Flamingo Yoga e-Boutique
Let us connect back with nature
In the beginning of my yoga journey, buying a mat did not pose any glitches. Only two things mattered then – the cost and the colour of the mat; and the decision was easy. But as my practice deepened, the need to connect directly to earth, without an artificial barrier in between became important.
In addition, knowing that PVC mats becomes a burden to the environment, it was difficult to be happy with the mat I was using. I felt the need to work in tune with nature and not against it.
Seated prayers in India never involve artificial materials. We use wooden planks, Dharbha grass or special mats made of natural materials specially designed for the purpose.
To me, Yoga is a sacred and spiritual practice through which we become one with nature. So how can we use artificial mats for the practice? Thus began my search for a natural yoga mat.
Going forward, I was clear that my next mat should be a natural alternative.Seeing how difficult it was to get natural yoga accessories, a decision was made to make this available in the UAE market.
I felt this urgency to bring back that connection to nature without having to worry about the consequences of yoga practice. This was to be my next purpose – to build awareness and encourage responsible yoga practice.
The decision itself is easy, but the actualization is tough. Two years of research later, and with tremendous support from my husband, friends and well wishers, Flamingo Yoga & Wellness is now is committed to bring forth 100% natural yoga accessories to the UAE and slowly to the GCC countries.
Gallery Of Products
Hand woven, light weight and colorful with natural rubber backing for grip. Comes in three different colors which are vivid and bright, they are a lovely addition to your yoga practice.
No more plastic or PVC barriers stopping you from connecting to the ground.
Weavers in India diligently hand weave these mats for 3 days to come up with this masterpiece. They are 100% cotton with a natural rubber backing to ensure grip. Heavier than the travel mats and provide cushioning to the knees during practice.
Rectangular bolsters are all natural, filled with Kapok or silk cotton. Kapok is 8 times lighter than cotton, making an excellent filling. Beautiful support for all your restorative postures. Both the outer cover and the inner lining are 100% cotton. Comes with a handle.
We have the longer 8 ft and the normal 6 ft straps for people of every height. The D rings ensure ease of use. It is 100% cotton and the natural color is unbleached and non dyed.
Round bolsters have always been an all time favorite in the yoga world. These kapok filled bolsters have the added advantage of being completely eco friendly and super light. Comes with a handle and 100% cotton inner and outer covers.
The silk is soft on the eyes, the flax seeds gently lets your eyes rest and the lavender scent helps you relax. The external light is shut out and you can sink into Shavasana with ease.
Our Zafu meditation Cushions are filled with all natural buckwheat hulls which gently conform to the shape of our body. An absolute must for meditation and seated postures for ease of sitting on the ground.
Made from 100% cotton, these blankets are hand woven and soft on the skin. Ideal for Shavasana and restorative practices. The natural color is unbleached and non dyed and soothing to the skin.
A must have prop for all asana practice, cork blocks helps you to remain stable without loosing focus on your alignment and breath. They are enviornmentally friendly and completely biodegradable.
“We don't have to engage in grand, heroic actions to participate in the process of change. Small acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can transform the world.” ― Howard Zinn
With your support, we can all be part of that change in making Earth a better place
Materials we use in our products
Cotton is breathable, hypoallergenic, environmentally friendly and biodegradable natural fibre. Our mats, straps and bolster covers are made entirely of 100% natural cotton. Our cotton accessories are soft and easier on the skin.
Kapok, also known as Silk cotton, is taken from the pod of a tropical tree. Its soft and plush fibers are air dried and used extensively in filling of cushions. The main advantage of kapok is that it is lighter than cotton – definitely a better choice than poly fibre. Being a natural product, it is safe for the environment.
Natural buck wheat hulls are our choice of filling the Zafu meditation cushions. The buck wheat hulls are heat treated with Neem leaves (to destroy any insects)prior to filling. It takes the shape of the body, and provide good support making them an ideal choice of filling. It allows for air circulation within the cushion and does not retain or emit heat, making them suitable for use in all climates.
Flax seeds & Lavender
Flax seeds being another natural product is our choice for filling our eye pillows. It is not just useful for shutting out the light, but the gentle pressure it provides on the eyes along with the scent of lavender helps to relieve tension and stress.
Our blocks are made from 100% cork which is sustainably sourced. They are a natural product taken from the bark of the tree and no trees are cut down in the process. Cork is light, antimicrobial and provides excellent support and are firmer than foam blocks.
