As many of you might know, I recently came back from Royale Retreat 2015 in Bali, Indonesia. Attending this retreat ended up being one of the best decisions I've made for myself.
I got to experience new things, tested my abilities, met amazing new people and really got to just get away from it all.
Before the retreat I had this idea of what I wanted to achieve and how I was going to get there. Still, I never actually set any goals for myself and all my ideas were just vague and distant. Even though I wasn't expecting much change when I attended Royale Retreat, I was definitely open to learning, changing my ideas and growing in any aspect of my life.
Chances are, many of you already have some sort of goal or plans in place. I have had 2 calendars on my wall since sometime last year; one for workouts and the other for yoga. Everyday, I aim to complete at least 15 minutes of yoga and one full workout (except for rest days and sick days) and for a long time that really did motivate me to keep going. But by the time June this year had come around I realised that for almost 4 months I had forgotten to check off my yoga days and I would only check off my workout days on Sunday, not because I wasn't practicing or exercising but because I just wasn't bothered to keep going back to the calendars. Everyday was the same goal and I was completing it without a problem, but I never pushed myself to change these goals, to keep myself motivated, so after a while I just got bored of it.
Then there's the goals that are more suited to what I want for myself, things like write for 15 minutes a day, read for 15 minutes a day, have a sweat session and do yoga everyday, weights 3 times a week. Honestly my list is much longer than it needs to be, but if I think it's going to help me make progress in any aspect of my life, it's going to be there.
One activity I'm particularly excited about is colouring in mandalas (or whatever other beautiful colouring book I can get my hands on - recommendations?). I'm not someone who's particularly keen on meditation; I fall asleep, I get bored, I lose focus. So we find alternatives. During one of the seminars, Chantel brought out textas and we each had a mandala to colour in. Doesn't seem like much right? Well that was the one activity that really stuck with me. It was incredibly calming to colour.
I know, I know, it's a child's activity. But hey eventually you grow up and all you wanna do is be a kid again haha. And maybe that's part of it, "kids stuff" is amazing, you don't always think that way when you're 7 and have a colouring cook in front of you but now I wanna colour for ages!
Isn't it funny how sometimes you think you have things on track, that you might know what to do. But then you learn something new; I'm making new goals for myself, learning how to focus better, getting what I wat out of my routines. I can't really say there's anything really incredible or interesting about my goals at this point of time but I'm trying to start a better routine for myself. If you do it often enough, it becomes permanent.
I want a happy, healthy life, so I need habits that make me a healthier and happier person.
Let’s be honest now, no matter what you say, or who you are, you can’t deny harem pants are like a gift from the heavens when it comes to clothes. So comfy, usually ‘one size fits most’ and their cute designs too!
If you’ve visited Thailand especially, you’d probably already have a slight harem pants addiction! You would also know that harem pants can be purchased for about US$10 or less in Thailand, so why buy harem pants from Bohemian Island instead?
If you’re anything like me, you’d prefer to shop with a company that work ethically and supports a good cause.
Bohemian Island donates 10% of their proceeds to the Soi Dog Foundation which helps some of the 30,000 stray dogs in Thailand (already reason enough for me!) But if that wasn’t enough, all their materials are sourced from a family-run factory in Thailand that also has excellent working conditions and provides fair pair for their employees. So no sweatshop conditions! Yay!!
Because of their thin fabric, even though it's a full length pair of harem pants, they're extremely comfortable and airy. So even with Singapore's hot and humid weather I don't find myself feeling stuffy and hot when I'm moving in Bohemian Island pants.
This girl loves her leggings, but when you need something that makes you feel more relaxed and free, something perfect for a rest day, these are definitely my go to!
Now, what stole my heart before I even considered the touch and quality of the fabric were definitely the designs. After al, It's the first thing you notice about a product.
I got my chance to try my first pair of Bohemian Island Harem Pants when hosting #SunKissedYogis in June. Bohemian Island was generous enough to sponsor the challenge and send each of the hosts a pair of their pants.
Though their fabric is thin, I found it to be of better quality than the pairs my sister bought for me when she was visiting Thailand. Bohemian Islands beautiful colours though, were a bonus.
