top of page
  • Writer's pictureKaren Seiger

Inspired By Yoga Part 1: Off The Mat Soaps, Scents and Sprays

[nggallery id=23]

The beautiful and peaceful smells coming from a table at the Brooklyn Indie Market last fall floated up into my subconscious and made me stop walking.  But it was the incredible enthusiasm and huge smile of the artisan Iosellev Castañeda, or Josie, as she’s known in the markets, that made me stay, chat, and learn.

Everything that Josie makes is based on the principles of yoga.  She is a certified yoga instructor, but she found that talking with people one on one in the markets is much more to her liking than being in front of a class.   Off the Mat is her brand of yoga-inspired soaps, perfumes, candles and accessories.  She makes all of her products by hand, combining her passion for the teachings of a yoga lifestyle with her professional experience as a fashion designer.

Her products are all very carefully conceived and made with the highest quality ingredients, mostly vegan, that make them such a pleasure to use.  I have become one of her customers who does not practice yoga, but I’m learning more about it every time I see her.  If you do happen to know a thing or two about yoga, you have found a passionate kindred spirit in Josie.  She is happy for her products to start conversations about yoga, or healthy lifestyles, or frankly anything that makes anyone happy.

I first tried her fragrant soaps based on the seven Chakras.  Packaged in rainbow colors, the Chakra Collection soaps filled up my shower with earthy botanical scents.  My favorite one is the red one, or Muladhara, which represents foundation, stability, or root support.  I have no idea what that means about me, but I really loved the soaps!

Off the Mat’s Black Label line also includes soaps, perfumed oils and sprays, and soy candles.  These products are based on the spices, scents and cultures of India and Mexico, and they contain Indian “attars,” or flower- and spice-based fragrances distilled in water using low heat and pressure.  The  “Elixir of the Gods” scent is a chocolate perfume made from cocoa beans.  When I wear it, I actually get the same happy feeling that I get when I eat chocolate, only all day long and guilt-free.  “White Amber” is clean and spicy, while “Patchouli” is deep and sensuous.

The newest set of products is the Red Label, based on the concept of “kama,” or pleasure (think “Kama Sutra”).  These soaps, oils, sprays, and candles come in four scents: Kama (bright florals), Yuj (warm florals and honey), Agni (warm, spicy, clove), and Maha (fruity floral, fig).  Each one not only smells divine, but comes infused with 14K gold shimmer.   All of the products from Off the Mat have wonderful packaging, but the Red Line is particularly special, with designs by artist Mayya Cherepova.

Always innovating, Josie also makes jewelry and handbags from upcycled yoga mats.  She uses unsold (and unused) stock for her accessories.  But if you have a favorite yoga mat that’s seen better days, she’ll custom make it into a great pair of earrings and a shoulder bag for you.  She also has two other product lines,  the White Label and Botanical Collection that also both smell great.

You can check the website for locations to meet Josie and purchase her wonderful products.  She will have a boutique at the Brooklyn Collective from March through May, and she will also be at the Brooklyn Lyceum’s Spring Food and Craft Market.  When the warmer weather arrives, you will find her back at the Brooklyn Indie Market.



Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page