Sunday, March 19, 2017

From a post-partum mommy to yoga teacher - the journey and the learning

Yoga has been my daily go-to practice for over three years now and it's been a kind of meditation on the mat, nourishing me on an everyday basis. I wrote this little 'essay' about what yoga means to me while studying for my Yoga Teacher's Certification, and recently dusted it out from a dormant folder to share it with all of you. 

My son was born 3.5 years ago, and the birth and what happened right after, turned my bones into mush. Well, not really. But I did feel like my bones creaked, and I had aches and pains that I had never suffered from before. Suddenly, in those two weeks after my son’s birth (the post-birth period that’s considered so sacred and crucial in a new mother’s journey), my body seemed to go from being strong and balanced to achy and weak. I now understand the reasoning behind the ancient philosophy which recommends that mothers use this post-partum time to rest and rejuvenate.

So, in spite of exercising all through my pregnancy and eating nourishing foods, the post-birth trauma left me with a physical form that felt it belonged to someone so much older. My moods went out of whack - a combination of post-birth hormones and lack of sleep. And I piled on the weight quickly because I used to be perpetually ravenous after feeding an equally ravenous baby round the clock.

I got back to going for long walks and doing a bit of post-partum yoga. But as the months rolled on, I wondered if I’d ever get back even half the stamina and strength that I had before my son was born. I understood that body shapes change and that the birth of a child changes you in more ways than one. But I also wasn’t ready to accept this much-chubbier version of myself and didn’t quite know how embrace the person I had become.

That’s when I turned to yoga. I searched for yoga classes in our area and found none. I bought yoga videos but craved for more new routines. I saw online classes, but couldn’t understand the safe foundations for the poses. I was desperate to work with a yoga teacher, but when I couldn’t fine one where we live, I decided to become one. I worked from ground up.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Sari Love in New York - Meet the eclectic Kavita Srinivasan Rao

I'm grateful to have 'met' a whole bunch of interesting women through my sari blog. And today, I'm happy to introduce you to one such sari pal - Kavita Srinivasan Rao, a designer who creates up-cycled jewelery and writes poetry.

Please tell us about yourself – what you do, where do you live, your interests, family.

I used to be an IT-finance consultant once upon a time, but that seems likes ages ago. Now, I design and make (up-cycled and sustainable) jewelry, and dare to call myself a full time poet. I devour books and I love to dance - be it Kathak, Bharatnayam, Salsa, contemporary or good old Bollywoodesque. Music enthralls me, any time, every time. 
I live with my husband in an electric and charming New York. 

I absolutely love your sari style. How would you describe it?

I would like to call it casual, bordering on traditional, with hints of chic and bohème. The latter is perhaps a result of the poet in me. 

What kind of saris do you enjoy wearing, and what kind of occasions do you wear them for?

Cotton cotton cotton! And then, a little bit of silk. I dig sarees with texture. I like them thickish, roughish, heavy, and definitely unstarched. The khadis, linens, malkhas and Kotpads give me goose bumps. So do raw silks and tussars.
These days, I find myself wearing saris to every place, from parks to pubs, from pujas to parties, and even on no-outing days. 

Do you wear the sari the simple way, where you use what you have to create new styles or do you enjoy a more decadent style, with different kinds of blouses/jewellery/footwear?

I often find myself draping saris the regular way, but there have been a few times when I have experimented. My experiments are usually a result of the absolute need for convenience, or some sudden curiosity. I make it a point to never repeat a blouse-sari pair. Wearing the same sari with different blouses/accessories gives me the feeling of newness. Repetition tends to bore me.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

3 of my favorite body care products in March

Over the past year, I’ve been slowly replacing chemical-laden body care products with handmade, gentle and natural alternatives. We make some and buy the others from entrepreneurs or self-help groups across the country. The idea is to own fewer products, but cherish the magic in each little bottle, box or jar that we source.

Fresh, handmade, sourced from small businesses and most-importantly, crafted with earth and body friendly ingredients, this month's goodies are making me feel good :).

I’d love to share three of my favorites this month (every month, I’ll share a few of my current fav things).

Disclaimer: I’m not being paid to recommend these products.

Apricot body oil from Aarohi: Like bottles of liquid gold, these nourish my skin in the dry and not-yet-summer days. In a season, when olive oil becomes too thick and heat-inducing to apply, and coconut oil seems a bit too light, this sunshine-yellow apricot oil with its faint aroma of crushed apricot seeds is like a slice of heaven. Cold-pressed and made by women in the hills near Nainital, this oil is a good alternative to store-bought lotions.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

10 Reasons why I write about the Sari

Do you want the honest truth? I never set out to be a sari blogger, let alone a sari wearer. 

Though I’ve loved the sari since I was a little girl, it wasn’t my go-to attire for many years. And when I did start wearing the 6-yards of elegance often, mostly for work assignments in the heartland of India and to rambunctious fauji parties, I never really consciously thought about the sari as more than a garment. Till I read an article about how the sari is dying a slow death, and how if we weren’t careful, it would end up being a costume than the tradition, story, heritage and history that it really is.

So, here’s the reason why I write about the sari – and believe me, it’s got very less to do with fashion.

1. I want to do my itsy bitsy bit in saving the sari from its costume-future. I mean, like Yoga and Ayurveda, we’ll soon have the West educating us about the beauty and benefits of the sari – and rightly so, if we aren’t very careful about preserving this piece of tradition.

2. I’d like to bring forth the story behind each sari. The stories of weavers toiling over manual looms in huts lit with lanterns.

Amy Aribam - a sari diva, mom and founder of ARIA Ethnic & Amaria

3. I want to draw attention to the fact that each sari really is a piece of art, not just a garment meant to hibernate in our steel trunks. Just look at the number of sari weaving traditions and styles across India, and each one is as intricate and beautiful as the other.

4. I’d like women to feel just as good in a sari as in a pair of jeans. For a long time, I’d get exasperated questions like “Why are you wearing a sari today?” or “Why not jeans?”, and I really couldn’t understand why the sari bothers some people so much. I still don’t. But you want my honest opinion – this graceful garment can only make you look better, not worse. So how does it matter where you wear it to!

Monday, March 6, 2017

Why today is a gift + a wellness plan

On some level and at different degrees, I’ve embraced the fact that a healthy life is a gift. That even the most ordinary days are extraordinary if we wake up to acknowledge and live this piece of truth. 

But the light of this truth ebbs and flows, depending on what’s on my to-do list, who has said what about me, where am I on that particular day etc etc. Our daily routines, the tug of war that we fill up our schedules with, the minutiae of chores and voices, often tarnishes this fact – this fact that our days are priceless gifts waiting to be unwrapped.

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