Originating more than 5,000 years ago in India, yoga derives its name from the Sanskrit term ‘Yuj’ which means ‘to unite or union,’ embodying a profound connection. Hailing from an ancient tradition, yoga stands as a valuable relic of history.
Year by year, the popularity of yoga continues to surge, leading to increased expenditures on classes, apparel, and equipment. A large number of people are adopting this practice because of the transformative power it can have on both the body and the mind.
However, a notable fact is that numerous individuals remain unaware of the subtle factors that can impact the efficacy of their yoga practice. For instance, the environment in which yoga is practiced holds significance. Choosing to practice yoga in an enclosed room versus an open space near a cascading waterfall can result in distinctly diverse experiences and effects.
Comprehending the roles that yoga equipment assumes during the practice has sparked the inception of an exclusive, inventive, and environmentally friendly yoga equipment brand. Puja aptly named this brand “Juru Yoga.”
Let’s dive into the inspiring journey of Puja Sharma, the founder of Juru Yoga, as she took the yoga community by surprise with her innovative approach to yoga mats, blending traditional wisdom with modern sustainability.
Founded by Puja Sharma, Juru Yoga goes beyond being just a brand; it’s a movement that blends the principles of yoga with the urgent call for sustainable living and conscious practice. Puja’s path to establishing Juru Yoga wasn’t a straightforward one.
It was a mix of personal experiences, her yoga journey, and a strong connection with the environment. Puja’s Guruji introduced her to yoga 20 years ago when she was spending her holidays with family, in Chennai after completing her graduation from the UK and was busy preparing for her Master’s at a University in the USA.
After completing her first semester in the USA, her life took an unexpected turn. She returned to India to join her family’s textbook publishing business and was fully involved in it for the next 8 years. The practice of Yoga remained a constant through all the ups and downs in business and personal life.
It was during her yoga teacher’s training course in 2014 that the significance of yoga mats truly dawned on her. The conventional mats that were widely available were often not up to the mark; they wore out quickly, were slippery, and were not eco-friendly. Puja’s commitment to yoga’s holistic philosophy, which extends beyond postures to encompass a way of life, ignited her passion to provide a better alternative.
“I recall my Guruji’s advice, which emphasized wearing loose and breathable clothing since you’re focused on your breath while practicing yoga. Then, the concept of pressing one’s face into a plastic mat just didn’t align well with that guidance. That’s when my exploration into the composition of yoga mats began.”– Puja Sharma
Driven by her determination to offer a superior and sustainable solution, Puja embarked on a mission to create yoga mats that resonated with yogis at heart. Her vision was simple yet ground-breaking: to craft mats that were not just a surface to practice on, but a bridge between the practitioner and the Earth. And so, Juru Yoga was born.
“My quest for a suitable yoga mat led me to delve into the realm of well-known and eco-friendly yoga brands. Along the way, I gained insights into the harmful impacts that materials like PVC, TPE, Microfiber, and other synthetics can have on both our bodies and the environment.”– Puja Sharma
In her journey, Puja Sharma created yoga products with care with the help of partner manufacturers with whom she continues to work. She ensured they were non-toxic for safe practice. She knew yoga connected energy and believed plastic mats hindered it. So, she crafted natural mats, keeping breath and poses in mind.
The name “Juru” itself stands for the brand’s core values. A fusion of “Jute” and “Rubber,” the name captures the essence of natural materials and sustainability that lie at the heart of these mats. Puja’s dedication to creating a mat that was both natural and functional led her to explore materials like cork, cotton and rubber, shunning the harmful plastics that dominated the market.
Interestingly, the term ‘juu-roo’ signifies ‘eureka’ and ‘joy’ in certain tribal languages. Instead of exclaiming “Eureka,” we embraced the term “JURU!” This truly encapsulates the essence of JURU – an ideal companion for yoga enthusiasts seeking an environmentally conscious journey.
The path of entrepreneurship is rarely smooth, and Puja Sharma’s journey with Juru Yoga was no exception. Bootstrapped and driven by a passion for sustainability, she faced the hurdles of limited resources, market challenges, and the ever-evolving demands of the yoga community. However, her unstoppable commitment and the support of a growing community of dedicated yogis kept her moving forward.
