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Nashville, TN
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True to the name 'Shivam' - consciousness, mindfulness, - we strive to make our items by re-using our existing resources, and natural, organic materials.

Our yoga mat bags are handmade using upcycled, vintage fabrics, while the aromatherapy eye pillows are filled with the healing goodness of organic lavender buds and organic flax seeds. 

We hope to extend and share the journey of these goods as they make their way around the world. From our house to yours.

Namaste.

Blog

Welcome to my blog at Shivam Creations.

Shivam means mindfulness in Sanskrit; this space is about trying to lead a mindful life and the elements that go with it: yoga, healthy living, nature, and the creative forces within each of us.

Filtering by Category: health

Celebrate Yoga With This 10-Minute Essential Home Practice

Shivangi Parikh

As the world observes International Yoga day today, it is worthwhile to remember that Yoga is not just a commodity for consumption but something more significant - it is a means for self exploration, discovery and eventually, mastery over ones thoughts and actions. Yoga is so much more than just fancy poses. And this day serves as the perfect reminder for us to re-commit toward living a healthier, happier and more wholesome life.

So how does one do yoga? I am always asked this question in various forms: beginners ask because they do not know where to begin, and experienced practitioners ask because they feel they have to set aside an hour to 'properly' practice, which may or may not happen, and it results in them falling out of routine. I say that from experience myself! The answer is something you've probably heard many times- Consistency is key. Just setting aside a few minutes couple of times a week is a good start. You can always build up depending on your time and energy limits for that day.

To get you started, my good friend, and revered yoga teacher Arundhati Baitmangalkar from Aham Yoga has outlined a simple yet super effective 10-minute home yoga sequence just for you! To keep it easy-peesy, she has omitted a lot of jargon and has detailed photos for each step :)

You can just do a couple of Sun Salutations (pose 1) to begin with, and gradually add the other poses one at a time. Remember: Do it slowly with awareness and deep breaths.

Here is Arundhati:

1.   SUN SALUTATIONS/ CLASSICAL SURYA NAMASKAR: This is the most ancient form of Vinyasa. It is a combination of several poses in a pre-set order that will make you strong, flexible and will you energized and refreshed! We recommend anywhere from 3 to 8 rounds daily.


2.   VIRABHADRASANA 2/WARRIOR 2: Such a strong yet gentle hip opening pose. When done right, it releases the lower back, builds endurance and encourages circulation. If you sit or stand for extended periods of time, this is a great pose to do. Hold for 45 seconds to a minute on each side and slowly build up.

Virabhadrasana II/Warrior II

3.   TRIKONASANA/TRIANGLE:  This will give you a full body stretch. Be mindful that arms and legs need to be straight. Touching the floor with your hand is not important. Use a block under your palm to help you, if you cannot keep the leg straight.

Trikonasana/Triangle

4.   ANJANEYASANA/LOW LUNGE POSE: If you sit at a desk all day, this pose is a must. Initially the stretch will be strong on the front of the thigh but as you start to practice regularly and breathe into it, the muscle will start to release and will get stronger, and help the knee and hip get more stable.

Low Lunge pose

5.   PRASARITA PADDOTTANASANA/WIDE LEG STANDING FORWARD FOLD: This is one of my personal favorites. On the left is the preparatory stage and the right is the complete pose. Make sure to master stage 1 before going deeper into stage 2. This pose not only stretches the legs and releases the lower back but also works as a semi inversion.


6.   ADHOMUKHA SWANASANA/DOWNWARD FACING DOG POSE: This pose is famous for the right reasons. Its elongates the spine, stretches out the muscles at the back of the entire body. Allows the heart to rest and works as an inversion in itself. Great pose to recover from fatigue and restlessness.


7.   URDHVA MUKHA SWANASANA/UPWARD FACING DOG: By bring the chest forward, keeping it lifted and open. Our lungs get a nice opening facilitating better breath and circulation. Enhances mood and helps to keep you alert and awake. Also builds arm strength.


8.   BADDHAKONASANA/BOUND ANGLE POSE: would call this the ultimate pose for the hips. It is so simple, that it is often underrated. No matter what you do, make sure you spend at least a couple of minutes in this pose daily. If your knees are super high, sit on a couple of folded blankets to relieve the strain in your groins.


9.   SETU BANDHASANA: BRIDGE POSE: This pose works on opening the chest and shoulders and helps to strengthen the legs and back muscles. Again it’s a pose that is often overlooked but packs a punch. Make sure your knees are not wider than your shoulders in this pose.


10.   SUPTA PADANGUSHTASANA/SUPINE HAND TO BIG TOE POSE: If you need to do one pose in the morning, I would do this one. Part one, works the hamstring and stretches it out. Keeping the lower back at ease and maintaining the knee joint. Part two, builds hip stability and keeps the hips strong and sturdy protecting the lower back all through.


BONUS POSE!

ONLY if you feel comfortable and would like to try to incorporate an inversion in your practice, do try the Shoulderstand Pose. if this seems too much to attempt then build up to it with the Bridge Pose mentioned above.

SARVANGASANA/SHOULDERSTAND: While we refer to the mother of all poses here. Any inversion during your day will be great. Inversions will keep the brain well fed with blood and oxygen giving energy, calm and clarity. These are meant to be learnt under the guidance of a skilled teacher.

