One of the greatest privileges of owning Monsoon Blooms is the incredibly passionate, like-minded people that it connects us with. One such person is Carina Jones, the founder of CiCis Ayurveda. I was initially drawn to her dramatic prints, which translate the ideologies of Ayurveda into artworks. Getting to know her a little better, I've discovered her artistic talents and passion for spreading the message of Ayurveda are just the tip of the dosha....
01 | PLEASE TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOURSELF AND CICIS AYURVEDA?
My names is Carina, I live in London in the U.K, and am the founder of the wellness lifestyle brand CiCis Ayurveda, a digital platform focused on blending modern living with Ayurveda. Through this space I provide educational content, tools and services to guide the collective to take the power of their health and well-being back into their own hands, naturally with Ayurveda.
I first became devoted to the holistic health system after it’s simple but powerful logical and metaphysical tools helped me begin to heal many years of chronic mental and physical illness. After years of exhausting various avenues with no hope, Ayuveda was the light i had been searching for all along.
The results of my own health transformation were so inspiring and lead me to become certified in Ayurvedic Diet & Lifestyle, Life Coaching and Mindful Mental Health. Although my health journey tested tested me with many challenges, it lead me to my life passion and purpose, and there is no greater blessing than being able to give others the gift of health. Ayurveda is for everyone and knows no limits in the power it holds to help restore balance between the mind, body and spirit.
02 | HOW DID YOUR LOVE FOR AYURVEDA FIRST EVOLVE?
My love for Ayurveda evolved the first moment i began learning about it, sounds cliche but it really was love at first sight! I remember being so intrigued by the word when i first came across it, but instantly my spirit lit up and i had a deep sense of knowing that everything was about to change. I was in the depths of my health journey and exhaustingly navigating the overwhelming confusion of the health and wellness industry, back and forth between visits to Western medical experts, hospitals and waiting rooms. I was desperate for answers about my health, but no one had any.
I felt in the dark and lost until i discovered Ayurveda, for the first time ever it felt like someone came and switched the lights on. Every question i had- Ayurveda answered it. I became obsessed i think is the right word, very quickly. Every mental and physical imbalance i was dealing with for the first time made sense, and I finally had tried and tested knowledge on how to begin healing as a whole, not as a symptom. My love grew more every time i learned, practiced and reaped the healing from its wisdom.
I couldn’t believe something so simple could be so powerful. It is not the easy road and my healing path has taken me down many wild terrains, it takes time, patience and dedication to heal with the laws of nature. But to watch your Self unfold and transform in ways you never thought were possible is unbelievably empowering. Thanks to Ayurveda i see the world through new eyes and am able to help others restore true health, happiness and wellbeing, and for that my love will always continue to grow.
03 | WHAT PART OF YOUR LIFE HAS BEEN SIGNIFICANTLY SHIFTED BY AN AYURVEDIC LIFESTYLE?
My mental health most definitely, it has taught me the tools to create space, calm and presence in my daily wellbeing through rituals, nutrition, nature and spiritual growth. But most importantly it taught me how to truly heal with love, compassion and gratitude, and how sacred our vessels are, that we must nurture them deeply so we can experience the gift of life.
I first began suffering with depression, anxiety, post traumatic stress disorder, insomnia and panic disorder from the age of 12, with that brought many years of turbulence and confusion. It was when my mental health hit an ultimate rock bottom that my physical health did too, and following an Ayurvedic lifestyle and working with a Vaidya myself helped me to rebuild my health, immunity and vitality.
My body was desperately trying to send my signals for a long time coming, until enough was enough, and i spent months bed ridden with burnout, adrenal fatigue, chronic fatigue, hypoglycemia, anemia, cystic acne, chronic digestive issues, a burnout digestion and food intolerance list to the point i was barely eating at all; all which i know now were manifestations of my mental health; it’s safe to say my mind and body were an extremely confusing place to be. It is following the Ayurvedic practices and way of life that saved me, and still keeps me balanced and nourished now, every single day.
As each day passes the healing reaps deeper and more profound, and in return you have the freedom of health to fulfil your Dharma or life’s purpose, everything that Ayurveda is about. It is a combined medical and spiritual science of prevention and realigning balance, not just with the goal to be healthy, but so you have the health to give back to those around you, to be of service to humanity, the earth and walk the path of life with joy, peace and happiness.
04 | WHAT WOULD YOU SUGGEST TO SOMEONE JUST BEGINNING THEIR AYURVEDIC JOURNEY?
My first piece of advice would be to go in with an open mind, heart and full faith in your body’s innate power and ability to heal. Secondly, to surrender everything you think you know about health and wellness. More than likely if you are beginning an Ayurvedic journey means you have tried many other paths which have not worked; this results in a mind overloaded with confusion, contradictions and skepticism if anything will ever work at all.
