Hello again, my finely feathered friends. It’s already the middle of the month, and in two weeks we’ll have to say goodbye to our September collection and welcome our October collection. (If you’re thinking about buying one of our September mats, you might want to make your move sooner rather than later, so you don’t forget. Hint, hint :-)
This one is clearly special to us based on the description alone:
Big Raven is a proudly Minnesota company. We grew up on the farming prairies of southern Minnesota, moved away to college, collected degrees, traveled (and lived) all over the world… but eventually came back to Minnesota to raise our family. The great Midwest may not be the world’s most exciting place to live, but it’s a great place to raise a family and a great place to actually live.
This mat is a reminder that Minnesota is home for us, and always will be, no matter where we may someday reside. It’s where our families are, it’s where our friends are, it’s where we raised our kids, it’s where our ancestors are buried.
And even if we can’t always be “home home”, we can at least carry a little bit of it with us as we roam the world, a reminder of the people and places that have shaped us. Much as your yoga mat serves as the the foundation of your practice, the land in which you’ve put down roots serves as the foundation of your life, and your mat should be just as durable and long-lasting as that sense of place.
So… funny story: My husband/lover/business partner and I first met in kindergarten. Let that sink in for just a bit… we’ve known each other since we were 5 years old.
We were both born out on the prairies of southern Minnesota and grew up in the tiny farming community of St. James, population 4,400. One square mile in size, one shuttered movie screen, and the biggest town for at least an hour drive in any direction. (Other, smaller towns around us included: Odin, Sveadahl, Godahl, Hanska… like most of Minnesota, we mostly descended from Scandinavian stock, though I myself seem to be of some sort of indeterminate Eastern European slavic Jewish gypsy lineage. Clearly not Scandinavian though.)
We went to elementary school together, then middle school, then high school. (By definition, because those were the ONLY schools. The whole idea of “school choice” was a completely foreign concept to us.) Our graduating class consisted of 89 young men and women. Some went back into farming, some into the military, a few of us went on to college and then on to advanced degrees. Most, however, never strayed too far from home.
(Lest you think that simply because we went to high school together we must have also run in the same social circles, well… I was a cheerleader. He and his friends played Dungeons & Dragons in basements and attics. That probably tells you everything you need to know about us, but I’ll also add this: In addition to the obvious reasons we didn’t date during high school, he always felt that I was — in his words — “out of his league.” I’ll give him this though — smart nerds are late bloomers, but they’re worth waiting for.)
Anyway, after graduation we went our separate ways. Me to Iowa, then back to Minnesota, then out to the East Coast and into an exciting life bouncing around Baltimore and Washington, D.C., traveling the country and working in corporate training and event planning. He got engineering degrees at the University of Minnesota, then went on to Texas A&M, then moved to the oilfields of Houston, and eventually wound up in Bangkok. We both married other people, had kids, got divorced, and finally found ourselves back in St. James again on the night of June 22, 2012: At our 25-year high school reunion.
We were both divorced and on our own. I was thinking of moving to Minneapolis. He had just returned from his life in Thailand (he literally landed on the tarmac two days before our class reunion) and was about to resettle back in Minneapolis himself. One thing led to another, and the next spring we started dating, and a year after that we moved in together and started a new blended family of 2 parents, 4 kids and a dog. (A bigger vehicle was in order.)
In the intervening 7 years we both quit our corporate jobs, I was involved in a life-changing bicycle accident, he nursed me back to health, and we started this amazing yoga mat company as a result.
However, it was St. James that shaped us, launched us, and eventually brought us back together. It’s not much to look at anymore — especially since a Walmart an hour away killed off its once-thriving downtown, just as it has in so many other small towns — but it still serves as our anchor, our ancestral Minnesota home.
And that’s why this design is so special to us. It’s a reminder that no matter where we may be, no matter where our journey takes us, Minnesota will always be our home and our foundation. And as I mentioned in our description above:
Much as your yoga mat serves as the the foundation of your practice, the land in which you’ve put down roots serves as the foundation of your life, and your mat should be just as durable and long-lasting as that sense of place.
In celebration of our Minnesota roots, we invite you to take $10 OFF our Minnesota Home yoga mat until midnight on Sunday, September 22, using the promo code HOME at checkout. May this mat serve as solid a foundation for your yoga practice as yoga has served as a foundation for my entire life!