Seven Reasons Why Breathwalking Can be Uplifting

Benefits Of Breathwalking Go Beyond Mere Weight Loss

I would choose an outdoor walk over a treadmill in a gym for my cardio anytime. For reasons of it being the most natural activity in the most natural ambience. My Fitness Walks are like rituals, I give them my best every time and gain an abundant lot in return.

I try to put in new dimensions to my fitness walks now and then. This time around breathwalking or meditative walking caught my attention. I started it on an impulse. I had heard of shower meditation, which motivated me to incorporate mindfulness into my walks. Much to my surprise did I realise (later) that breathwalking is being put to therapeutic use in the treatment of certain health conditions.

Meditation has brought a lot of peace into my life in the past few months and mindfulness in my walks became it’s natural extension! Fitness trackers keep a count of steps, I chose to count my breaths ! I truly did not expect to sustain my newly found interest to last more than a few minutes, let alone complete my walk ! But it stood by me and here is my count : 1096 breaths in a 60 minute walk covering a distance of 6 km. I was thrilled alright, but why did this walk seem different? I felt energised, extremely satisfied and calmed despite the weather being stiflingly warm, and being drenched in sweat. I had my first taste of meditative breathwalking.

meditative breathwalking, my thought lane

Counting steps is easier than counting breaths. The inhaling and exhaling takes longer than simply putting one foot in front of the other. It threw me off at the start, but by the time I reached the 10th count, I had kind of settled down to the rhythm of my breathing. From then on I thoroughly enjoyed focussing on my breaths and kept a steady count. Here is what I gained by meditative breathwalking, but before that the ‘how’ of it all.

How To Breathwalk

Breathwalking in health and wellness terminology is described as an exercise technique that synchronizes walking steps, specific breathing patterns and focussed attention.

  • Begin your walk at your normal pace.
  • As you settle into a rhythm, start counting your breaths. I suggest you make it a fun activity rather than setting off with a grim determination to get it right. Rest assured, in about 10-15 minutes you will get the hang of it. The idea is to cultivate openness, relaxation and an awareness of your mind and body.
  • If you are a brisk walker, inhale for four steps, exhale for four. Just a guideline, feel free to set your rhythm. Slow walkers may have to test it out for themselves, whatever works for you.
  • Feel your diaphragm move up and down.
  • Breathe through your nose, especially if you are on an outdoor walk. It helps filter dust particles while helping you maintain proper balance of oxygen and carbon-di-oxide.
  • Align your neck with your spine, tuck your tummy in and do your breathwalk.
  • If at any point you feel stressed or tired, stop counting. Breathe and walk normally, relax and take a relook at the process. There must be something that you are not doing right. Start afresh and concentrate on getting closer to the right way.
  • Take a break if you feel stressed, but get back to breathwalking soon.
  • Avoid chatting up with other walkers, it will hamper your rhythm. A tip : Keep socializing for later. Do not show any signs of slowing down your speed if a friend is walking towards you. That way they will get a hint and will not disturb you.
  • Start your walk with a warm up and keep a cooling down regimen and stretch regimen after you finish.

The Benefits of Meditative Breathwalking :

1) Brings Better Focus To Your Walking. Meditative breathwalking shuts out all the crap and lets you focus on yourself and your fitness activity. You begin to observe your body, your gait, your form and a natural thought is given to correct them all if you are out of sync

2) Calms You Down. We live in a stressful world and we are wont to welcome calmness in any form. Just like in a meditative state, your breathing gets regularised, and with that a sense of calm envelopes you even while your body continues to be in momentum. You must experience meditative breathwalking.

3) Increases Your Speed. Contrary to what most people would think, you speed up with meditative breathwalking. A calming effect is a slowing down you think? In most cases yes, but if you are conscious that you are doing a fitness walk, it works the other way. With every breath that has now become deeper, you inhale more oxygen and you are in no hurry to exhale. It’s just a natural and involuntary process. You hold the breath in for a few seconds and exhale slowly. By now the rhythm would have been set and with more oxygen, you will feel more energised and move effortlessly. There is a certain smoothness to your walk, unless a ditch on the road, or a passing car, or a dog come in your way.

4) Feel More Positive. Any guess why? Your mind is so engaged with counting the breaths that it shuts out everything else. All those bothersome thoughts and memories about your workplace, your home, your relationship or your finance recede to the background. A random thought may cross your mind now and then, but wont stay long and neither set forth a whirlwind of related emotions. Your mind has to get back to counting your breaths. You have just managed to push negativity out of your radar and your mind is kind of at peace. This is the biggest plus of meditative breathwalking and precisely why you feel top of the world at the end of your walk.

5) The Opportunity To Improve Your Form. Yes, with your focus on the ‘now and here’, you tend to start watching yourself. Right time to correct your gait/walking form (doesn’t matter that you are in front of a mirror). Take my word, you will make an effort. Tuck your tummy in, pull back your shoulders if you round them as a matter of habit, and keep your neck in line with your spine. Your body is now aligned. Notice how confident, tall and energetic you feel. A few days into this practice, you may be able to make it a habit for life! Meditative breathwalking has just changed one aspect of your lifestyle!

6) Burn More Calories. Walking is instinctive to our species and is as natural as breathing. Add a technique to it, it sets a chain reaction in your body and the benefits just multiply. For one, your fitness walk has just become more efficient and effective. Two, with proper form comes the burning of more calories. You certainly have read somewhere that just keeping the right posture burns calories. An excerpt from my earlier article, Are You Looking For Weight Training Basics To Get a Sculpted Body?  Did you know just sitting and standing in correct posture can burn a few calories? When you maintain proper posture, your muscles are being worked to maintain the alignment of the body, thereby adding to your calorie burn”.

7) Better Sleep. You have walked faster and fitter. You have burned more calories. You are relaxed despite the brisk walk. You feel more positive. You have improved your form and you have counted breaths till the last step of your fitness walk. There is a sense of achievement within you. It’s now time to hydrate, so grab some water, head home and eat up a healthy meal. Assuming this is your evening walk, your body feels well conditioned and you head for a restful deep sleep. If you are a morning walker, your entire day ahead of you pans out more energetic. So both ways, meditative breathwalking is a boon.

Two Ways Of Meditative Breathwalking

When I began meditative breathwalking, I ventured into counting the total number of breaths through my entire walk and here are the stats : 1096 breaths in a 60 minute walk of 6 km. I felt great at the end of it alright, but I had to handle the task of remembering the 100s as I crossed each one of them. It taxed my memory cells, but then why not use it to my advantage I mused and kept at it. It helped keep all the random, uninvited guests of my mind, the thoughts at bay! I had to focus harder than I had to in the other method, but again it was a challenge I took up and it worked!

The other method is to count your steps for every breath cycle. Inhale for four steps and exhale for four steps. This method helps you keep a steady speed, however you may have to reorient and synchronise if you happen to increase or decrease your speed. Those who are well versed with breath control and Yoga may do well with this, while beginners may find it stressful to follow it to the T. Exhaling is often longer than inhaling, hence some may find respite in 2 or 3 counts of inhaling and 4 counts of exhaling.

Breathwalking is simple and fun. Once you get it right, it can pave the path to physical and mental fitness. A lot of competitive and non-competitive sports and fitness trainers insist on and inculcate breath control to improve athletic performance. Paying attention to the flow of breath while letting go of other thoughts that command your consciousness can be very uplifting. Anyone can do it anywhere, even if you are taking a walk in your compound. It is of tremendous help to the elderly when they get worked up. Teach them breathwalking, it will do them a world of good.

A 2007 study published by the World Journal of Gastroenterology found that breathwalking had a positive effect in patients suffering from chronic hepatitis C, obesity and insulin resistance.

Meditative breathwalking is a union of three rhythms – stepping, breathing and mental counting. Enough to calm down a chattering mind and appreciate the present moments. Fitness and wellness are all about sharing, your feedback and comments could give me new perspectives. Till then, wishing you wellness!

