In 2014 I fractured my spine in four places and nearly drowned having been hit by a freak wave whilst on holiday in Sri Lanka. After being rescued I was stabilised in hospital where I was initially told I wouldn’t walk again. However, every day I meditated, prayed and visualised and only two weeks later I walked. Albeit with a pee bag for company….but I walked. I am living proof that the power of the mind is incredible.
However, the battle was far from over and as soon as I was starting to fix my body physically, the Universe dealt me another blow. This time it was my heart and my mental health that was fractured. My long-term relationship broke down and I lost my business (I call it the time of the 3 B’s - Back, Boyfriend and Business.) Whilst I felt my body was on the mend, what I soon realised was that my mind was far from it... in fact it was the polar opposite.
Before I had my accident I had a pipe dream of moving away from London to Ibiza and living a more holistic stress free lifestyle. Whilst I was in hospital I got an email from a rental agent with some photos of a place he thought would be perfect for me. When I opened the email the first photo I saw was an angel set in a stone holding a shell… from that moment, I knew this was the one. I put down the deposit for a year to secure the place and every day from my hospital bed I looked at it and I visualised being there, walking and being able to be creative again. I knew it was where I could heal through art in an oasis of tranquility.
The place was owned by two eccentric Spanish artists who had adorned the place with beautiful paintings of Angels, Goddesses and mythical creatures. It was overflowing with art, creativity, and love. My body and soul began to redeem itself and I started to feel alive again. The flow of creativity and art became my therapy. Being able to pick up my camera again and take photos felt like heaven. Every shot I took felt different, somehow they looked even better than the shots I had taken before.
THE BIRTH OF THE ARTOGI MATS
One morning I was framing a beautiful piece art that had been sent to me as a get well gift. As I lay it flat I had by chance positioned it next to a plain yoga mat that I had been using as part of my gentle recovery session with my physio.
I wondered why I hadn’t seen any yoga mats with art on, why was art only confined to the walls? This inspired the idea to combine the two elements to create the union of art and healing. The healing power of yoga on my physical body and the energetic strength of art came together to create the ARTOGI yoga mats. This solidified the notion that we have the ability to make our lives more beautiful by incorporating art into our lives every day.
From that moment ARTOGI was born.
As we are all individuals, beautifully unique, so are each one of the mats. Each mat has their own meaning by the artist and is consciously produced. They don't have any PVC, they’re eco-friendly and biodegradable.
Each artist chosen, without prompt or knowing my story, synchronistically gave me works of art that represented the female warrior and Phoenix rising.
Unfortunately, I was not able to stay in Ibiza as living on an island with limited WIFI where a carrier pigeon would be faster to send files (which as a photographer isn’t ideal), so I made the incredibly hard decision to move back to London to give Artogi the best chance to succeed.
Upon returning to London, I soon realised that I was suffering with PTSD, I was reminded of everything that had happened on a daily basis and it consumed me.
I spent the best part of year explaining my mental health concerns to my doctor but there was little they could do with up to six months on any waiting list for a therapist. They could only offer me anti-depressants, which I really didn’t want to take, especially as I felt this was merely a sticking plaster on my feelings. It was then I committed to my mission to regain balance in myself. I looked at the three key areas of my life - my mind, my body and my soul. For years I used myself as a human guinea pig. I researched and documented countless nutritional plans, natural supplements, workout plans, meditations, mindfulness techniques and designed tools to help me stay in control. I knew I needed to understand the neuroscience behind it all and I had a hunger to learn so that I could make myself better.
Throughout this difficult journey I’d use my Artogi mats and draw strength and comfort from their art and meaning. They were always there as an affirmation to me that ’this too shall pass’ and to keep going.
What I learnt is that all of these key areas of our life need to be in balance. Even if one is slightly out, the triangle no longer exists, all the other areas are affected and you lose balance again in your life. This is what the A of the Artogi logo symbolises.
Artogi brings life to art.
Artogi is redemption.
Artogi is a reminder that art can heal.