Scoria World | Yara Kamal
Yara Kamal has developed a line of products that have been very helpful to people all over.
“Scoria World focuses on sustainability, imagination and creative-empowerment in the fitness world. Scoria’s cork gym mats improves practice through their excellent sweat-grip that prevents practitioners from slipping during a sweaty practice. They are 100% natural, free from harmful chemicals and reduce synthetic environmental waste as they biodegrade at the end of their lifecycle. The cork top is antimicrobial making it easy to clean without worrying about bad smells or molding. Scoria products also make a positive social impact in the lives of children, one yoga mat at time, donating six meals to a child per yoga mat purchase,” Yara explains.
Scoria World was Yara’s creative outlet and a way for her to help the lives of other people. I wanted to know how she came up with such a brilliant, yet kind idea. “The concept was born when my creativity was stagnant and the study of reconnecting with my inner child was one of my biggest passions. Reconnecting with playfulness was a transformative journey that led me to ultimate mental freedom and empowerment. So, I wanted to share it with the world. As I tested different plant-based materials to create mats, I fell in love with cork, because of its functional qualities and sustainable harvesting. A lot of fitness brands out there have been creating yoga mats that are either synthetic & colorful, or sustainable & uninspiring. So, I recognized that the world needed something different; it needed inspiring products that are “innocent” and “naive” in their art style for a waste-free adventure,” Yara says.
The fact that Yara is so connect with her inner child is what makes this product great! The idea of connecting something like yoga with childhood playfulness is the perfect pitch. What differentiates Scoria between other yoga brands is that the designs are inspired by children’s stories. “I aimed to promote health and wellness not just in terms of fitness performance but also in terms of connecting with the mind and mental health. The childlike sketches are inspired by the stories and drawings my art students would create expressing their hopes, dreams and their ‘pretend’ world.The designs serve as a reminder that we can be more playful in our daily lives while using imagination to improve our mental wellbeing. Scoria also donates six meals to a child per yoga mat purchase,” Yara expresses!
Now this concept wasn’t something that just happened overnight for Yara. Of course, she had to do a lot of research both scientifically and even a little soul searching. I wanted to know just how deep did she dive in and it was no surprise to me that Yara definitely knows her stuff and have science to back it up! “In terms of regaining creativity, many psychologists explored the process of loss of creativity in their studies and how to regain it. They have also mentioned and talked about play and movement as adults just as if we were children again is very important for mental health, physical health and wellbeing. The majority of grown-ups quickly label themselves as “non-creative” when growing up. And many psychologists have proved that creativity can be practiced, nourished and regained. This may get a little technical and dive into some details, but when I established this idea of story-telling with children’s drawings in combination with my thesis collection, it was during my fashion graduation project at Ryerson University. The research that I was diving into helped me understand the psychology of children growing up and the situations that tend to limit creativity as we grow up. I would recommend mainly a book called “Creative Thinkering” by Michael Michalko, who is one of the most acclaimed creativity experts in the world.
It has also been studied and proven that being taught organization, structure and logical thinking through traditional schooling is one of the reasons behind the decrease in creativity. Without imagination, play and conceptual blending, a person’s creativity diminishes. Movement does help also with the flow of energy for mental health and creativity. Age also plays a part mainly because one establishes a sense of self. The theoretical framework for the project was in support of the two theorists, Edward’s Deci and Jean Piaget. Deci explains that intrinsic motivation is undermined once one feels like we are being watched, controlled or negatively talked about (Deci & Reeve, 1996). With this theory in mind, I focused my research on how one tends to be more creative when younger and how us, grown ups, can celebrate creativity more with all ages.
Sometimes people tend to stick to a boring routine that involves certain repetition of sets and muscle targeting and then the day is over. But when we understand how the connection of play with fitness can improve our practice and mental health, we can become more courageous with expression, creativity and living our truth. It can start with a simple choice of taking workouts outside or by getting creative with props available. Even by putting some time in creative transitions in yoga or new ways of stretching can help keep practice playful and inspiring. It becomes easier to commit to a fitness practice when it’s truly fun. Unleashing creativity allows us to explore the idea that there are no rules as long as we do so safely. Fitness doesn’t have to always be serious, and when fun is involved, results of the practice quickly improve and fitness goals are more likely to be reached,” Yara details.
Where should they focus most of their energy to get the most bang for their proverbial buck?
I believe that scheduling is really important! If you schedule your practice, workout or meal plan/ prep at the same time every week, it will help with consistency of creating a habit. I am also a strong believer in putting energy and time into mindset practices that help with positive thinking and motivation. Negative self-talk or comparison can be one of the biggest killers of healthy habits, so practicing gratitude daily is so important. My favorite is the practice of thanking my body for its ability to move. Once I remind myself that it’s a blessing to able to physically move my body, I always end up not skipping my practice
Think about the 80/20 rule: If you get 80% of your impact from 20% of what you do, what is that 20% for someone just starting?
Maybe it relates a little to the above answer, but I would say that the biggest result that someone will be able to see when starting with minimal effort, is literally to just show up. Even if you don’t feel like it that day, just show up! Feeling down? Show up anyway. Feeling tired? Show up anyway. Even if you end up moving for 10 minutes and not the full hour, the results are huge when you accustom the mind to still make it on the mat. The rest of the practice will unveil on its own. It’s okay to choose a gentle movement that day or choose to only stretch, but hey, you still made it!
Is there a particular workout you prefer or one that goes best with what your doing?
As I practice yoga daily, I love to include strengthening home exercises that go hand in hand with my practice. Right now my favorite exercises is a few rounds of chaturanga push-ups to strengthen the upper body, some handstand drills as I am on a journey to hold a handstand with proper alignment with control. One of the drills includes getting upside down on my hands while facing the wall and bringing my nose as close as possible to the wall to hold myself in a straight line. I also occasionally practice taekwondo, ashtanga and acro-yoga to compliment my home practice.