“I think what has been the biggest inspiration is the feedback and love from the yoga community. I’m very happy to say that each and every customer of mine makes an effort to understand the difference we are trying to make as a brand and this has helped me understand their requirements as well as remain motivated to do better, regardless of the hurdles. It’s been six, seven years when it comes to the numbers. Covid-times set us back by at least three years easily. I’m still very much in the startup stage.”– Puja Sharma
The blend of natural rubber and cork, used in crafting these mats, creates a surface that’s non-slip, anti-microbial, and breathable. This fusion not only enhances the practice but also ensures that practitioners breathe in and out of materials that align with yoga’s holistic principles.
Crafting cozy yet sustainable mats without resorting to chemicals was no simple feat. Balancing traditional raw materials with contemporary demands presented a hurdle, yet the determination to press on remained unwavering. The journey has been characterized by twists and trials, each endeavor revealing something even more remarkable than the last. Notably, a recent accomplishment includes the introduction of eco-friendly cushioned mats, reflecting a significant advancement in their commitment to sustainability.
Inspired by global eco-yoga brands and India’s “make-in-India” initiative, we introduced our inaugural Indian-made anti-slip yoga mat overlay in 2014. Encouraged by our satisfied customers, and with the help of my partner manufacturers, I extended our research and development efforts to create all-natural, thick yoga mats and innovative yoga props.
This led us to an exclusive blend of cork and natural rubber, resulting in the first-ever reversible, antimicrobial, washable mat with unparalleled grip – perfect for daily practice. Today, our collection features a range of cork and natural rubber mats, and cotton mats in diverse colors, weights, and thicknesses.
Initiating her path with teacher training, she was fortunate to have friends and students who provided unwavering support to get started. Together, they embraced her vision and participation in yoga festivals helped connect with the global yoga community. This feedback assured her that JURU Yoga is a made-in-India, global yoga brand, and encouraged her to establish JURU Yoga Private Limited, in Chennai.
During this period, her father’s courageous battle with a spinal cord injury served as a powerful source of inspiration, fueling her determination to never give up. Her Guruji, the individual who introduced her to the practice of yoga, continues to shine as a guiding beacon in her life.
Though she had to take a break from teaching Yoga in the initial years of establishing JURU Yoga, Puja has now resumed her teaching journey. Fueled by the vibrant energy of yoga and bolstered by her Guru’s blessings, she continues to impart her knowledge, reflecting a remarkable dedication to both her craft and her personal growth.
A Vision to the Future
Similarly, engaging in yoga practice with purposeful equipment can lead to greater satisfaction compared to practicing without any accessories or using whatever is readily available. Puja, who has been dedicated to yoga for over 20 years, came to realize that she felt a deeper sense of tranquility and harmony when using a naturally crafted yoga mat compared to her previous experience with a plastic one.
Juru Yoga has not only created a range of sustainable yoga mats but has also ignited a conversation about the importance of conscious choices in our practice. With plans to expand internationally with the launch of www.juruyoga.co.uk and www.juruyoga.ae and spread the message of sustainable living through yoga, Puja envisions a future where Juru Yoga isn’t just a brand, but a lifestyle choice.
“I can just put a motivational quote while to end. As individuals navigating life, we often find ourselves in need of options that align with both our personal well-being and the health of our planet. The scarcity of such choices underscores the importance of brands that bridge this gap, offering sustainable solutions. To all those brands striving to make a positive impact and provide a haven for those seeking quality and sustainability, your efforts are truly commendable and resonate deeply with us as a broader human community.“– Puja Sharma
As we embrace the age of sustainability, Juru Yoga stands as a beacon of hope and innovation. Puja Sharma’s journey from a traditional family business to a sustainable yoga entrepreneur showcases the potential of individuals to make a significant impact on both the yoga community and the planet.
With Juru Yoga, the practice of yoga becomes a mindful journey towards physical wellness and a deeper connection with nature. Inspiring as Puja’s story was for Mad4India, I hope you’ll take the time to explore her world by visiting @juruyoga and @www.juruyoga.com .
If you loved reading about this story, you’ll also love reading: Italians’ Love For Their Country Inspired This 26-YO To Start Design Clinic India; Captivating Design To Show The Vibrancy Of India.