Sources : World Journal Of Gastroenterology , Kundalini Research Institute

Exfoliation And Anti-ageing : Be Your Own Beautician With These DIY Tips

We Need Exfoliation However Young Or Beautiful We Be

Old replaces new is the universal law and that applies to our skin too. Yes, its exfoliation time and we are talking anti-ageing. Skin cells of the outermost layer of our skin the epidermis, or more specifically the ‘stratum corneum’ have a life span and after they have served their purpose need to be shed. This isn’t the first time you are reading that our body is gifted with a mechanism to do away with dead skin cells. Neither is the knowledge that dead skin cells are replaced by new ones foreign to any of us.

But what may have slipped the attention of some of you is that with age, cell turnover in our bodies slows down. Dead skin cells fail to fall off and start accumulating in thin layers, giving our skin a dull look and robbing us of that natural glow that every healthy skin is entitled to. Also a sign of ageing. Cell turnover that used to occur once every 15 days when we were younger, is brought down to once every 50 days when we reach our fifties. Our skin begins to tell certain tales that we would most like to hide, that of our age.

Time to take action, time to exfoliate and reveal fresh, glowing skin. To feel and look beautiful even after you step into your forties and march on into a couple of more decades, just as confident. We are taking our skin matters into our own hands and graduating to becoming our own beauticians. We are on the road to anti-ageing.

Its not just dead skin cells we scrub away when we exfoliate, we are also dislodging all the dirt, sebum and bacteria that get trapped in our pores. We live in a hot and humid tropical country, with most cities clouded by pollution. Hence, it’s absolutely imperative that we keep our skin squeaky clean. See what Ole Henriksen, the skin-care honcho has to say of exfoliation.

Did you know (superficial) exfoliation can start as early as the age of 15? Medical exfoliation is another story and can wait till the age of 18.

What Are The Exfoliation Solutions Available ?

  • OTC peels, scrubs and cleansers.
  • Salons and derma clinics with their mechanical and chemical peels and facials.
  • Home made DIY scrubs and face packs.
  • Face brushes to be used along with skin products.

Now exfoliation is a delicate job and needs a good understanding of when and how much is safe or good for our skin. We do not want to irritate our skin more than it is already, due to ageing and environmental factors. As Dr Jamuna Pai, India’s leading medical cosmetologist puts it, there is a certain hierarchy to exfoliation that is to be followed.

  • Superficial (mechanical/DIY) exfoliation
  • Medium Depth (salons ) exfoliation
  • Deep (medical) exfoliation.

Superficial, or mechanical exfoliation is the simplest of the three and can be carried out at home by us, using home-made exfoliation solutions, or OTC cleansers and scrubs. It removes the oldest and most superficial skin cells that cling to the epidermis. Most often, a superficial exfoliation suffices if we have been taking good care of our skin with a proper diet and a good amount of exercising. Salons and clinics can be reserved for treatments that need expertise and precision. Hence this blog post does not include medium depth and deep exfoliation.

Superficial exfoliation should be done once every 7-10 days if you have normal or combination skin and twice in the same time frame if you have oily skin.

All it takes is 10-15 minutes of your time from start to finish. A few kitchen ingredients and one or two mixing cups and bowls. It’s certainly a bit of work vis-a-vis picking up a vial off the shelf, but it is work that is fun and therapeutic. The satisfaction of having worked magic on your skin! No chemicals leaching into your system and no shelling out bills at the store counters. Environment-friendly and pocket-friendly! Anti-ageing at your fingertips. Is that enough reason for you to turn to home-made skin solutions? I have been using lemons and tomatoes extensively for their Vitamin C content, but more on that in another blog devoted to the benefits of Vit C.

And just in case you thought only your facial skin needs exfoliation, no ! Treat the rest of the skin on your body equally well. But do remember, facial skin is a lot more sensitive and thinner than the rest of your skin. It is also the first to show signs of ageing. So use scrubs that are particularly meant for the face and some others that can be used on the rest of the body. Elbows, knees and feet tend to be drier and darker than the rest of the body due to continuous surface contact friction and need an extra rub of exfoliation, but do not forget to moisturise the areas soon after.

Blanket Tips :

  • Moisten the skin always, never exfoliate dry skin. (Some on the internet will tell you that it is okay to do so, but pop that question to your dermatologist or beautician and they will gainsay it. Go with what your doctor says).
  • If you opt for OTC products, remember to go in for pharmaceutical products.
  • Having your own dermatologist to consult is as important as having a family physician.

How To Exfoliate ?

  • Moisten the skin.
  • Scoop out a good amount of the exfoliating product in your hand or in a cup and layer it all over the required skin area. Gently rub in circular motions for a few minutes. Leave it on if recommended, else wash it off with tepid water.
  • Pat dry with a soft towel.
  • Apply gentle pressure, just enough for the product to do its job.
  • Caution : Avoid exfoliation immediately before, or after any skin treatment.

There you go, you are now your own beautician, armed with the biggest tool of anti-ageing.

Facial Cleansing Brushes :

I  consulted Dr Vidya Ram Pradeep, an eminent dermatologist of Chennai before using one and got a go ahead signal to do so. But exercising caution while using a facial cleansing brush is of utmost importance as otherwise we are likely to cause damage to our skin. Specially those who have sensitive skin must use the brush sparingly or avoid it completely, she says.

Why Facial Cleansing Brush ?

  • Because it helps exfoliate a tad more efficiently. The soft gentle bristles of the facial brush scrape away any dead skin cells that may be clinging stubbornly to the skin.
  • An added benefit is the gentle massage a facial brush affords you, thereby improving blood circulation to the facial skin.
  • It is also known to aid collagen production due to its massaging action. My personal experience has been that of a newly found smoothness my skin acquired and yes, it felt good.
  • An extended benefit of using a facial brush is that when our skin is really clean, the serums and moisturisers get absorbed much better giving skin that dewy look.
  • A skin that looks radiant and healthy needs little makeup, do you agree? Can I let you in on a simple secret on what makes our skins glow? Light!! With dead skin cells on the surface, our skin does not reflect light. When we exfoliate, it’s a voila moment – our skin reflects light and pat comes that glow!

Men have started using facial cleansing brushes too, grooming is on the top of the list in todays’s evolved population. Anti-ageing is not just for women!

There are innumerable options in facial cleansing brushes. You can buy them at your neighbourhood cosmetics stores, or order them online. But do read up before you invest in one. Depending on your needs and skin type, you can spend a few hundreds to a few thousands. But it is wise to start small if you have never used one before. Buy an inexpensive good brand of facial cleansing brush for starters, and as you get the hang of it you could invest in one that is multi-functional – providing exfoliation as well as massaging. Many popular brands like Clinique and Sephora come with multiple attachments that include a massager. Here is one (Pixnor) that I use regularly and can be ordered online. It serves the purpose.

People with sensitive or problem skin can avoid facial cleansing brushes. Dr Vidya Ram Pradeep adds a word of caution while using them though. Hygiene must score highest, she says. Facial brushes are to be cleaned thoroughly after every use, dried and stored in a clean pouch or box.

She also advised on being careful while using facial cleansing brushes, or any kind of scrubs and peels on acne prone skin. Acne must be allowed to settle before resorting to any kind of scrub. We must let the skin heal before we peel !

More on scrubs

Me : Are traditional, home-made scrubs better than OTC packaged or pharmaceutical scrubs ?

Dr Vidya : It is more a case of being safe rather than being termed better. Home made scrubs put together from kitchen ingredients work well, but you always run the risk of breakouts if you have sensitive skin and if hygiene is not maintained. A lot of research goes into pharmaceutical products, hence there are lesser chances of your skin reacting adversely to the products. However, if you do not have problem skin and are careful, home made scrubs are all time favourites of all beauty enthusiasts.

Some Home-made Scrubs

Oats, sugar granules, gram flour (besan) and Fuller’s earth (multani mitti) are some kitchen ingredients that are easily available in most homes. Lime and tomato juices, honey, turmeric, rose-water, milk powder, egg yolk, egg white and yogurt are options that you can mix with the former to make a scrubbing paste, depending on your skin type.

