In 2016, Natalie Holloway and her husband, Max Kislevitz, both certified yoga instructors and daily practitioners were on a six-month sabbatical in Asia. Although they were engaged in yoga classes that were often exhausting, they were also looking for ways to push themselves and increase the effects of their daily workouts.
As health and exercise enthusiasts, they were aware the benefits of adding weights to an exercise routine. Standard weights, however, require the use of your hands, and don’t allow for the flexibility of hand movements that is often required by yoga poses. They also wanted something that was easy to travel with, and as a bonus would look stylish!
While still in Asia, they started thinking about redesign, materials and styles that would update the old, clunky hand weights into a one-size-fits-all solution that wouldn’t slip, slide, pinch, or restrict movement. Enlisting the help of an industrial designer, they worked on prototypes over the next year and in April of 2017 initiated a Kickstarter campaign that raised $50,448, from 381 backers.
Manufacture of the prototypes was undertaken by a firm in Hong Kong and the process was comprehensive and detailed. Holloway and Kislevitz were determined to get the product perfect and the necessary redesigns created some unexpected delays in their initial timeline. While this was a challenge to overcome, it was also a valuable learning experience. In an interview on Voyage LA on April 23, 2019, Holloway noted that brand new businesses will always face obstacles and that she learned to “roll with the punches.” You have to just learn to deal with them and move on, she said.
Holloway and Kislevitz named their new product “Bala,” which means “strength” in Sanskrit. Bala Bangles are made with cast iron bars coated with medical-grade silicone, making them resistant to sweat and dishwasher safe. With an elastic binding, they are comfortable and do not slip. Bala comes in numerous fashionable colors that appeal to both men and woman, and in one-pound or two-pound weight. Initially developed with yoga in mind, Bala Bangles can also be used while hiking, swimming, or running, as well as around the house or on a walk through the neighborhood.
A review written by Molly Longman onon July 3, 2019, said the Bangles are “effectively cute, functional bracelets, and they’re all the rage at New York boutique pilates studios these days.” Longman was drawn to the Bala Bangles primarily because she could “accessorize” while working out, but several of her colleagues confirmed they are helpful in improving their workouts. Bailey King of the Philly Voice, referred to the Bala Bangles as a “very millennial-friendly upgrade” to the retro fitness accessory.
On 12/31/19, writer Talia Abbas of Glamor admitted that she suffered from “imposter syndrome” whenever she entered a gym and felt incredibly uncomfortable going into the “bro-y weight room.” Bala Bangles, she said, are cute and stylish looking, and allow her to gain the health advantage of weights while working out at home or going on power walks.