ZEN FRIENDS inspiration comes from a powerful quote by the Dalai Lama : "If every 8 year old in the world is taught meditation, we will eliminate violence from the world in one generation."
Kristina Butterfield, the creator of Zen Friends, came up with the idea for these adorable sloths as a way to help children understand and work through their different emotions. With 3 kids of her own, Kristina wanted to find a way to get her kids involved and interested in learning mindfulness, meditation and yoga; so that they were better equipped to go through life.
"I wanted to empower my kids with the knowing that they are the co-creators of their own lives, and that loving themselves is the key to their happiness."
With the rise in our society of youth anxiety, depression and suicide - Kristina knew she wanted to help on a much larger scale, but she didn't know how. "There were multiple suicides at my neighborhood local high school, and it was heartbreaking to know that so many of these kids didn't value their lives or their own worth in this world. My mind kept returning to The Dalai Lama's quote, and I knew without a doubt that the answer to prevention lied within teaching our children how to connect with their inner self and learn meditation."
Kristina woke from her sleep one night with the incredible idea to make a stuffed animal to guide people in meditation. "I sat straight up in bed with the realization that I had to make a cuddly best friend that children could feel a connection with. The very next morning I started working on bringing my vision to life." Kristina and her mom began designing and sewing prototypes at home on her kitchen table. She shared her vision of Zen Friends on social media; and had incredible feedback and support. The realization was immediate that this was going to have a much bigger impact than she had originally thought. "I went from thinking that just my mom and I could make these from my home, to knowing that I needed a manufacturer so I could get these out nationwide."
Zen Friends is 3 years in the making, with so much more in the works!
Yoga kids and meditation companion creator and CEO, Kristina Butterfield.