Reveal plumper, younger skin with these home-made scrubs :

Normal Skin : 1 tbsp crushed oats, 1 tbsp rose-water, 1/2 tsp honey. Make a smooth paste of these, apply and rub gently, leave it on for 10 minutes. Wash off with cool water and pat dry.

Dry Skin : 2 tbsps honey, 2 tbsps castor oil, 1 tbsp crushed oats. Make a smooth paste of these, apply and rub very gently. Leave it on for 5-7 minutes, wash off with cool water and pat dry.

Oily skin : Cut a medium size tomato into half, dip the cut side into a small dish of sugar, rub on wet skin for 5 minutes. You may have to dip the tomato into the sugar dish a couple of times to complete the scrubbing. Splash face with cool water and pat dry. Tomato is full of an anti-oxidant called lycopene. The sugar granules get the tomato to release more lycopene into the skin to work wonders.

Make a paste of 1/2 tsp lime juice, 1 tsp sugar, 1-1/2 tsps milk powder or Fuller’s earth. Apply, rub gently, leave it on for 10 minutes and wash off with cool water. Pat dry.

Add 1/2 tsp turmeric to 1 tbsp honey, mix well, apply, rub gently and wash off with cool water. Pat dry.

Combination Skin : Combination skin needs a little extra attention as you are likely to have two zones on your face, one oily (nose, chin and forehead) and the other slightly dry (cheeks). Mix 1 tsp fine sugar with 1 tsp oats and a little water. Scrub your face, concentrating on the T zone. Leave it on for 10-12 minutes. Wash it off with cool water. Dab the skin then with rose-water or an oil-free moisturiser.

This blog post would run into pages if I were to list all the recipes that I have with me, hence have jotted just a few. If you need more specific ones, leave behind a note and your email ID in the comments and I shall forward them to you.

Here are a few body scrubs  from Astrea that are home-made with natural ingredients. I met the entrepreneur of this enterprise at an organic growers meet and tried out these products, purely because they do not contain any synthetic components. Skin felt smooth and supple for days after the scrub.

Sweet Orange Sugar Scrub
astrea sweet orange sugar body scrub, my thought lane

Sweet Orange Sugar Body Scrub from Astrea

While orange oil has a plethora of uses and benefits, when added in scrubs, creams and lotions, it stimulates the lymphatic system and helps detoxify the skin. It helps improve blood circulation, is a natural anti-bacterial, decreases wrinkles and improves the complexion. The scrub is a happy combination of sweet orange essential oil, almond oil, sugar and natural preservatives. It can be a boon to the relatively drier areas of knees and elbows – an extra scrub will still be safe.

Coffee Vanilla Body Scrub :
astrea coffee vanilla body scrub, my thought lane

Coffee Vanilla Body Scrub by Astrea

Coffee seems to be a boon to the skin, with its anti-inflammatory, skin tightening, skin brightening, skin softening and exfoliating properties coupled with cellulite reduction and treating dark under eye circles. While we have many products for skin smoothing et al, I picked up this scrub for coffee’s ability to dehydrate fatty cells thereby causing the cellulite to appear diminished. Coffee granules, almond oil, sugar, vanilla extract and natural preservatives have gone into this scrub to make it a wonder product. The recommended period for using a scrub is 7-10 days, but if it is cellulite you are working on, you could use it twice a week just on the affected area.

astrea peppermint sugar body scrub

Peppermint Sugar Body Scrub by Astrea

Peppermint Sugar Body Scrub :

Like coffee, peppermint is on the top of the essential oils list, but the one thing that drew me to this body scrub is its pain killing and muscle relaxant properties. It is known to soothe sore muscles and relieve headaches. A study shows that peppermint oil applied topically alleviates Fibromyalgia and Myofascial pain Syndrome. To top it all, it elevates your moods and that makes it a super scrub. Guess it does wonders to use this after a killer workout at the gym ! Smells good and feels good.

You know something? Exfoliation can remain your beauty secret, no one will know whats behind the glow on your face. Really, its most effective, yet absolutely subtle, carried out in the privacy of your bathroom. Even your partner need not know about it. Just smile and take it if people compliment you on your healthy fresh skin. You have just exfoliated and you been your own beautician !  And yes, with the onslaught of pollution and lifestyle stresses, we got to take anti-ageing seriously.

Leave behind a comment if you have seen stunning results with exfoliation.

Gait Analysis Will Help You Choose The Right Workout Shoes And Stay Safe

I was introduced to gait analysis by Dr Kannan Pugazhendi, the eminent sports medicine specialist of Chennai, and since then I have never bought workout shoes sans the gait analysis. He strongly advises on making right and sensible choices when it comes to sports and fitness gear, before we invest our several thousands on them, with special emphasis on shoes. Rightfully so, since our feet have the crucial task of bearing our body weight while we run, or sweat it out in the gym.

Very often people buy walking/running/workout shoes based on their budget. Next on priority comes the look or style of the shoe as well as the comfort. It is not enough if the shoe fits you snugly. We do not all have perfect feet, some are over pronated and some under. Each requires a shoe that can offer support to specific affected parts of the foot. This is where professional gait analysis steps in to help avoid injury and optimise performance. Wrong or ill-fitting workout shoes can be trouble-makers leading to foot, ankle and knee aches and pains, not to mention the concomitant lower back pain that follows knee pain faithfully like a bad coin ! Read here on why it is important to choose proper shoes while exercising in any form.

Years ago I used to get the foot scan done at Adidas, for that was the only option available at that time. It was pretty basic. In recent times, however Running Lab has come to Chennai and the Asics flagship stores are equipped with gait analysis system. Of the two, I prefer the Asics stores. Their staff is better trained to do the gait analysis and their system is more advanced and detailed. While the general term is gait analysis, Asics calls it the FOOT ID. I have reproduced here their official description of the process.

“ASICS FOOT ID is a destination area of the ASICS shop offering static and dynamic measurements, including foot shape analysis and gait cycle analysis. ASICS FOOT ID static measures the foot shape and ASICS FOOT ID dynamic analyzes the consumer’s gait while running”.

What Is Gait Analysis ?

Gait analysis measures the degree of pronation of the feet. When we walk or run, the outside part of the heel strikes the ground first. Simultaneously, within fractions of a second, the foot rolls inward and that is called ‘pronation’. Pronation acts like a shock absorber and optimally distributes the force and impact of the heel hitting the ground.

Over-pronation is when the feet roll inward too much.

Under-pronation (or supination) is where the feet don’t roll inward enough.

So, what gait analysis does is that it matches the client’s degree of pronation with the correct shoe type, thereby balancing over or under-pronation. That in turn helps reduce the risk of injury and improves walking/jogging/running efficiency.

Gait analysis is helpful for runners as well as those that indulge in indoor workouts. It is extremely important for people who walk/run on treadmills. Here is how the process goes.

I went through similar here at the Asics store in Express Avenue and here are the pictures.

asics gait analysis system, my thought lane

Gait Analysis treadmill and the six step guide

After I filled in my registration form, the laser sensors were pasted at specific points on my feet and the static foot analysis was conducted, one foot at a time.

static foot analysis, my thought lane

Static foot analysis

The results showed like this

WHAT IS VIDEO GAIT ANALYSIS?

A pair of test shoes were then given to me and I had to walk/run on the treadmill with those on.

dynamic foot analyser video

Tester shoes and dynamic foot analyser video

It involves running for a few minutes on the treadmill, while a video recording is made of the runner’s feet. I did a brisk walk. I have a knee injury and hence didn’t opt to run. In conclusion, the static and dynamic test results were analysed digitally and here is the story it told me about my feet.