So there you have it. A simple yet powerful set of yoga poses to build your home yoga practice. Remember to get your alignment right in all the poses, stay connected with the breath and hold the poses for as long as you comfortably can and then with time you will build the duration of poses. Give these a try and let us know how you did.

--- Arundhati Baitmangalkar

A big thanks to Arundhati who has outlined a lovely and may I add, not-so-scary sequence, for all of us! You can also check out more videos on Aham Yoga YouTube channel. There are detailed explanations and practice sequences.

Here is to celebrate a happy and healthy lifestyle!

Namaste, Shiv :)

 

Shivangi Parikh

How About Year-End Resolutions?

Shivangi Parikh

Greetings from a freezing Nashville (how is that even possible!)

As we head to the final weeks of the year, (please don't act surprised) I started thinking about which New Year resolutions did I stick to (None) and what am I going to add to my list next year (is 20 a good number?) Of course, thinking of resolutions always begins with feelings of excitement and hope, followed by self-doubt, eventually leading up to major guilt and disappointment. Add to this the winter blues that most of us suffer this time of the year, leaving you feeling moody and irritable! I am sure most normal folks are in the same boat, unless you are one of those freakishly happy people no matter the weather, or if you live in California.

Simple solution: The Year End Resolution! Instead of making these big promises at the beginning of the year, I decided to just make one resolution for the end of the year: Tackling my winter blues.

I decided to start with just one element to set myself up for a higher rate of success: Having a green smoothie twice a week. THAT'S IT. Easy enough to make with things in the refrigerator, and easy enough to stick with. Baby Steps! Plus, it's super nourishing and you feel lighter. I do believe that the wrong foods can make you very lethargic this time of the year.

First step: Have the best smoothie you can find in your area and duplicate that recipe. For me it was the awesome Mango-Avocado-Kale smoothie I had at The Jam Coffee House. Trust me, it is AMAZING! Even my 4-year old son loved it. And it is easy enough to replicate, here is Step 2: 

  • Frozen chunks of mango (I hate ice so this is the best way to get that consistency)        
  • One avocado
  • 3-4 Kale leaves  
  • One glass Coconut Milk Beverage (not the can) 
  • Agave Nectar
  • Flax seed, chia seeds. (You can add any boost but I prefer the natural seeds)

Blend it all together and voila! Hit two birds with one stone: goodbye resolution and winter blues!

Green Smoothie for Winter Blues  

Step 3: Once you get addicted to this (I know you will) you can experiment with other ingredients. I added some walnuts one time, celery another time, basically, add anything that you would not eat otherwise because you will not be able to taste it: the mango and coconut milk combo give the majority of the flavor so no need to cringe!

So far, I have stuck to this the past two weeks: making this either a breakfast or lunch substitute, and I feel more energetic and less crappy. I was even motivated to add another day of brisk walking in my routine. And I have only another 7 weeks to go! I can totally nail this :)

The experts always say to bring about change in small chunks, then why in the world do we all set up these New Year resolutions in January, when we have the entire year looming like a giant, ugly head above us! I say, screw that and start your own Year End resolution...you will be so happy with yourself, like I am. See, I am not even feeling guilty about the 5-inch Dutch caramel waffle I ate while writing this post :)                                       

What resolution are you going to stick to for the next 7 weeks? Make it a good one!

p.s. For more smoothie ideas, try Simple Green Smoothies and http://www.incrediblesmoothies.com/green-smoothie-recipes/

Shivangi Parikh

In Farm-To-Table Heaven (Being a Hippie Traveller Part 2)

Shivangi Parikh

Hello folks..hope you had a good week! 

My week began with one of the most amazing meals I have ever had: Caribbean fusion food at Guadalupe Cafe in the heart of the Smoky Mountains (pic on my Instagram feed). The cafe serves local, organic produce in most of their dishes and it was simply tasty! And like most good food, it took me to this emotional memory lodged in my brains (isn't that what makes good food really good..taking you to this moment in the past?)

So my Guadalupe meal reminded me of my recent trip to Coorg in Southern India where we were lucky enough to great the REAL farm-to-table experience at the farmhouse, Tamara Coorg. You cannot get more in-time delivery of local produce. For instance, our breakfast: the eggs came from the hen coop in the farm that is part of the house; the milk was from the cows in the farm, the butter was from the same milk; the rice pancake was made from the rice that grew in the small paddy field next to the farm; the coffee came from the coffee plantation on the farm; the jelly was home made. Need more proof? I don't think so!  

Needless to say that the food was an absolute culinary delight and would have put any Iron Chef out of business (hmm..maybe not, but you get the point) And no matter how much we ate, we did not feel stuffed. That is the nature of healthy food; no junk chemicals or preservatives that leave you feeling bloated. A bonus was a chance for Arjun to get to meet some farm buddies, and try to catch the rooster roaming about, without success! You go Free Range Hen!

If you get a chance to try a farm-to-table cuisine, or even stay a weekend in a farmhouse, I highly recommend it! Not only will you get the freshest food possible, but it will also give you a perspective on how we use our food resources: are we using them wisely or are we wasting them? But perhaps with food that delicious you might be in a food coma to think too much. So what the heck, just enjoy your moment in farm heaven!

Have a happy weekend :)

(p.s. if you missed my first column in the Hippie Traveller series, its here)

Shivangi Parikh