Give yourself the ease and permission to let that all go, and with humility start your journey on a new path that welcomes gentleness, simplicity and true nourishment, which is the opposite of what we have been conditioned to believe wellness is in the Western world. Be willing to try new concepts that your ego might initially question, to let go of attachment and embrace it all with open arms. The more willing you are, the more Ayurveda will gift you her healing.
Thirdly, start small and remember that patience, dedication and trust in yourself and the process will be your most powerful alies. Rebuilding your lifestyle or reversing imbalance does not happen over night, it truly takes all the above to blossom into a new way of being. This is not a fad, quick fix or trend, it is a road of empowerment to build a sustainable way of life to last an entire lifetime, that which takes time, but that is what the journey is about!
Exploration, discovery and growth. There is no one end goal destination, but an infinite path of learning, transforming and rising in subtle and great ways. Start by introducing one new practice a week, integrate it slowly and begin building the foundation of your lifestyle from there. Also doing it with a friend for support is a great way to keep you accountable, and to make the journey fun, joyful and liberating. Life is not meant to be so serious all the time!
05 | IS IT TRUE YOU WILL SOON BE VISITING KERALA?!
I am, yes it is my first trip and I am unbelievably excited! I completed my Ayurvedic Diet & Lifestyle studies here in London, however i will be embarking on a 700hr extended Ayurvedic Practioner training in the heart of Kerala, where i will be diving even deeper into the science, diseases and the range of therapies it offers for healing ailments in the mind and body. To me knowledge and wisdom makes my spirit feel alive, the more I dedicate myself to my practice the more I have to give to those who are in need of guidance for their healing.
My soul has been calling me to Kerala for a while now, and i am truly yearning to immerse myself into Ayurveda’s most authentic teachings and way of life in the bliss of nature. Although it’s my first time in India in this lifetime, in my past lives I have been there many times before! It is magical following the path of your truth and heart, it leads you down beautiful roads, all you have to do is listen.
06 | HOW DO YOU THINK AYURVEDA WILL EVOLVE FROM HERE?
Yoga evolved just as Ayurveda is slowly beginning to now. As human beings we are unsure of foreign concepts because it is the unknown, naturally fear doesn’t want us to try anything outside of what we know. Especially in the West many are skeptical of anything that uses the words mind or spirit, as a society we have been deeply conditioned with the ‘if you can’t see it it doesn’t exists’ mentality, but it is this damaging way of thinking that has seen a global health epidemic in mental and physical dis-ease like never before. There are an extreme number of adults, teenagers, children and elderly across the global suffering with chronic illnesses and mental health issues, being told that they must spend the rest of their lives dependent on pharmaceuticals with no other way out, when the answers truly lie within your diet, lifestyle, human connection and nature.
Everything the body needs to heal is already provided for us. It is this global health crisis that is influencing the rise of people seeking out natural health alternatives to healing, no one wants to be told this is it for your life when you don’t even feel like your living, they want hope, happiness and health. I truly believe for Ayurveda to evolve it has to adapt to modern living, be relatable for all cultures, backgrounds and demographics, and evolve with the current times we live in. Just like Yoga, the common misconception was you have to be a ‘hippy’, spiritual, adopt a certain identity and remove yourself from modern society which is simply just not true. It is a science for all of humanity, and as long as your a human you can integrate it into your daily life!
Through CiCis Ayurveda one of my aims was to take those misconceptions away, that it can be modernised, innovative, you can be a millennial living in a city and live a modern Ayurvedic lifestyle. Ayurveda has to modernise because what we perceive as stress, and the pressure of our modern and digitalised lifestyles are completely different to Ancient India over 5,000 years ago. The world and technological time we live in is evolving faster than we can keep up with, but the one constant that will never change is that our bodies our natural and cyclical beings that are aligned with the rhythm of nature, no matter how many gadgets we invent, nothing will ever change our biological nature. Ayurveda can teach us how to thrive in optimal health and be in control of our own wellbeing, so we can enjoy a balanced way of life and the benefits of the modern world we have created, instead of letting it control us and wreak havoc on our health.
A truly powerful step for Ayurveda would to be recognised as a formal medical system in the West, and co-work with GPS and hospitals to stop patients ending up in there in the first place. People don’t know what they don’t get taught, and this is why education, collaboration and sharing the message is vital. Although it is only just making it’s renaissance, just like its sister science Yoga, Ayurveda will come to the forefront when people are ready to receive it. Everything happens at the right divine timing, the universe has her plan for Ayurveda in this new paradigm and i trust her plans for it.
07 | HOW CONNECTED ARE YOU TO THE ETHICAL AND SLOW FASHION MOVEMENT?
