Happy International Yoga Day

How surviving breast cancer led me on my journey to become a dedicated yogi:

“I open my heart everyday to new opportunities and experiences. Going to yoga class is a way for me to reconnect with the flow of the moments of life.”
— Margery Gaffin

Over a dozen years ago I was recovering from my last round of chemotherapy for breast cancer. At times like these, small moments in life take on a different significance. You are ‘connected’ to the flow of life in a very different way. This came to me in an odd and unusual way:

After my treatments were over, One day I was chopping onions to prepare a nutritious soup and I suddenly was struck by the idea  “how wonderful it is that I am just chopping onions!”   That’s when it started for me. I began to realize fully how grateful and appreciative I am for my life and my health and how much “I love my life“.

This was when I began to explore yoga which for me has meant being in the moment and fully appreciating that – not worrying about what already happened or what might happen – just being. During yoga class, and in my home practice, I was at peace concentrating just on the moment, the alignment, and the breath.

Classes became a ritual for me. I experienced soulful introductions with emphasis on opening my heart, listening to my inner voice, inspiring chants, and soft, yet stringent adherence to alignment: alignment to the flow of grace, to my inner guru.

One of my yoga teachers said she is “dedicated to bringing spiritual awareness and joy to her students, in hopes to inspire them to live their truth.” I feel so blessed to have experienced so many inspiring teachers. I remain awed by the supreme significance of little things in everyday life.

Yoga is a major part of my everyday life and the phrase “I love my life” has fully sunk in and reverberated through me.  I am, as my inspiring yoga teachers have said:, “grateful that I CAN practice yoga in this lifetime.”

The culmination of all this being, breathing and yoga have led me to express this sentiment in a very special bag called, The Love My Life Healthy Back Bag. It is an elegant and subtle version of our organically shaped Healthy Back Bag. It expresses the affirmation of the positivity in life; the appreciation of MY Life. Each and every one of you can feel the same way about your life. This bag is not only about just loving the obvious wonderful things that occur now and then, but the little ordinary wonderful everyday things – even chopping onions.


EVP Margery Gaffin, Co-Founder of AmeriBag / Co-Creator of the Healthy Back Bag®




*International Yoga Day is celebrated each year on June 21st, the longest day of the year. It was initiated in October 14, 2014 by the UN General Assembly: Yoga is an invaluable gift of India’s ancient tradition. It embodies unity of mind and body; thought and action; restraint and fulfillment; harmony between man and nature; a holistic approach to health and well-being. It is not about exercise but to discover the sense of oneness with yourself, the world and nature. By changing our lifestyle and creating consciousness, it can help in well being. Let us work towards adopting an International Yoga Day. — Narendra Modi, UN General Assembly

Positive Change

The Greek philosopher, Heraclitus, once said “Change is the only constant in life.” Often, change can feel disrupting and overwhelming, but with patience and an open mind you can find that it is usually a positive thing. Things develop up to a point, a tipping point, and then comes change. We see this in nature too, dragonflies and butterflies both change into things of utter beauty. It would be wonderful if we could all welcome change and embrace the excitement of it. Instead, we often have a tendency to react with fear and even anxiety.  Here at AmeriBag, we have always tried to shift that pattern of thinking and welcome the new. Perhaps you can too.

Pine Grove Avenue Kingston, NY

This June, AmeriBag is celebrating our 30th year in business! (HORRAY!) We have been grateful to evolve over time. So much of our evolution came because of the incredible loyalty and support to us and our products. However, part of reaching this milestone, was the act of welcoming change.

We started as a contract house for LLBean, Jansport and other recognizable brands, based on Irwin Gaffin’s freelance design work. We made their bags with their name on them.  Slowly we built up from Irwin’s leather craftsmanship and design to have our own beautiful line of fine leather goods eagerly sought after by many admirers, including the rich and famous. 

Greenkill Avenue Kingston, NY

At that time, we had our own little showroom which very quickly became quite popular to Hudson Valley, New York locals. (See Image: Pine Grove Avenue Kingston, NY) A couple years later we purchased a gorgeous historic building and continued to sell from our own showroom. This move was a big change and scary but was truly wonderful and led to more growth for our company. (See Image: Greenkill Avenue, Kingston, NY)

Wall Street Kingston, NY

Soon after (1993) we developed and patented our signature product: “The Healthy Back Bag ®”.  This fabulous product began its popularity in Japan and soon gained popularity nationwide being introduced in the famous Norm Thompson catalog and eventually worldwide. This new adventure came about after one of our ‘tipping points’ and forever changed the direction of AmeriBag. We were blessed to have such loyal customers near and far, supporting our changes and evolving business. We were learning to trust that change was a positive thing.

Ulster Avenue Kingston, NY

The Healthy Back Bag became so popular that we opened a free standing store in adorable historic Kingston, NY (See Image: Wall Street Kingston, NY). Again, change was POSITIVE! It was a beautiful store but a few years later we saw another opportunity for change and moved our store to a sweet spot near like-minded shopping. (See Image: Ulster Avenue Kingston, NY) We also sold shoes there which was a fun compliment to the Healthy Back Bag. Everyone LOVED that!

It was time for another change – we had moved into a massive building equipped for local manufacturing and warehousing and decided to open our own outlet “Company Store” with everyday discounts. Again, this was positive and our loyal community supported us. Around the same time we opened up a ‘sister’ company in the UK. For a minute, we had fear and anxiety about such a large endeavor, but what is the theme here? Positive change..not just change. Our London office now sells worldwide to over 26 countries. Can you say WOW!

The Healthy Back Bag has been welcomed everywhere by all descriptions – young, old, commuters, travelers, professionals, and adventurists male and female! It is truly the bag for “Whoever you are, wherever you go, whatever you do!

AmeriBag Drive Kingston, NY

Now we are facing our next chapter of AmeriBag, the Healthy Back Bag Company. We have restructured our operations to meld with our growth and the ever-changing times. We will continue have local events to celebrate and give back to our community while also bettering functionality and service to our loyal customers wherever they are and wherever they go. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for all of the love, support and encouragement along this 30 year adventure. We cannot wait to see what the future holds for AmeriBag!

Moral? Look within your own story, recognize those tipping points when something you feared turned into something better, different or uncharted. Now remember that for next time. There is always good on the other side, it is just up to you to find it and make the most out of change.

By: Margery Gaffin

HBB Mother’s Day Gift Guide

With Mother’s Day right around the corner, we’ve put together three collections of HBB’s to help you choose the perfect gift for mom. The Everyday Mom, Stylish Mom, and Active Mom. Using the code “LOVEYOURMAMA” you can save 15% off your purchase. Happy shopping!

‘The Everyday Mom’

This mom needs tools to help her keep on top of her long list of things to do. She is constantly taking on new projects and encouraging her family and friends to do the same. She likes to remain active and engaged in her community. This HBB is perfect for staying organized on the go.

‘The Active Mom’

This mom never forgets to focus on her own wellbeing. She prioritizes her health because she knows if she is not taken care of – she will be unable to provide for the ones she loves. This mom frequents fitness classes or walking around the block with a friend. This HBB is perfect for physical activities like yoga, or running after your little ones!

‘The Stylish Mom’

For the mom who, no matter how much she has going on, always has time to throw on some lipstick and earrings. She values the way she looks and feels. This mom has an incredible work ethic and needs to be able to go from taking care of her kids to leading an important meeting. With this HBB she is able to multitask like never before- all while looking as stylish, as ever.