When the idea of bringing environmentally friendly yoga mats and accessories started to take shape, there was one thing my husband and I were very keen on. This project should not just be about encouraging the use of natural yoga products, but it should also be about giving back to the community which bring us these products.
Hence a visit to the local weavers was a must for us while we were in India. The visit was an eye opener, as we saw the basic facilities from which they operate. We made a decision to support them with our project.
Our initiative is to donate AED 5/ for every purchase made towards the betterment of the weavers.
Our visit to the weavers in India
Handloom weaving is an art which is passed down through generations. No electric power is used during the process of weaving. The only machinery involved in the process is during the addition of dyes, but this is done in an eco friendly way. The water is recycled and reused with minimum wastage.
There are two different sets of yarns, called the warp and the weft which are interlaced in the wooden looms. We underestimate the amount of work that goes into the making of the blankets and yoga mats. Each blanket can be woven in a day, and the yoga mats take around 2-3 days for completion.
Through the images below, let me try to take you through the process from dyeing of the cotton to the end result which is the blanket and yoga mats.
All the props that we sell through our website comes through these artisans. Nothing is automated. Each bolster, meditation cushion and eye pillow are filled by hand and stitched to bring us ease and comfort during yoga.
Water recycling at the Dyeing Centre
The mini water treatment plant is within the facility. After the dyeing, water is treated here and recycled within the facility – Hence, no harm to the environment.
Dyeing process for the cotton yarns
AZO FREE dyes are used for coloring . You can see the large steel rods holding the yarns inside. The dye is then applied in the right quantity to get the desired colors. The image does not do justice to the beauty of these dyed cotton yarns. You can see me in front of the machines, all smiles about the beauty and simplicity of it all.
The dyed yarns ready to be dried in the machines
My husband in the background admiring the colors. The steel rods that you see along with the yarns, came out of the dyeing process and now is ready to be moved into the drier.
These are the wefts
These little cotton wefts move from side to side in the manual loom. They are inserted over and under the warps to form the final weave. These wefts are manually made using little hand made wooden Charkas.
Bringing the threads together to make the warp
All the threads go through the wooden frames and then rolled together to make the warp. The next image is a continuation from here.
All these threads are wound together here to make the warp
The Smiling gentleman here manually rotates this wooden frame to get the threads stronger and longer for the warps.
Here is a bundle of beautiful warps ready to be loomed
You can see how these warps form the lengthwise aspect of the loom in the next image. The warps are much stronger than the wefts.
The warp in the loom ready to be woven
This was a stationary loom, the person in charge was away for a break. But I loved the colours and decided to take the picture anyway.
Blanket weaving in progress
This is the cotton blanket weaving. There is continuous movement of the hands and feet and there is no use of electricity at all. You can see the long threads or the warps clearly. Blanket weaving takes a day and is slightly easier than the mats.
Trying a hand at weaving
Weaving is a lot of hard work and requires practice and precision. The artisans work hard day and night to bring forth the beautiful masterpiece which we see and love to own.
With the weavers
That is me with the weavers. They were all very happy to click photos with us in spite of being busy at their work. Their smiles and authenticity is genuine.
Stitching of the bolster covers
This is within the unit of bolster production, The bolsters and cushions are manually filled. Here we see the stitching of the Bolster covers which are done with precision by these youngsters.
Our 100% Cotton Yoga mat in the making
You can see that the machinery used for the mats are different when compared to the blankets pictured above. The mats take longer to finish – anywhere between two to three days of work without electricity.
A word of sincere gratitude to:
Everyone who has been supporting this project – friends, family and yoga enthusiasts. Each and every input and support has been invaluable
The photos of the props and mats have been taken by Galyna Zhuravel, Creative Artist and Yoga Instructor.
Thank you for spending time to take these amazing photographs and spending so many hours, making them perfect for the website. The results and your work ethics are amazing. You can contact Galyna for any photography assignments through her face book page in the following link: Galyna’s Facebook page:
Model for the photos is Audrey Nkonda: Dancer, Choreographer and Yoga Instructor.
Thank you Audrey, for patiently modeling for the photographs outside in the hot sun without ever once complaining and always having your smile on. Your calm energy was so evident during the photo shoot. Love the results. You can contact Audrey for any photoshoots/modeling assignments through her Instagram in the following link : Audrey’s instagram page