(One can then try a variety of shoes selecting cushioning, structured cushioning or maximum support options according to the results.)

gait analysis sampler, my thought lane

Gait Analysis sampler

A model of an indoor workout shoe (since I am not a runner and indoor gymming is what I do) was then suggested to me based on the results above. Syed Noor, the store manager explained to me on what my feet demanded, and why that particular model of shoe would do me good. It offered support at the arches of my feet and yes, it felt better than my previous shoes that had probably been worn out – they were a year old or a little more than that.

asics store manager showing the recommended shoe model

When the store manager suggested the recommended shoe model

How To Avail The Gait Analysis

There is a fee of INR 500 towards the gait analysis which is reimbursed when you buy a pair of shoes from the Asics store. If that does not fall under your scheme of things, you can avail the gait analysis for the fee and buy shoes of your preferred brand.

If you havent paid attention to gait analysis in all these years, it is time to do so. Our feet do not like being messed with and deserve all our attention and more to keep them supple and conditioned, strong and efficient. Choose your workout shoes right and stay safe ! Wishing Wellness !

Anti-ageing Tips : How To Slow Down Ageing

Show your skin some love

If you are 25 and even an hour older, you need to read this article and start paying attention to skin care. Ageing of the skin takes baby steps and sets in at 25. Wait……no panic yet, but most people are unaware of this skin fact. They wait till the 30s to even start noticing changes in their skin. Having established this research backed fact, I wish to suggest small ways of slowing down ageing in a series of articles on anti-ageing. Very often, we get loaded with far too much information on such topics and tend to miss out or forget some tips. Hence, I am dealing with one important anti-ageing DIY tip in each article. Anti-ageing products and procedures are galore and using them is a personal choice, but there is something in our power even when adopting them that can help make the effort worthwhile and get better results.

How To Apply Serums And Creams The Right Way

I have seen many rub their skin while applying any topical solution. ‘That is a mistake‘ we have been told repeatedly, yet we forget the words of caution – rub and scrub, especially when we are in a hurry. Time to stop doing that folks. Time to pamper your skin the right way. Time to take anti-ageing into your hands !

  • Take the required quantity of the topical application you are using in your palm, or the back of your hand, be it a cleanser, a serum, a lotion or a cream.
  • Dip your fingertips into it and dab it on the surface of your skin. With gentle, upward strokes spread it all over your face or whichever part of the body you are applying it on. Now the natural tendency of many, is to rub it in, especially when they are in a hurry. Your skin may be crying for mercy, not to pull and push so much, to be treated with a little more care. So….
  • Slow down….instead, pat the product gently and repeatedly all over your face. Cup your face with your palms and gently act like you are pushing the product into your skin, till all of it is absorbed. Did you see some happy skin there? You just did some anti-ageing act! You showed your skin some love♥.

Watch this quick video on the technique by Chennai’s leading makeup artist Akriti Sachdev of Mesmereyes Makeup, created specially for My Thought Lane

Most Important : Serum, Under Eye Cream, Moisturizer and Sunscreen in that order. Apply your first topical application quickly after you tap dry your face and while the skin is still moist. It will help seal in the moisture in the epidermis (topmost layer of skin) and lend a soft glow to your face.

Why Pat And Not Rub :

While those in their late 20s can still take it easy, once the 30s set in skin starts losing its firmness, tone and elasticity.  Very fine lines make their appearance giving you an indication that skin is losing its toning and you better wake up to it. With natural ageing and the aggression of external factors like the sun and the weather, collagen and elastin production in the skin (the backbone of a firm skin) slows down, resulting in loss of firmness. And do not forget that gravity never fights shy of doing it s job ! Added to all of this, if you were to rub or pull your skin, you are playing host to sagging skin for sure. Think anti-ageing ! Even if you were to sweat like a pig during, or after your walks and workouts, still pat your face with a soft napkin and never rub.

Why Pat Or Tap Cream Into The Skin:

We all of course know that ageing alters blood circulation within the body. Poor blood supply means lesser oxygen. Patting and tapping can alleviate that to some extent by increasing blood circulation to those areas, thereby lending better health to your skin.

Not fair that the first signs of ageing appear on that part of the body that we treasure most, the face. Even more unfair that the best part of our face, the eyes take the brunt of ageing first. We cannot fight nature, but we certainly can take anti-ageing into our own hands and slow it down.

Do You Believe In The Healing Power Of Your Hands ?

Adding a layer here to the benefits of patting the product into your skin : Three or four days into this practice, I realised I was feeling good and revelled in the way my skin responded to my hands, with all the patting and tapping. My skin appeared a tad plumped, probably from the pampering it received. Yes, when someone feels loved, they glow ! Go ahead, you try this out too, accept your skin and love it. I would call this anti-ageing at a higher plane.

The contour of the eye has lesser amount of collagen, elastin and lipids and ages faster than the rest of the face. The skin and muscles around the eyes are fragile, it is made so because it does the most muscular work – 10,000 blinks per day !! Had there been tougher skin and muscle, so many blinks would have been an impossibility leading to other eye related issues. If that’s how nature meant it to be, it has also taught us that there is something we can do to slow down the ageing.


Improve blood circulation like we said above.


  • Apply your serum, cream or lotion with your ring finger or the little finger and tap lightly along the eye contour.
  • Press EVER SO GENTLY till the topical application gets absorbed into the skin.
  • Continue tapping lightly on the eye-socket area, along the cheekbone and extend it to the eyebrow bone in a gentle circle.
  • Always from the outer corner of the eye to the inner.

The blood circulation tip given by Dr Vidya Ram Pradeep of Krishna’s Skin Cosmetology & Medical Centre, Chennai is something that we can all practice everyday and anytime of the day. To keep a radiant skin, not just  the under eye area but the rest of the face too.

Do not forget your neck, decolletage and palms, they show signs of ageing next only to the under eye area. Treat them to a gentle application of your serum, or cream and pat and tap like you would your face.

Apply the same technique if you are going to be pampering the rest of your body with oils, creams, or lotions.

Anti-ageing In The Shower

pat dont rub skin mantra

The skin-mantra

 

Oh yes, anti-ageing has become a part of your life now. So, while you cleanse your face with a face wash and your body with a shower gel, use circular motions for application and once you are rinsed, remember to pat yourself dry all over with a soft absorbent towel. If you are one of those that cannot do without rubbing yourself dry (it’s just a habit, you can grow out of it) or are in a rush, just remember to run your towel ever so gently in upward strokes and never down. We are not lending a hand to gravity in letting our skin sag !

Additional tip : Apply your face wash on wet skin gently and in circular motions, massage your skin (without rubbing) with the product for 10 secs or more. Give the product enough time to work on your skin and do its job. Opt for a pharmaceutical product that suits your skin, consult a dermatologist. If you are looking for a good face wash, refer to my earlier post on Glogeous Advanced Face Wash Gel

Video Credits : Thank you Akriti Sachdev

There is beauty in wellness and ageing gracefully with minimum damage to the skin requires an effort, the results of which will stay with you much into older years. So lets make anti-ageing and slowing it down fun. So feedback time, like it if you did and share a view or two.

Ciao till the next anti-ageing tip…….

Muscle Training Basics And Tips For Beginners

Why Muscle Training ?

Muscle training or resistance training is even more important than cardio training. We can manage to get cardiovascular workouts through several activities like walking, swimming, cycling, trekking et al. But muscle training is what is going to hold us in good stead as we progress in age. Our bones are bound by muscles and give our bodies the shape that we all dream of, that shape that we sometimes envy on others.

Image courtesy : livestrong.com

Note : The words strength training, resistance training and muscle training are used interchangeably. Resistance training increases muscle strength by making your muscles work against a weight or force. Different forms of resistance training include free weights, weight machines, resistance bands and your own body weight.

This blog post is the result of a query of a 23-year-old in the gym a few days ago. Her goal was to shed weight and slim down. My question, “how about muscle training” got her eyebrows up in wonder with a counter question, “isn’t muscle training for men only?” And then “can you help me with some basics if I have to do strength/muscle training?” I felt sad that even in these days of burgeoning fitness information on the net and social media, this young thing still remained seeped in that muscle myth. Hope this helps those like her. I have taken a lot of inputs from the American College of Sports Medicine to tabulate the following tips.

