Carolina Saboya met her boyfriend, Ariel, in November of 2013 at Ecstatic Dance in Oakland, a bi-weekly freeform dance gathering. This serendipitous encounter would become the catalyst to a long and meaningful journey of hard work and personal development that would eventually become IMBŌDHI.
“We met in conscious movement, and conscious movement became the foundation of our relationship.”
In the year leading up to the inception of IMBŌDHI, the couple was living together in Berkeley, California. She was a full time college student at San Francisco State University, while Ariel was “living and breathing his work as the co-founder of a San Francisco-based juice company, Thistle.”
After college, the couple yearned for more. Ariel left Thistle in search of a more balanced lifestyle and Carolina began working as a caregiver to a man with a significant physical disability. The couple also started teaching occasional acroyoga classes.
“We had come to the realization that life is only meaningful inasmuch as we are actually present, here in our bodies, to experience it. This birthed what we began to call ‘Operation Embodiment’: Our new lifelong pursuit of fine-tuning and strengthening our bodies in order to maximize our experience as beings in physical form.”
He talked about the time they would set aside each morning to practice growing their awareness and refining their sensitivity to sensations within their bodies and physical environment. This included a variety of practices such as qi gong, yoga, trail running, barefoot hiking, contact improvisation, meditation and acroyoga.
“We are two people who love to build and create. And we find it essential to feel free, agile and aware in our bodies while doing so.”
“About 10 months ago, we realized we wanted to channel this energy into building a brand around this ethos — creating gear for embodied living.”
And that is how IMBŌDHI came to be.
Why create IMBŌDHI?
“In September 2015, we were driving up the California coast to Oregon for Divine Play (the world’s largest Acroyoga festival) and were brainstorming how to feel more free of distractions when doing acro and decided we needed to level up our gear. Then we started painting the visual of the IMBŌDHI Bodysuit.”
Carolina explained that the idea of the bodysuit began to fuse with their Operation Embodiment.
“We wanted the brand to promote embodied living, above all else; to celebrate people’s unique journey in their body. We also wanted a platform to share the wisdom of individuals who have an established embodiment practice.”
Why is the IMBŌDHI Bodysuit necessary? What are the other active-wear companies missing?
Carolina and Ariel fervently agreed that the active-wear industry is missing something.
“First, it isn’t easy to find a good bodysuit, and impossible to find one that is made with technical grade fabric and intelligent design,” Carolina said.
In terms of marketing active-wear, Carolina and Ariel insisted that people want to see more bodies that look like theirs.
“Our bodysuits are for all different generations, ethnicities, and body types. With the majority of young women having a negative self-body image, we think it’s time to move the conversation toward a more holistic and loving view of the self.”
Beyond that, Carolina couldn’t help but mention that active-wear options have always been inherently limited — leggings, tank tops and sports bras.
There is definitely a time and place for leggings and a tank top. But it’s not the most practical combo for most sports. In yoga, pilates, lyra, and aerial silks, tank tops frequently ride up the body, and in acro, feet and hands get caught in the pant seam.
Most athletes just accept these wardrobe complications as a part of the practice. But they don’t have to be.