I am very connected to these practices and movements, because with the world we live in it is more critical than ever that sustainable consumerism is an integrated part of conscious living. Before my health issues essentially lead me to change my life path, i trained in fashion for 5 years and at the London College of Fashion in design, pattern cutting, product development and garment construction. I was taught by leading experts in the industry about sustainable fashion, ethical practice within each stage of the supply chain, how as a designer to use the innovation of organic fibers, textiles and techniques to create product with longevity and valuable life cycles, and the responsibility a designer has to influence consumers habits for perceived needs over emotional desires. However, we were also revealed the truth of how damaging the industry is with waste, pollution, toxic chemicals, synthetic dies, unpaid labour and unethical human right practices.
Behind the scenes of what appears a glamourised industry for capitalism, and the illusion of fast fashion brands promoting green washing, is catastrophic damage and harm
being done to our planet and all living beings on it. In Ayurveda we say “As is the microcosm so is the macrocosm, as is within so is without”, this meaning the harm we are causing our planet and each other is a mirror reflection of the harm we are causing to our own selves. The global warming crisis is a reflection of the global health crisis, everything is interconnected. It couldn’t be clearer that humans are completely disconnected from themselves, nature and to each other, because to harm another is to only keep harming yourself.
The global imbalance is crying for help, but if we want to heal the world it starts with healing ourselves, and i really believe conscious consumerism starts with the conscious connection to Self. Because then you will realise that you are nature, nothing is separate and everything you have in your life, including the clothes on your back, in some form comes from Mother Natures labor. I believe sustainable fashion is about using what you have, creating value for your items, mending whats broken, creating your own authentic style and not buying into trends, doing clothes swaps or purchasing second hand, and supporting authentic sustainable brands that are transparent with all areas of the production line and hold pure intentions behind their purpose. We need more authentic innovators in the industry like Monsoon Blooms to lead the way for sustainable fashion. I think your concept is simply transformational and i can not wait to watch the brand evolve and continue to merge Ayurveda with fashion.
Magnolia Mongolia and Chasca Summerville of We The Wild recently pieced together this whimsical short film for Monsoon Blooms. Big thanks to this lovely duo for supporting our brand and bringing our items to life so
Last week we launched a pretty special competition with our friends at The Kip Sri Lanka and HAKEA Swim. The winner will be picked tomorrow, meaning there are just 24-hours left to enter!
The ultimate #odetosummer prize pack is worth over AUD$1,000 and includes:
1. Like THIS Instagram post and comment tagging 2 friends you love hanging out with over summer
2. Make sure your following @thekipsrilanka @hakea_swim and @monsoonblooms
What a way to start our day! Finding the Monsoon Blooms Samadhi Bralette named in House of Citrine's favourite products of January. Sitting between hand-knitted alpaca yarn slippers from Peru, and wild pine pollen hand-harvested from the foothills of the Himalayas, we feel very honoured indeed to be a part of this ethical fashion and lifestyle round up. .
See the full list HERE
8 years ago, writer, activist and certified organic farm owner, Jennifer Nini started Eco Warrior Princess, an environmental lifestyle website that has grown into a discerning community of intelligent and fashion forward individuals working towards a common good.
Covering topics like sustainable fashion, conscious business, green politics, and green technology, Nini and her team of contributors dismantle ethical elitism and bring the media that matters.
Often listed amongst the best eco websites on the web, we were honoured to share the story of Monsoon Blooms with Eco Warrior Princess, and happy as always to see word spreading about the ancient art of Ayurvedic plant dyeing.
View the full story HERE.
Monsoon Blooms feature on The Urban List Australia...
The slow fashion movement is showing no signs of plateauing. At long last, the industry squirming with questionable principles is morphing into something that is both beautiful and respectable. Oh, how we rejoice! The guilt has been stripped from our guiltiest pleasure and we can finally dust off the credit card and dive back into decadent dressing.
As new brands emerge that rival fast fashion on all fronts, the excuses for shopping unethically are rapidly dwindling. Though the trail blazing conscious consumers have been casting their no vote upon toxic and unethical clothing for donkeys, it’s only now that it’s becoming mainstream, and easily accessible.
Whether you’re a seasoned ethical shopper or dabbling your foot for the first time, these five Australian labels are sure to inspire your inner slow-shopper.
Dyed in a forest in the South Indian state of Kerala, Monsoon Blooms uses India’s ancient natural medicine system of Ayurveda to dye a delicate collection of underwear and loungewear. Harnessing the powers of plants like neem, holy basil and sandalwood, these Fairtrade organic cotton pieces see your skin soaking up a natural pharmacy of Indian herbs known for their infinite healing powers—not a toxic chemical in site. Offering up their entire ‘farm to front door’ process on their website, shoppers are free to assess their ethics to microscopic detail. Paying their tailors 315% more than required by state law, it’s hard to refute their dedication to ethical fashion.