Generally healthy populations overlook the importance of resistance training, but the truth is that they need it too. For these reasons :

  • It increases the amount of muscle and elevates bone density in young adults.
  • Resistance training benefits both men and women with a sculpted and toned appearance.
  • In older adults, resistance training helps offset age related bone loss. It helps develop and maintain the strength and ability necessary to complete daily activities as well as fitness programs.
  • For all individuals, strength training allows more ease in daily activities and instills confidence and pride.
  • It enhances moods by releasing endorphin hormones.

How To Muscle Train ?

All beginners, make these your goals :

1) Learning the fundamental exercises correctly

2) Preventing injury by keeping proper form

3) Designing a program that will encourage adherence.

  • Begin with resistance training about twice or thrice a week and allow a day of rest between workout days.
  • Initial muscle soreness is inevitable for beginners..
  • Rest and recovery is crucial.
  • Proper warm-up is most essential. Five to 10 minutes of light cardiovascular exercise followed by gentle dynamic stretches.

In the beginning, any stimulation is progress.

Image courtesy : Internet

  • Do not get stressed with the amount of weight, number of repetitions, or number of sets at first. They can wait for later.
  • Focus more on learning and executing proper exercise technique.

Your muscles are not the only tissues being strengthened. Connective tissues, such as tendons and ligaments also adapting to the strain of the new workout. Your muscles will be the first to feel stronger after starting a training program, but your tendons need a few weeks to adapt to the new muscle activity and strength.

  • Injury in the first weeks is very likely if your focus is on increasing the weight instead of learning correct technique.
  • Give yourself as many sets and repetitions as you need to learn technique. Ask for proper supervision.
  • Avoid getting overly fatigued, mentally or physically, in this phase.
  • You cannot attain perfection on the first day. Stop an exercise if you become frustrated.
  • Tip : In the first three weeks perform one set with weights that will allow 12-15 repetitions. In the next few weeks progress to two to three sets of 12 to 15 repetitions.
  • Not all exercises require the same number of sets in a workout.
  • Heavier weights need longer rest periods.
  • One or two minutes of rest for light weights.
  • Two or three minutes for moderate weights.
  • More than three minutes for heavier weights.
  • Look out for signs of fatigue and adjust rest period lengths.
  • If dizziness or nausea occurs, it is time to stop the workout.
  • Increase the rest period, decrease the weight or sets.
  • Fatigue within prescribed ranges is natural, pain is not.
  • Relook at your technique or consult a medical practitioner.
  • Avoid temptation to do too much too soon. It can demotivate you or injure you.

How To Choose Muscle Training Exercises

Your choice of exercise must depend on your body type and condition, previous injuries, and flexibility. Focus on exercise technique and activating specific muscle groups.

  • You could start each training day with multiple-joint leg exercises (squats or lunges). These exercises activate a better hormone response than upper-body exercises.
  • In most individuals, these movements performed correctly, are safe, can improve coordination and prevent injuries from everyday activities.
  • Next, exercises that target the chest (i.e. bench press) and shoulders (shoulder raise) can be paired with exercises that target the back (seated rows and lateral pull-downs).
  • Abdominal and lower-back exercises help build stability and support. The bridge pose (top of a push up) or the bird-dog exercise top the chart.
  • A total body exercise program could look like this :

1) Proper leg presses or squats, dead lifts or leg curls, knee extensions (for those with healthy knees).

2) Bench press, horizontal rows, crunches (for those with a healthy lower back, and always balanced with lower-back exercise).

3) Lateral pull-downs, shoulder presses, arm curls, triceps extensions, and calf raises.

  • Beginners, performing a total-body workout may not take more than 45 minutes. It depends upon the rest period length and number of sets.
  • To progress, beginners can experiment with repetition ranges and increasing weights. Your muscles need to be pushed to do better.
  • After about nine workouts or three weeks, alternate heavier weight days with lighter weight days.

1) You could do sets of 12-15 repetitions, 8-10 repetitions, 4-6 repetitions, and back to 12-15 again.

2)Days with fewer repetitions can take more weight. On a 4-6 repetition day, lift a weight that you would be unable to, more than six times (or fewer than four).

  • But remember to maintain proper technique when increasing resistance from one day to the next.
  • In the learning phase of a training program, make sure a certified personal trainer monitors you.
  • Be it weights or machines, a certified trainer can guide you and help you.
  • Many free heavy weight exercises (particularly bench press) should never be done without a spotter.

Finding an exercise program that you can consistently perform is the key to effective strength training. Resistance or strength training is guaranteed to keep you fit and physically independent for the most part. With focus and emphasis on the fundamentals and basics, it can be rejuvenating and rewarding.

Caution : Beginners, please start your muscle training under the supervision of certified trainers.

Image courtesy : Internet. Working out under the watchful eyes of trainer

Do not attempt workouts on your own with charts downloaded from the internet or follow instructions from books blindly. We are all in a rush today, want quick results and turn to Google for anything and everything. Unfortunately, there are some areas like fitness and nutrition where Google can only give us pointers. Educate yourself and then take expert or professional help.

Glogeous Advanced Face Wash Gel With Natural Ingredients

A good face wash is the first step in good skin care – fresh, clean skin then becomes a canvas for the nourishing ritual either through face packs and moisturising, or dabbing a little colour on to beautify the face. But every time we splash water on our faces, they veer towards dryness and to compound it, if we do not use a good face wash, the damage is double-fold.

Glogeous Advanced Face Wash Gel is my latest trusted find in skincare. I have earlier reviewed a few face washes, AhaGlow, Tone N Glow and Lanopearl but have now moved over to Glogeous, which is an advanced version of AhaGlow.

glogeous advanced face wash gel packaging and dispenser, my thought lane

Glogeous Advanced Face Wash Gel packaging and dispenser

I am a stickler for pharmaceutical products when it comes to skin care and Glogeous was prescribed by my dermatologist. I absolutely love it and the reasons being

  • It has lightened my pigmentation
  • Reduced fine lines on my face
  • Brightened my complexion
  • Improved the skin texture.
  • My son’s acne prone skin has cleared considerably.

Natural Ingredients

‘Made from natural ingredients’ tagline on the packaging drew my attention first. Aren’t we all leaning towards most things natural or organic? So, whats so good about Glogeous ? One, it’s a face wash and it does a jolly good job of it.

Two, does it dry the skin as most regular face washes are wont to? No, it doesn’t. Skin feels fresh and smooth and here are the ingredients that ensure it does.

natural ingredients list of glogeous advanced face wash gel, my thought lane

Ingredients of Glogeous Advanced Face Wash Gel

Aloe Vera is the proverbial manna from heaven for the homo-sapiens and is most often used in drugs and cosmetics. With an abundance of amino acids, enzymes, vitamins and minerals, aloe vera has that magical healing, hydrating and soothing properties.

Fresh Cells (Pumpkin) Pumpkin will no longer be viewed as just a vegetable after you read this. It’s certainly not the new kid on the block of beauty and wellness ; the benefits of eating pumpkin have been documented in Ayurveda. Just that we havent seen that ingredient enough in skin care products. Glogeous contains Fresh Cells (Pumpkin). Pumpkin is rich in important essential vitamins and nutrients that nourish the skin and make it radiant. Shahnaz Husain and many other beauty experts recommend pumpkin packs, peels and moisturizers for glowing skin since the vegetable is enriched with vitamins A and C. Pumpkin seeds are on the top of nutritionists’ charts as they are a major source of anti-oxidants. It is one of the vegetables containing the highest anti-oxidising carotene content which gives it its unique orange colour and more specifically the beta-carotene.

Glycolic acid, a naturally occurring acid is a major anti-ageing aid. It reacts with the upper layer of the epidermis and sloughs off dead skin (exfoliation) and exposes live skin cells, thereby lending a fresh healthy glow to the skin. This is where it helps in healing acne scars. Many users and dermatologists have reported a considerable reduction in acne issues.

Propanediol (and) Evodia Rutaecarpa Fruit Extract, got from the Wu-Zhu-Yu fruit is an active ingredient that targets and boosts the microcirculation process, which in turn lends luminosity to the skin and helps even out complexion.