To give you an idea on how much better Bohemian Island pants are compare to the pants directly from Thailand markets - the pairs I owned directly from Thailand only lasted me 3 washed before they completely lost their elasticity in the waistband and had to be thrown out! It pretty much went from one-size-fits-all too XXXL. (Maybe just another case of "you get what you pay for"!)
My first pair of Bohemian Island pants (pictured left), however, has been worn, used and washed about 10 times now and they still manage to keep their vibrant colours, elasticity in waist and ankle bands and there have been no signs of wear and tear.
So when I saw that they were looking for bloggers to help promote their brand I jumped at the opportunity.
After receiving my second pair (pictured below), I knew I was in love with the brand. Bohemian Island had already been generous enough to send me 2 pairs and the least I could do was support this brand that has clearly stolen my heart.
I have seen quite a few yogis in Bohemian Island pants over the last few months but even though I was intrigued, I never got around to buying myself a pair. But when I finally did decide to and have a look at their website, I was completely blown away.
Every collection was filled with such beautiful designs and heaps of colour options to choose from. Personally, the elephant print designs were my favourite, I could have them all and still need more haha. But a girl needs a bit of variety in her closet so I picked my favourite from their different collections.
As I did before, I was in love with the new pants! They were consistent in quality which is something I definitely worry about when it comes to buying cheaper products online - thankfully Bohemian Island lives up to their 100% Satisfaction Guarantee!
When I got my mother and grandmother interested in buying a pair or two for themselves, I was just thinking this was going to be a comfy pair of pants for them to wear around the house or to run errands. But I learned a thing or two this last week when both of them managed to style up their Bohemian pants!
[Unfortunately because of our busy celebrations I missed my opportunity to get a photo of the two of them! But I will next time they wear it! ]
Paired with lacey tops and a pair of pumps, they both showed me these beautiful pants that I thought was reserved for lounging around in or doing yoga in can be part of an absolutely gorgeous outfit for semi-formal occasions.
I can easily say that Bohemian Island pants are pants everyone needs to have. Not just because they're pretty and comfortable but the wonderful cause they support makes it so much more worth buying.
Style it up or stay lazy around the house like me haha it's good that you can use these pants for almost any occasion.
But be careful, once you have a pair you really can't stop wanting more!
Look 1: Sujata Elephant Harem Pants
Look 2: Summer Stripes Harem Pants
Look 3: Dipa Ma Elephant Harem Pants
Look 4: White Peacock Harem Pants
Look 5: (from left to right) Pink Peacock Harem Pants, White Peacock Harem Pants, Sujata Elephant Harem Pants, Petunia Peacock Harem Pants, Naropa Elephant Harem Pants
Working out is great but rest is an important part of it too. We need rest days, enough sleep and to know when it's necessary to skip a workout. But I also know this is easier said than done.
I used to think working out everyday would help me progress faster but it's just not true. Without rest days we run a greater risk on injury, your body needs that rest and almost every fitness programme out there will recommend one or two rest days a week.
I know at the start of your journey it's easy to think that taking a rest day means you performance will dip. Thankfully, it takes much longer than just having a day or two off for it to show any difference in your progress. Personally, that was the main reason why I didn't want to take rest days at the start. If that's your reason as well, a little research can show you that rest days will help you more than it will hinder your progress.
Maybe that was the main reason why about a year ago, after working out so much, I still saw close to no progress on my body and when I started BBG (which included rest days) I made so much progress in such a short time.
Now I take my rest days as they come, there is no set day. Sometimes time slips through my fingers, and before you know it, it's almost midnight and I still haven't gotten down to completing a workout. So that would just end up being my rest day.
If I had all my time the way I wanted it though, it would be hard to admit that I'd happily take a lazy day off and really rest the whole day. Sure, I have my moments where lying in bed for a movie sounds amazing but eventually I get into the same mood where all I wanna do is some real intense yoga or a workout - But I know I shouldn't.
Besides my extremely busy days which don't leave me anytime for exercise or yoga, what do I do when I have time but it needs to be a rest day?