Gone are the days when buying hemp clothes meant being forced into a t-shirt with ‘legalise marijuana’ embroidered into it. The raw and earthly pieces by Hemp Temple slip effortlessly into any wardrobe. Their ethics and sustainability page speaks with soul of friendships formed and chai sipping with a small collective of sewers. Ethiopian woven sandals, ethereal wrap tops, men’s jackets, baby harem pants—there’s a whole banquet of feel good garb on their site and in their Byron store. A ‘sold out’ slash across many of their items means these aren’t pieces to ponder for long.
This week we had the honour of sharing the love story and lessons of Monsoon Blooms with Collective Hub, an Australian print magazine with a vision to vision to uplift and empower people to live their lives to the fullest....
FOUR LESSONS I’VE LEARNT SINCE STARTING MY ETHICAL FASHION LABEL
The co-founder of Monsoon Blooms bares all.
Being pregnant is a complex labyrinth of decision making and maturing. What pram will I buy? What parenting techniques will I adapt? What position will I push in?
In December of 2015 I found out I was pregnant whilst lying in a hospital bed in India, thinking I was suffering an acute bout of alcohol poisoning. Propelled into a series of heartbreaking visa enquiries with my Indian husband, I soon realised we wouldn’t have the luxury of oohing and ahhing over baby room décor; our 9-months would be spent battling the all-consuming questions of, “Where should we live?” and “How can we live where we want to live?”
Determined to keep this tiny human connected to both his Australian and Indian heritage no matter where bureaucracy threw us, we found ourselves in the forests of Kerala watching vats of medicinal plants colouring piles of Fairtrade organic cotton – an ancient Ayurvedic technique known as Ayurvastra.
About six months after our son was born, we brought Monsoon Blooms into the world – both welcomings taking longer than expected, and both knotting me into uncensored disarray. Ask me how to raise a baby and I’ll throw my hands in the air: every decision still feels fraught with uncertainty. But on the ethics of the fashion game and the complexities of doing business in a foreign country, I’m beginning to speak with increasing certainty.
READ THE FULL ARTICLE ON COLLECTIVE HUB
Big thank you to Amanda Jane McKay for featuring Monsoon Blooms in her carefully considered list of Yoga mats for Earth lovers. What an honour!
"You come to the yoga mat to feel… As you lay in savasana (corpse pose) and surrender into mother earth the last thing you would think to be worried about is the crazy amount of chemicals you are coming into contact with on your mat - things like toxic foaming agents, PVC and plasticizers.
For me, the yoga mat is a sacred space where I am able to appreciate my body, go within, deepen the breath, quieten the mind, and be at peace with who I am. At the same time deepening my connection to the earth. So when I invest in a yoga mat I want it to be of high vibration....." READ FULL ARTICLE HERE.
WORDS: CAMILLE SOULOS-RAMSAY
Part of the excitement of travelling the world is experiencing the distinct aesthetics and visual style of different cultures. And colour is often at the heart of this cultural expression, particularly in the beautiful clothing worn in different parts of the world.
People have been wearing colours proudly for thousands of years. From social status to artistic statements, clothing colour has had a depth of meaning we probably don’t think about when we shift through the bursting racks of fast fashion chain stores. The synthetic dyes used to make most of our fabrics colourful now are poisoning waterways and causing serious health problems for workers around the world.
Before the invention of synthetic colours, clothing dyes were sourced from nature and applied through slowly cultivated traditional techniques- gentler on the environment, the makers and the wearers. So maybe it’s time we take a look around the world at some of the kinder ways to give our clothing that pop of colour we love.
Mali - Bogolan Mud Dyeing
‘Bogolan’ means ‘made from mud’ in Mali’s main language, Bambara. The base cloth is usually dyed deep reds or yellows by boiling bark and leaves. Then, using mud which has undergone a special fermentation process, distinct patterns are painted onto the fabric using sticks, brushes or reeds. The cloth then is soaked in natural solutions which bind the colour left behind by the mud to the fabric.
Once dried, each piece of fabric becomes a totally unique work of art, in hues of red, brown, yellow, black and white, and patterns with a distinct regional aesthetic.
WORDS: CAMILLE SOULOS-RAMSAY
Did you realise your underwear could be healthy? No, before I found out about Monsoon Blooms, neither did I.
Having recently settled in India to start a life with their newborn son Cypress, husband and wife Krishna and Samantha Kamala wanted to build a business with purpose. But to proudly call that business their own, they would need it to be both ethical and sustainable, and to connect their new family with Krishna’s Indian heritage.
It was from their dedication and commitment to these ideals that Monsoon Blooms came into fruition. Crafted by their workers in Southern India, who are paid enough to ‘thrive, not survive’, Monsoon Blooms’ 100% organic cotton underwear line is coloured with ancient Ayurvedic medicinal plant dyes, which are as good for the planet as they are for you.
I spoke with Samantha and Krishna about their journey to becoming Ayurvedic underwear connoisseurs.