Vitamin E acetate in the Glogeous face wash plays a protective role along with possessing anti-inflammatory properties.. It prevents damage done to the skin by free radicals and UV rays from the sun. Topical application of Vitamin E is essential as certain specific Vitamin E forms may not be derived from our diets.

Three , Glogeous face wash is pH friendly.

Image courtesy : Healthy Skin Solutions

How important is this ? Very. The ability of our skin to fight infection and environmental stresses is derived from our skin’s pH level. A thin layer, called the acid mantle protects the surface of our skin. It is made of sebum, produced by the sebaceous glands of our skin. The sebum mixes with lactic acid and amino acids from our sweat and creates a skin pH level that ideally should be 5.5. Now this crucial pH level can get disturbed due to internal (health) and external (environmental) factors. Glogeous face wash helps in maintaining and restoring the skin’s pH level.

Benefits of using Glogeous Advanced Face Wash Gel

  • Deep cleansing along with nourishing the skin
  • Natural ingredients leave the skin fresh and radiant
  • Does not cause dryness after the wash
  • Maintains skin’s pH level

Directions for use

Price : Is it value for money ?

A 100 g (net weight) bottle costs INR 749. I would say yes, it is value for money. For one, it lasts for months. Two, it cleanses without drying the skin. Three, it works well for all skin types. It helps exfoliate , unblock pores, lighten certain pigmentations, reduce fine wrinkles and improve overall skin texture.

Points to remember :

  • Glogeous does not cause extra dryness, but sensible skin care will always demand moisturising and sun protection. While plain water can rob your skin of its natural oils, a formulated cleanser is certainly likely to do more. Do consult your dermatologist before using any skin care product, that’s my mantra. Investing in a trusted and good dermatologist will save you struggling with skin issues now or later in life.
  • Glycolic acid is an exfoliator, a sugarcane derivative. To know more read here. You could begin with using Glogeous once a day ; once your skin gets accustomed to glycolic acid, you can use it twice a day. If there is a small amount of tingling due to glycolic acid, just soothe it with a moisturizer after the wash.

Availability :

Glogeous is a pharmaceutical product of Torrent Pharmaceuticals, a trusted pharma name and is available at most medical stores, online and at dermatologists’ clinics.

This blog is informative in nature and by no means diagnostic or prescriptive.

Glogeous Advanced Face Wash has rarely affected anyone adversely, however it is always advisable to consult a dermatologist before using any skin or hair care product.

Romancing The Rainbow Moment

 Poetry, an effervescent wave, like a burst of rain on a sunny day.

No clash of clouds, no claps of thunder, no play of the blinding pink streaks of light. Yet manifesting a marvellous, bewitching rainbow.

Breezing in like a stranger, unheralded

Dissipating in equal haste

Gone before you catch a (handful) mindful.

Million raindrops flow not to etch streams,

But soak up mother earth, they do.

Spraying forth whiffs of that earthy fragrance of the Terra. (The poet’s mind enriched and ecstatic)

Dripping wet, barks of trees and their leaves

Glistening and swaying shorn of dust and debris;

Flapping wings, shaking rain-drops off their plumes, the birds

Basking in the liquid sunshine from heaven, the animals;

Young and old splashing around………

Sublime poetry is all this, to a poet’s mind. To the rest, well……it is just Rain !

An attempt at transcreating another of my father, N H Katgeri‘s poems from his collection ‘Pratijnegalu‘. From Kannada to English.

kannada book of poems pratijnegalu n h katgeri, my thought lane

Pratijnegalu, the book of poems by N H Katgeri in Kannada

Kannada is a regional language of South India, from the beautiful state of Karnataka. The poet hails from Dharwad, a city of seven hills in the state. The pen is a social activist’s strongest tool alright, but only a few have used poetry to sow the seeds of change in the readers’ minds. This one above is one of his lighter poems though, penned probably in an evening of reminiscences.

The Poet Muses About The Rainbow Moment

The poet here likens those moments when inspiration imbues his mind, to sudden intense rain on a sunny day, painting a magical rainbow. Words and thoughts take flight on a journey of imagination, with no preparation and no cue of whats to come. The mind just travels. And if poets are to be quoted, the inspiration is not their guest too long.

Just like the unexpected short burst of rain makes no big puddles, but soaks up the earth leaving behind the earthy fragrance that we all savour, the hundreds of thoughts, words and visuals that cross the poet’s mind and eye, leave behind the joy of having created a work of art, like the rainbow.

The philosophical take of the poet is that while every experience is most often physical to the common man, to the poet it transcends into metaphysics and aesthetics.

My dear fellow bloggers, I would love to hear from you all, your thoughts on my transcreated work. Have written a blog post in the Contemplations category after ages; most have been on products and fitness. I am hoping I will do more in this area more often.

Hand-carved Vintage Door, Indian Teak – Make Your Home Special With It

Doors and doorways have fascinated most of us at one time or the other – either for the sheer beauty of the door, or the interest to know what lies behind such a work of art. If the door is carved and splendid, the world beyond and within must be magical too! There goes the child in all of us, seeking a peek at the unknown!

Yes, doors have an aesthetic role in creating an impression of what lies beyond.

This happens to me when I travel and sit by the window of a car or a coach. As houses whip by, there are always a few that catch your attention with their magnificent entrance doors, and my imagination soars. There is immediately an attempt to visualise beautifully decorated, warm cozy living spaces within the house. Term it a pass time travel activity if you will, but it’s certainly conditioned by some visits to some pretty interiors within artistic doors.

The Sandalwood Room has one such antique, carved doorway that will lend beauty and grace to your home. An intricately carved frame and two alluring shutters.

The Carved Doorway

80 year old antique hand carved door ensemble in indian teak, the sandalwood room

A majestic hand-carved front door ensemble in Indian teak, probably 80 years old

A classic Indian vintage carved doorway in Indian teak wood, with two galloping horse busts, fixed on the top at either sides, giving it a regal touch. Through all cultures across the world, horses symbolise the epic power of mind, body and spirit to rise above the ordinary as also trusting relationships. Apt, isn’t it for the doorway then?

horse bust of galloping horse supporting carved header of carved doorway

Galloping horse bust holding up the hand carved header of the carved doorway

Exquisite carving on the door header that adds a beautiful ethnic dimension to the vintage doorway, and tells the story of expert craftsmen, who must have chipped and chiselled away to produce this intricate work of art. This beautifully carved door with its frame, shutters and other embellishments is probably 75-80 years old, and Andhra Pradesh a southern state of India could be its provenance.

intricately carved header of an 80 year old vintage doorway, the sandalwood room

Intricately carved header of the 80 year old carved doorway

Doorway: W 36″ H 72″ Outer frame: W 52″ H 98″

Double shutters in Indian teak, studded with brass knobs are a part of the vintage carved doorway. They can be fixed with the sturdy iron hinges provided at either sides. Wood scores the  most in terms of visual appeal as the surface material, and it adds an organic warmth. World’s best doors are made in wood I would think.

handcrafted indian teak shutters with brass knobs, shooter bolt and handle, the sandalwood room

Handcrafted Indian teak wood shutters with brass knobs and shooter bolt and handle

Details of the brass knobs, the brass shooter bolt and handle  are in the image below. Brass has been the preferred metal in decor for centuries, and continues to hold sway even today, due to its staying power. All it needs is a wipe of polish now and then and its ready to shine and glow. Most would be unaware that the beautiful brass signifies natural good in the world of metals. So yes, reason enough to be used in places of worship, again across most cultures of the world.

indian teak wood shutters with brass knobs, brass shooter bolt and handle

Brass knobs, brass shooter bolt and handle on Indian teak wood shutters

The following images contain the specs and the prices.

tsr-carved-door-with-specs

tsr-door-shutters

Doors as Entrances

Doors are most often symbolically linked with ritual purposes. Haven’t we all felt solemn receiving the keys to a new home or work place, as we step in with new energy and hope? A door is first and foremost an entrance on a literal level, leading us from there to the insides that either are our places of rest or work. Either way, a doorway has some kind of energy. Doors are also closely related to gates and thresholds. The three together create a welcoming portal and a passage, for they   share similar, symbolic features.