I'm no expert on how it should go and though I like to learn and flow on my own most days, when it comes to restorative yoga I always go online and look for a flow to follow. It's easy, relaxing and almost therapeutic. I would easily say this is the perfect option for people like me - people who hate rest days. You're still doing something, but at the same time your body gets the rest it needs. I've even done some very simple restorative asanas for when I'm sick.
I know at the start it can really get tough to do yoga (if you're not already a yogi) when you just want to exercise but give it a few weeks and hopefully you'll start falling in love with it just like I have.
Having rest days isn't the only thing we need to remember, though. It sure takes effort but there are many times when we need to skip that workout.
A few months ago, I posted a photo on Instagram with the words:
" 'I really regret that workout' - said no one ever"
and in my caption I mentioned how photos and messages like that were extremely harmful, especially to people who think exercise has to be something you did no matter what the situation was.
Know what your body needs. Being healthy is not just getting on your yoga mat, eating well and exercising regularly. Rest is such an important part of staying healthy. Pushing yourself through a workout your body is not ready for will only leave you feeling worse and chances are you will regret that workout in the end.
Have that rest day, refuel, be a little lazy when you need it and be thankful that you are able to train your body, feed yourself well and rest when you need to.
If you prefer to skip the details and go straight to the review, scroll down to the "Review" heading.
I’ve mentioned in the past how I can’t resist a company who supports a good cause and is making a positive impact in the world. It always makes me happy to find businesses that are working ethically and really making a difference in the world.
So when Synergy contacted me about trying their clothes I accepted the offer, and after they explained what their company does, I was more than happy to write a review and share more about their brand and clothes with you guys_!
To give you a short overview before the clothing review, Synergy’s clothes are all made out of 100% organic cotton and they only use low-impact dyes to color them. This means that they have a reduced impact on the earth AND that their manufacturers never have to handle hazardous materials.
Their clothing is hand made in Nepal, with their workforce consisting mostly of women who earn living wages and receive substantial yearly bonuses. Their employees are also given the option to work from home, which allows them to care for their families and make a good income at the same time.
Synergy follows all fair trade practices and the Synergy owners visit their family in Nepal a few times a year to check that all operations are up to their high standards.
Knowing all that immediately put a smile on my face. It’s things like this that really tell me which brands are worth buying from!
I was sent Synergy's Hannah Leggings in Azul and Maryann Top in Coral.
I'm always looking for new pieces and vibrant colours are always a priority so these were perfect! At first glance, I loved how beautiful both pieces were, though I am also obsessed with prints on my workout wear, it was nice to have a few plain pieces for a change.
When I first opened my package, it seemed like the leggings were going to be too large for me. When laid flat, they were much bigger compared to other tights i owned in a Size Small, but you never know until you try it on right? Amazingly, when I put it on, the leggings almost seemed like they changed in size and it fit my body perfectly! They hug your legs nicely without feeling tight around you and because they're 95% cotton, they are extremely breathable and light - perfect for yoga in Singapore's hot and humid weather!
The Hannah leggings features a high waist, which I do like for my tights, and it didn't dig into my waist which was a bonus point.
Though i do prefer high waist leggings, there are many brands that seem to require you to have a waist about 8-10 inches smaller than your hip for it to fit comfortably (the exact reason why i stick to normal waist leggings for most brands) thankfully I did not have this problem with Synergy.
The ribbed detail around the ankle of the Hannah leggings were also something I noticed almost immediately and it was another detail I liked. The ribs helped keep the leggings nicely over my feet throughout my practice though it's hard to say if I managed to get them over my feet because of my lack of height (I'm about 1.5m/5 feet tall) or if this was meant to be the style - still I prefer this look so I'm happy!
Synergy's Maryann top is easy to fall in love with. I sure love my tights and sports bras but if you're anything like me then having "normal" clothing is a problem. So getting a top I can actually use to practice in and also wear out to lunch was a bonus point.
Like the Hannah leggings, the top is made of 95% cotton and 5% lycra so it was very light and breathable - perfect for me!
Though I already loved the colour, It was the cross over peek-a-boo back on this top and the little peplum that I thought was so cute! It's nice to have something different to try on rather than just adding another plain tank top to my wardrobe.
This top is not a part of their yoga collection but as I always said, you can wear anything to do yoga - there is no uniform! So seriously with a top this cute of course I was going to stop, drop and yoga in it!
