Catherine Florez de Uria, the founder of De Uria yoga mats, spent more than ten years as a private banker in Switzerland. From the very beginning, she knew that this wasn’t the life for her. She was passionate about yoga, travel, and the environment, and she wanted to do something meaningful, something in line with her passions that helped to make the world a better place. In 2014, she took a chance. She left her career to travel around the world for a year and find out how to live her life to its fullest potential, how to develop her creativity and bring her life into alignment with her passions, values, and yoga practice.
Catherine felt a call, deep within her heart, to work with her creativity and to do something good for the environment and for the people that share the planet. She also wanted to step into a career that would allow her to travel, to experience the beauty and variety of the world up close and personal.
After travelling through a number of developing countries, Catherine realized that there are so many communities that are underprivileged. Many of the people in these communities have amazing skills, experience in working with beautiful traditional handicrafts. She realized that she wanted to work with these people, to help these communities improve their standard of living and keep these traditions alive by bringing them to the rest of the world.
Another insight came in 2014 as Catherine attended a yoga teacher training program in India. She found that, unlike in the west, the Indian people don’t practice on rubber yoga mats. Instead, they use mats made of natural materials. This allows the body to remain connected with the earth during practice, to stimulate the flow of prana or universal energy between the body and the source of all health and life. Catherine realized that this was an amazing opportunity to offer a deeper access to yogic tradition, to offer completely organic, natural mats to Western yogis.
It took over a year of research and development, as well as networking, sourcing, and coordination, but Catherine was able to work with a cooperative of Indian villagers to create a beautiful yoga mat, 100% natural and ethically sourced. These mats are made from organic cotton and gum tree rubber, infused with therapeutic Ayurvedic herbs for color and healing properties. What’s more, in discovering this cooperative, she was able to improve the lives of these villagers, helping them to establish a higher standard of living for themselves and their families.
But this was only the beginning. The product was born, but the next step was to create a channel to bring it to those who could benefit. And so, in 2016, the De Uria brand was born. De Uria is more than a business. It’s an ethic and a means for improving the world. This is reflected in the logo, which combines the symbols for the heart and root chakra. The mission of De Uria is to anchor the healing, connective energies of the heart into the earth, to channel loving energy into the material world.
The De Uria mat was launched in 2017, and two years later they had spread around the world, from Europe to Australia, with markets expanding in the Emirates and the USA. True to the ideal of the brand, these mats are unique in every way. They hold to authentic yogic tradition and are aligned with sustainability, both for the earth and for all people involved in their creation. This quickly caught the attention of the media in France and Switzerland, where the De Uria line was first launched.
Catherine wanted to take it further, to benefit these underprivileged communities further and provide better access in the west to sustainable, environmentally friendly fabrics. So, she has gone on to expand her audience and to market new lines, including premium organic bath towels and a capsule collection of yoga clothing, all designed and created with the same principle and components. As De Uria grows, it continues to benefit communities across the world and offer sustainable alternatives to yoga products.
Behind the Founder
Catherine has always had a deep love for the world, for the environment and the different people and cultures across the globe. This has manifested, in part, in a love for travel. She loves to immerse herself in different cultures all over the world, to explore different viewpoints, find new inspiration and new ideas, and to experience the traditions and handicrafts that have been kept alive by these cultures. She also loves photography, as it lets her capture a moment, a feeling, in her journey, and share it with those around her.
Catherine discovered meditation during her Eastern Philosophy studies at University when she was 19 years old. This changed her life, helping her to deepen her understanding of herself and bring her life into alignment with her ideals. She began her practice of yoga in 2007 and soon realized that it was a key to living her truth. She went on to study under the guidance of BNS Iyengar, Sri Dharma Mittra, and many other great yogis. Her daily practice is Hatha yoga, Dharma yoga, and Babaji Kriya yoga, and she also likes to practice Kundalini yoga and other styles from time to time.
One of Catherine’s deepest goals is to share her sensitivity to the needs of the environment. She hopes to spread awareness around environmentally friendly products, ethical production, and conscious consumption. Every individual action counts, no matter how small may seem. Catherine hopes to inspire all those she touches to follow their hearts and live blissful lives, lives that benefit the planet and those we share the world with.
“When you bring heart and mind together, you can manifest anything you imagine. To really make it work, though, we have to get past ourselves. We all have negative thoughts, self-sabotaging patterns, and limiting behaviors. To step into our potential, the potential to live fulfilling, happy lives that benefit the world around us, the first step is to face these limitations fearlessly and step into gratitude. When we bring a clear and focused mind together with a grateful heart, the blocks fall away and our lives becomes more amazing than we ever thought possible.”
If you want to know more, follow her journey on our blog or her IG account: @cat_deuria