Doors make a statement.

Your front door is an introduction of sorts. Of your style and sensibilities. Of your warmth and energy. That is why, most people invest time and money on making a good front door and that done, a natural progression would be to make pleasing and cozy interiors. So, a good door is encouragement to making a pretty home within.

Mix-n-Match Tips

Just like in my earlier posts on home decor accessories the predominant theme has been mix-n-match, so does the vintage carved doorway with its components lend beautifully to the theme.

The gorgeous carved frame could be attached to a wall akin to a showpiece. Within it could be placed on the wall, several small to medium-sized wooden or metal handicrafts, like a collage. Or a statue of your choice giving it a stately look.

The two shutters could also be a showpiece on your wall, just fix them up with screws to give the appearance of a door leading to an inside. Let in a little wonderment!

The carved door is ready for pick up at The Sandalwood Room, Singapore. Contact Anjana@thesandalwoodroom.com or call them at 9786 5896.

The Sandalwood Room at Singapore has more on offer till the 10th Of February, as part of their exclusive home decor accessories sale.

  • Please drop in between 11 am and 8 pm Monday to Friday
  • 11 am to 2 pm on Saturdays

The Sandalwood Room on Tras Street, close to Tanjong Pagar, Singapore is an exclusive boutique with gifts and collectibles, ethnic fashion, jewelry, home decor and art, an eclectic mix of merchandise and an art gallery that hosts periodic exhibitions by international artists.For those with a penchant for contemporary arts and traditional crafts…this is the place to be!

  • If you have liked any of the above products, click here to explore more.
  • Payments can be made through PayPal, bank transfers and cheques (delivery subject to realisation)
  • All products subject to availability.
  • Give them a Facebook like here.

Address:

The Sandalwood Room, 78 Tras Street, Singapore 079017

Phone : +65 6221 2654 / +65 9786 5896

Email: thesandalwoodroom@gmail.com

Website: http://www.thesandalwoodroom.com

Facebook : Visit The Sandalwood Room

Rugs : Add Layers Of New Looks To Your Rooms As Often As You Please

The Rug : A Versatile Home Decor Accessory

The right rug is a home décor accessory like no other. It can make a room look cozy and intimate or give it a dramatic lift. Expecting guests; rushed for time, but you are rearing to give your living room a different look ?  Just throw a floor rug in the entertaining space and you are done. Now go, shower, dress up and you are ready to show off your pretty den.

The art is in choosing the right rug though. The Sandalwood Room has some very pretty and irresistible rugs on sale. Handmade, like everything else in the boutique-store. These rugs are incredibly durable and easy-care ones and are hand knotted, making them that much more exclusive and exotic. It takes several days for a weaver to complete one small rug – truly only a passionate weaver can bring out this work of art. I was amazed to read the details that go into producing hand-knotted rugs , you will value the rugs too, even higher after you read the story of the labour behind it. Click on the link provided above, you will find care instructions too.

The Classic Look

Can you resist this bright and beautiful one? Just right if your interiors and furnishings are in pastels – this rug with tribal patterns hand-woven will brighten up your room instantly.

tsr-hand knotted-rug-rose_fotor, the sandalwood room

Hand knotted rug with a classical touch

Size : 5 X 3 (ft) ; Price : 70 SGD

tsr-rug-rolled_fotor, the sandalwood room, hand knotted

Hand knotted rug, rolled up

You could probably mix and match the home decor accessories below on a fine teak wood side table to give your room a colour-coordinated look.

Rugs or dhurries as they are also called are an essential layer of home decor accessories. Carpeting is boring, rugs are exciting, for they are versatile. It’s like you wave a magic wand and your room gets a new look. Move rugs from one room to the other and keep redesigning your spaces with as little as few square feet!

The Subtle Look

Now for a neutral base. When you have a colourful space, this rug is sure to bring in a subtlety and style with its run of traditional motifs on a light toned base colour.

tsr-rug-beige-and-grey_fotor, the sandalwood room, hand knotted

Hand knotted rug in a neutral tone

Size : 6 x 4 (ft) ; Price : 80 SGD

tsr-rug-beige-grey-rolled_fotor, handknotted, the sandalwood room

Beautiful hand knotted rug in a neutral base , rolled up

A few suggestions from the wide range of table napkins at The Sandalwood Room to go with the neutral tone.

The Traditional Look

Traditional motifs like Ikat seem to be a big hit with rugs, so are geometric patterns. Modern interior designing is so much about fusion. Contemporary colour palettes have made it easier to mix and match, be it personal attire or home designs. With colours of spring, this rug is a cheer-me-up kind. If you have a sitting arrangement in your patio, spread this sprightly rug out for a closer to nature feel.

Hand knotted rug in colours of spring,the sandalwood room

Hand knotted rug in colours of spring

Size : 4 x 3 (ft) ; Price : 60 SGD

Hand knotted rug in colours of spring rolled up, the sandalwood room

Hand knotted rug in colours of spring, rolled up

Tea-cups and saucers to suit the outdoor, garden mood.

The Cottage/Country Look

A rug for a room with cottage or country decor style. Compliment it with folk art hangings, pottery and crockery, if serving your guests hot piping coffee or tea and snacks.

Hand knotted rug for a cottage look, the sandalwood room

Hand knotted rug for a cottage look

Size : 6 x 4 ; Price : 80 SGD

tsr-grey-green-red-rolled-rug_fotor hand knotted cottage look, the sandalwood room

Hand knotted rug for a cottage look

Some accessories to go with the country or cottage look. The ceramic pottery, the box lamp with laser cut copper filigree inlay and transom like glass and Palmyra leaf basket for your fruits or other knick-knacks.

The Versatile Look

This rug maybe for your bedroom, where there is less traffic – it can add an impact. The three-tone rug makes it so simple to match your bed linen and cushions with it. Place it so that the longest side is perpendicular to the bed.

tsr-rug-blue-brown-mustard_fotor hand knotted, the sandalwood room

Hand knotted rug with tribal patterns

Size : 5 x 3 (ft) ; Price : 70 SGD

tsr-rug-rolled-2_fotor in blue, brown mustard, the sandalwood room

Hand knotted rug for a cottage look

A bedside table is an absolute essential for any bedroom. You could use the pretty ceramic round box to keep safe your little jewellery as you get ready for bed. A scented candle of course to create a soft romantic mood as you wind down for the day.

The Ethnic Look

An all out ethnic look with a combination of motifs. It’s the predominant green base that probably lends the rug its ethnic look.

tsr-rug-multicolour_fotor ethnic look hand knotted, the sandalwood room

Hand knotted multi colour rug for an ethnic look

Size : 6 x 4 (ft) ; Price : 80 SGD

tsr-rug-multicoloured-rolled_fotor ethnic look, the sandalwood room

Hand knotted multi-coloured rug for an ethnic look, rolled up

Match the ethnic look with these bright home decor accessories, a cutlery box, a tissue box and an ornate multi-purpose box.

Reed Mat

Here is another interesting accessory, not a rug, but a beautiful hand-woven reed mat. Reed mats are made of plaited reed and can be found in abundance in India and Thailand. They help keep cool and when the sun is at his hottest, people in India and Thailand use them for resting in the afternoons. Its hard work plaiting these mats and the artisans amaze you with their intricacy, so much so that they can, from a distance be mistaken for finely woven fabrics. Credit to the artisans that the reed mats last and last.

Size : 6 x 3 (ft) ; Price : 160 SGD

tsr-woven-reed-mat_fotor handwoven, the sandalwood room

Handwoven reed mat

Tips On How Best To Place Rugs :

  • Perfect placement is as important as the rug itself.
  • Measure the room’s dimensions.
  • Leave at least 18 inches of bare floor exposed on all sides of the rug for best results.
  • In smaller rooms, place it to cover just the center of the room. Accessorise it with a coffee table and seating at the perimeter of the rug.
  • In a dining room, the rug must allow at least 24 inches of clearance around the table. All four legs of all the chairs can then be securely placed on the rug, even when pulled out.
  • A round rug can still provide ample working around space for a square table provided it is large enough.
  • In a bedroom, place the rug as to extend beyond the foot of the bed and not merely outline it.
  • It is best to use rug pads wherever possible to avoid slipping and sliding and to minimise wear and tear.

