-doubt?
Yoga. It has been my elixir since being diagnosed with an autoimmune disease. It helps me to be present, love my whole self and gives me the clarity to tackle any challenges that get thrown my way.
What do you currently most crave in life and in what you do?
I am a connector at heart and love seeing creatives and business owners connect and thrive through collaboration.
Recently I opened a Facebook group called Brisbane Creatives. It’s a private group that enables business owners, freelancers and creative folk, to connect, share ideas, talk shop, and find opportunities to collaborate.
You can request to join here https://www.facebook.com/groups/192860775870336/
What’s next for you, any exciting plans on the horizon that you would like to share?
Continue to build the Yogat brand by working with Australian artists to develop products that inspire physical and mental wellbeing.
We launched Yogat Wholesale late last year, and are hoping to hit the US and UK market in the next twelve months.
For Yoga and Pilates instructors, we have recently launched the Yogat Health Club, inviting practicing, certified yoga and Pilates instructors to sign up to receive 25% off all Yogat products.
Join the Club here https://www.subscribepage.com/become-a-yogat-club-ambassador
And, together with Tyler Miscannon, owner of Always Sunny Yoga Therapy and The Giving Team, have launched Tula Wellness Retreats for women looking to reconnect and learn how to incorporate balance in today’s busy world.
Spirit Rituals, can you share with us any practices or routines that you do to keep you feeling inspired, grounded, and connected?
I’m an avid list writer. From what I have been told, I have been doing this since I was able to write.
On a Sunday evening, I write down the bigger - sky high goals I want to achieve for the week ahead, then each day, I step out how I’m going to get there.
This practice, both professionally and personally, provides immense clarity and productivity. And how good does ticking off a “to-do” from the list feel?!
Who have been the most influential or inspirational people/ teachers/ Books or places on your path? and why?
I have been extremely lucky to have some wonderful mentors over the course of my career. Mostly women, they gave me their honesty, knowledge and time - and for this I am forever grateful. As a business owner, I often seek out experts to learn from and hope that I too have positively impacted someone along the way.
My Mother too, installed a great sense of curiosity in me from a young age. She has always been my biggest cheerleader, and would often chime in with “nothing ventured, nothing gained” when I stalled creatively. It’s an adage I repeat often, and value the direction it provides.
What does #iamspirit mean to you?
I am me.