What started out as a passion project for YogaLove founder Monique Borja-Gonzalez has been transformative for many. In the middle of the global pandemic, she finds peace with loved ones and trains a spotlight on businesses in need.
With the everyday stresses that come with living in a bustling city, it is natural for people to find ways to cope. For Monique Borja-Gonzalez, her respite was yoga.
“There was a period when I would walk, talk, and breathe yoga and this was when YogaLove was born,” says Gonzalez of the lifestyle brand she started in 2013. From essential oils to healing creams to sanitizing sprays, YogaLove embraces wellness and a positive lifestyle describes its founder. “I wanted to create one that was natural based, soothing, and most of all, smelled good,” she shares.
From years of practicing yoga and sharing it with others, Gonzalez developed a mantra, one that could easily be related to her brand. “When I was teaching yoga, I would always say ‘One breath, one movement. Don’t force things and just let it be.’” Initially, YogaLove was meant for the teachers and students of the studio she used to co-own, but more people outside that yoga community learned about it. “I still get so surprised and giddy when I see how much our customers enjoy using our products on and off the mat,” she adds.
Like many other businesses, the pandemic affected YogaLove, and it did so even as its product line was being refined. Demand for their creams and sprays continued, but they weren’t able to supply much last year given production and delivery restrictions.
However, months into the pandemic, YogaLove gradually learned to adapt, which Gonzalez says is because of the hard work that her team put in. Market research is key for her team, and she says they are always on the hunt for quality ingredients. They want ones that target work-life balance, proper stress management, and strengthening of the immune system—all of which, coincidentally, are naturally in high demand during a pandemic.
Apart from focusing on their brand during the pandemic, empathy fueled the desire to lend a hand. “As a business owner, it was heartbreaking to see businesses close so we wanted to help—launching #YLCommunity #YogaLoveCares,” she shares. They featured fitness instructors and small businesses on their social sites to help promote their goods and services.
Spaces to rest
With years of yoga practice and teaching experience, Gonzalez isn’t afraid to admit there were times when she is unmotivated. “I was never really a purist as a yoga practitioner or teacher. I wouldn’t force myself if I wasn’t feeling all too excited to get on the mat,” she explains. To energize herself, she does her morning fitness routine either through cardio classes or jump rope drills. The boost of endorphins calibrates her mind and body in the proper state to tackle the rest of the day.
Committing to such a routine helps, especially in adjusting to the restrictions of the pandemic. With work arrangements and studies drastically changing, Gonzalez admits to sometimes feeling overwhelmed. As with the rest of the world, navigating through a COVID-19 world was a learning curve for her. Thankfully, her afternoon walks with her husband and her two kids help her cope and unwind from the pandemic stress.
“I realized how passion has so much to do with everything I am involved in,” Gonzalez says. Although she admits it is a struggle, she pushes herself and encourages her team to pull through. “YL started as a passion project. It still is and I will always give it the same enthusiasm as I did eight years ago… I made a giant step to bring it a few notches higher. It was time to grow.”
Now, they launched their official website where customers can shop for their wide range of products, including their latest YogaLove Essential Oil blend. They have different variants like Energy that uplifts mood and Relax that soothes anxiety and induces sleep.
While YogaLove is still navigating the developments during the pandemic, Gonzalez talks about a similar experience. “We realize the true meaning of ‘family first,’” she muses. Like the brand, she and her family are continuously recalibrating. “Many has been said about the silver linings of [2020’s] experience, [but] I embrace it and have truly found contentment and happiness amidst all that is happening,” she says.
For more information on YogaLove, visit their website.