Interview with Mika Yoga Wear founder Laura Costa

Posted: Feb 24 2012

We were really excited when we first discovered Mika Yoga Wear to use in the Pole Motion DVD and wanted to bring the amazing clothing range to the UK. Popular with polers and yoga fans alike, Mika has many fans worldwide and is renowned for it's beautiful colours. We talk to founder Laura Costa to find out more...

1.How and when did you first get interested in yoga and what made you become a teacher?
In my first month of moving to college I took my fist yoga class in San Luis Obispo. A girlfriend brought me to a yoga studio in town and told me it was amazing, so I thought it would be fun to try something new.

After my first class, I felt an energy I had never experienced before...and that feeling made me keep coming back for more. There is no other workout I have found that compares to the way I feel after practicing yoga. It was because of this passion for yoga that I decided to become a yoga teacher.

I feel totally inspired each time I teach a class and always in different ways: whether it's experiencing a class moving together, seeing the focus and determination of someone giving it their all in a posture, or seeing the dedication of the “regulars” who come consistently day after day (sometimes twice a day!).  It feels great to be part of such a supportive yoga community.

2.How long have you been teaching and where do you teach?
I have been teaching since 2008 at Bikram Yoga SLO.

3.What is it about yoga that you enjoy the most?
My yoga practice has helped me grow into who I am today.  I feel like my practice has given me the strength and confidence to do whatever I put my mind to. I am beyond grateful for finding yoga, and know that I will continue to use it to create as much balance as a I can in my life.

4.What are the main fitness benefits of yoga and how has it improved your fitness, strength or body shape and wellbeing?
Yoga brings so many physical and mental benefits... I appreciate the mental clarity and balance yoga brings to me. It helps me to relieve stress and let go of my thoughts, and helps me focus on just being in the moment. Being present is something I value tremendously in life, and I notice that the more I keep up with my yoga practice, the more present and balanced I am in my everyday life.

5.What are your 3 favourite yoga positions and why? (this can be your current 3 or all time favourite 3)
 It changes! so these are my current:

1) Full Locust: I love this posture because it makes me feel free when I'm in it! It's a great posture for improving strength in the middle spine, it firms up my legs and bum, and opens up my upper body.

2) Rabbit: I noticed that over the years, I tend to go deeper in my back-bends than forward-bends, so have come to really value this posture - it stretches the spine and is a maximum extension exercise, so it helps bring more balance to my spine.

3) Savasana. Ok, so this might not be considered a posture, but it is a part of yoga that is essential to the practice & really, who doesn't like savasana?!  After a hard working yoga session, it feels amazing to be able to take at least 10 or 15 minutes to  just lay & seal your practice. Your body needs this rest too, so not only does it feel good, but it is actually helps ease your fatigue & helps bring your circulation back to normal.

6.If someone has never tried yoga before how do they get started? 
There are so many yoga studios and practices out there, it can be overwhelming to pick which one to go to! If you are open to practicing in the heat, Bikram Yoga is amazing to try out--the heat really helps to stretch and strengthen much deeper, and sweating all the toxins out is great for your mind and body.

Most studios offer an intro-type package; I suggest checking out a few studios around your area and take advantage of any deals they may have so you can see which studio would be a good fit for you.

In any type of yoga class you decide to try, the most important thing is to go into it with an open mind. Your goal for your 1st class is to complete it! Do as much as you can, listen closely to your instructor, and listen to what is going on in your body. Your patience will be tested, so be able to forgive yourself if you are faced with challenges; acknowledge how your body feels, not passing judgments on yourself, and be present in the moment.

7.How did Mika Yoga Wear come about? What made you decide to design your own range of yoga clothing? 
While I was at yoga teacher training, I was going through a ton of yoga clothes each day, and grew frustrated with the quality and price my yoga clothes were at the time. I talked to my husband about my frustration, and mentioned ideas for creating my own flattering yoga pieces.  That's when we said, "maybe this is something we could create together!".  When I came back from training, we went for it--starting very small, with just a few designs and Mika came to be!

We came up with the name "Mika", because we have always talked about having a little girl someday and naming her Mikaela. "Mika" is short for her name, and since this was the first thing we created together, we thought it went well with our story.

8.The Mika range is full of beautiful colours and designs with such attention to detail. Where do you get the inspiration for your clothing designs and colours? 
I am inspired mostly when I am teaching or practicing a yoga class, or seeing women move in dance performances. It's not only important for the clothes to be functional, but also important how the clothes move with a woman's body.

We all come in different shapes and sizes, so I think it's important to be aware of how different shapes and styles of clothing move, feel, and look on our bodies. I also get inspired by asking women what they look for in their workout clothes. It's great to get feedback directly from women that will wear  the clothes themselves, and I take their suggestions and feedback to heart.  We do our best to listen to our customers' needs and feel this has helped shaped our line as to what it is today, and it will continue to help inspire our line in the future.

9.What’s next for you in the coming year?  
We'd love to see our line continue to grow and be featured in more dance, yoga, fitness centers, and clothing boutiques around the world. We hope to also broaden our range of products and are looking forward to adding "after workout" wear to our collection in this next year as well!  Above everything else, we hope to continue to produce  products that are fresh, feminine, comfortable and flattering for active women around the world.

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