The Sandalwood Room at Singapore has all these and more on offer till the 10th Of February, as part of their exclusive home decor accessories sale.

  • Please drop in between 11 am and 8 pm Monday to Friday
  • 11 am to 2 pm on Saturdays (Closed for Chinese New Year on Saturday the 28th) 

The Sandalwood Room on Tras Street, close to Tanjong Pagar, Singapore is an exclusive boutique with gifts and collectibles, ethnic fashion, jewelry, home decor and art, an eclectic mix of merchandise and an art gallery that hosts periodic exhibitions by international artists.For those with a penchant for contemporary arts and traditional crafts…this is the place to be!

  • If you have liked any of the above products, click here to explore more.
  • Payments can be made through PayPal, bank transfers and cheques (delivery subject to realisation)
  • All products subject to availability.
  • Give them a Facebook like here.

Address:

The Sandalwood Room, 78 Tras Street, Singapore 079017

Phone : +65 6221 2654 / +65 9786 5896

Email: thesandalwoodroom@gmail.com

Website: http://www.thesandalwoodroom.com

Get Creative With These Home Decor Accessories – Mix n Match

New and different looks is the order of the day. We all (most of us!)want to stand out, make style statements and shine forth uniqueness in almost everything we do. It’s not as easy though – it asks for investments in time and money and aren’t we all rushed and pushed for the two?

Getting a new look with different styles in attire is quite superficial – that’s only a quarter of the battle won. It does not do much to the face which is what draws peoples’ attention and retains it, much after the colour and glamour of the clothes, or jewellery you wear, wears off. Hair can do that magic, for it instantly adds to the beauty of your face and so, rightly termed the ‘crowning glory’. I liken home decor accessories to hair. Just like different hair-dos fetch you different looks every time and add a certain newness to your style, so do home decor accessories. We cannot change the interiors of our homes, or the furnishings as often as we would like to, but we can certainly get creative and add accessories, to spruce up our homes in a way that even the cognoscenti would take note of.

Some creative ideas from The Sandalwood Room – small changes and additions to your walls and corner-spaces that will at once add colour and vibrancy to the spaces.

Decorative Hangings

tsr-customised-decorative-hangings_detachable accessories, the sandalwood room

Custom designed decorative hangings with detachable accessories

Whats special about these ? They can be custom designed. Each accessory, if you notice, is linked to the other by metal chains with hooks that can be attached, or detached. The pretty and colourful boxes in the decorative hangings double up as lamp shades, when used independently. Just detach them and place them on your beside table, in your study, or the living room for that warm, diffused glow. It lit up the worship area of a friend’s house ever so subtly, I had never thought of that!! So, play around with the cane and metal mesh balls, the stuffed toys or anything else you wish to add to the decorative hangings. Isn’t it a lot of fun getting creative, specially if we could mix and match? The pride we all take in such creations is priceless.

tsr-custom-designed-decorative-hangings-pink_fotor

Decorative hangings with detachable accessories

A gallery of the detachable accessories of the decorative hangings.

The hanging box lamps are pieces of art themselves – wooden frames with fabric, glass and copper inlays. The coloured glass used in some is reminiscent of the transoms and the room dividers in the pre-50 era across almost all cultures of the world. So if you are one those who love that look, these are perfect for you. The fabrics used in some others are either silk or silk-cotton, both hand-woven, lending them a rich look. The patterned sides like the one you see below, are made of laser cut copper filigree. An amalgamation of the old and new – traditional materials and craft, yet harnessing the very modern process of laser cutting.

And now for the solo lamp shade, this is how pretty it can look. Check out the second image below for descriptions and prices.

Decorative lamp with glass and laser cut copper filigree inlay, the sandalwood room

Decorative lamp with glass and laser cut copper filigree inlay

tsr-custome-designed-lamp-shades_fotor, the sandalwood room

Custom designed lamp shades in two sizes

Customising is also applying the multi-purpose benefits of an item, just like we did above. Here is another of that genre.

The Rope Trunk

Bright and beautiful rope trunk, handwoven, with storage, the sandalwood room

Bright and beautiful rope trunk, handwoven, with storage

This burst of pink and red in the rope trunk stole my heart, an instant perk-me-up accessory. Hand-woven and handcrafted home decor accessories are always a huge draw in today’s times, so just the right one for fine taste, for getting creative. The Sandalwood Room displays here, how the rope trunk could be utilised to store your cushions, quilts or just about anything, while adorning a cozy corner.

Decorative Mirrors

In keeping with the multi-purpose theme, getting creative and customisation, find below two mirrors that do precisely that. Before we go on to the pictures, a little dwelling upon on why we have all, without an exception come to love mirrors ; I cannot envisage a room without a mirror! TBT to an older post I wrote a while ago and here is the link Mirror musings , the Illusionist , the Therapist. Mirrors are space enhancers, reflect light and sound. Take away the mirror from a room to see how bare the space appears. Mirrors even heal and elevate moods – they are used in physiotherapy too. If you wish to know more, you could read about it in my post (link above).

Long wall mirror with decorative frame and hand block print blocks inlaid, the sandalwood room

Long wall mirror with decorative frame and hand block print blocks inlaid

In the meantime, check out this beautifully framed mirror, inlaid with hand-block print blocks. Hand block printing is an ancient Indian art form that uses a hand carved teak wood block, dipped in dye and stamped by hand on cotton or silk. The design for the block is typically a traditional Indian motif. The motif is traced on  a block by a master craftsman who then chips away at the block to create a stamp. But here, the inlaid blocks are used to render the frame ethnic. The beautiful mirror reflects in turn home decor accessories at the store. And here are the specs.

Long wall mirror with decorative frame and hand block print blocks inlaid, the sandalwood room

Long wall mirror with decorative frame and hand block print blocks inlaid

A peek at the hand block print blocks.

tsr-hand-block-print-blocks-embedded-in-mirror-frame_fotor, the sandalwood room

Hand block print blocks inlaid in mirror frame

Another mirror to do the magic, to your walls and to you. This is contemporary carving in wood and painted with a distress finish. So, all you distress finish enthusiasts, jot in on your list.

Wall mounted oval mirror with a distress finish

Wall mounted oval mirror with a distress finish

Decorative Wall Hanging

Intricately carved, this decorative wall hanging is purely an indoor home decor accessory. It combines the rustic with the artistic. Gift this to a dear one and you will be remembered fondly for gifting them art.

tsr-carved-wall-hanging-2_fotor, the sandalwood room

Carved wall hanging

tsr-carved-wall-hanging_fotor, the sandalwood room

Carved wall hanging

The Sandalwood Room at Singapore has all these and more on offer till the 10th Of February, as part of their exclusive home decor accessories sale.

  • Please drop in between 11 am and 8 pm Monday to Friday
  • 11 am to 2 pm on Saturdays (Closed for Chinese New Year on Saturday the 28th) 

The Sandalwood Room on Tras Street, close to Tanjong Pagar, Singapore is an exclusive boutique with gifts and collectibles, ethnic fashion, jewelry, home decor and art, an eclectic mix of merchandise and an art gallery that hosts periodic exhibitions by international artists.For those with a penchant for contemporary arts and traditional crafts…this is the place to be!

  • If you have liked any of the above products, click here to explore more.
  • Payments can be made through PayPal, bank transfers and cheques (delivery subject to realisation)
  • All products subject to availability.
  • Give them a Facebook like here.

Address:

The Sandalwood Room, 78 Tras Street, Singapore 079017

Phone : +65 6221 2654 / +65 9786 5896

Email: thesandalwoodroom@gmail.com

Website: http://www.thesandalwoodroom.com