Overall, based on these 2 pieces alone I can honestly say I do love Synergy Organic Clothing and I would recommend this brand if you are looking for comfortable, ethical clothing and something a little more affordable than the traditional yoga wear brands we know of.
With their vibrant, comfortable and colourful clothing I'll be making my own purchase in the future and knowing that Synergy is truly working ethically and making a positive impact on the world is another reason why you should shop with them.
Shop Synergy Organic Clothing
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What makes someone a bad yogi? Everyone has their own perspective on what it really means to practice yoga and truly be a yogi. It's not just about the asanas, it's a whole way of life. I've followed @KinoYoga on Instagram and snapchat for a while now and she shares a little "yogi assignment" for us to complete each day. Different aspects of yoga to bring into your life; things like memory, fogiveness, gratitude, acceptance etc. There are so many qualities a person should have.
We know these things should come naturally, why do you need to learn to be thankful, to be kind and accepting of the world and to treat others the way you want to be treated. But i guess along the way so many of us forget these things. And maybe in part, if you have forgotten, then practicing yoga teaches you that again.
The way I see it, yoga teaches these things naturally, the same way starting to workout eventually might make you want to eat better, not smoke, drink less etc. Do one thing that's good for you and the rest will follow; i did for me anyway.
And besides that, there's always nonsense like "A bad yogi doesn't meditate/doesn't practice a full yoga lifestyle/doesn't know the benefits of (asana)" really though? Does it really make someone a "bad yogi" for not having the same knowledge or interest in the practice as you do?
There's so many yogis who talk about material possessions and that you shouldn't attach yourself to them. Everything dissappears after a while and so why give so much value to a piece of jewellery, a card, clothing etc. But I don't think it makes anyone a bad yogi (or person) for loving an item. We have things that remind us of places, of people, of moments we love and never want to forget. Achievements or gifts form those we care about or just a little something like the first item you ever bought with your own money, a gift from your mother etc. There's always little things we might like to keep. They have value to us, it doesn't make you a bad yogi, again not to me it doesn't anyway.
So what about clothes? Apparently a "good yogi" covers up. How funny is that? Just like in so many other situations, apparently a "good yogi" never shows too much skin, can't take the practice seriously if you don't have enough clothes on - so no shorts and sports bras, ladies!
I mean seriously though, I've seen so many comments on some of the yogis I've followed that go along the lines of "If you truly cared about your practice you'd put some pants on", "No one will take you seriously if you don't cover up".
I can't be the only one who laughs when I see comments like this, right? It's rude, unnecessary and the first thought in my head is usually, where has your head gone that you think it's okay to say that, or even think that?
Apparently a yogi who truly cares about the practice and lifestyle doesn't bother about the clothes either, who needs a pretty pair of leggings or a good sports bra? Well, to each his own. There is no universally approved uniform for yoga, the same way there is no universally apprvoved uniform for life. In a space where there is meant to be no judgement at all, judging a fellow yogi on their choice or lack of clothes doesn't make you a better yogi than they are, frankly, it just makes you a bad person. I don't see the problem with loving certain clothes or loving no clothes on your body. After all, it's yours and you get to do what you want with it.
Part of my practice is enjoy the amazing colours and designs on my tights, shorts and bras and to making beautiful shapes and lines in these outfits. Does it make me better at yoga? No. But it sure makes me feel better. And that's so important. No matter what you're doing, how you feel when you're doing it is a priority.
Rock your style, your body, lift your spirits and do it all with confidence. Not everyone feels good during their practice, I sure didn't when I first practiced without the help of a video to follow. These things don't always come naturally and if putting on a cute pair of tights makes you feel more relaxed or having no tights on at all make you feel more confident, then use what you need to make yourself feel better with your practice and yourself.
I'd put on the most colourful pair of tights and a bra to match and flow the way I love to for hours and after that I'll change into pretty dress and an amazing pair of heels to go have dinner!
it doesn't make you a "bad yogi" to live the yoga lifestyle the way that works best for you. The way I see it, the only "bad yogis" are the one who are telling you your way of practicing is wrong because it doesn't look like theirs.
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