Long before ‘wellness’ made its way into our vocabulary, Norma Kamali was putting healthy rituals at the heart of her brand. The legendary New York designer who dressed Studio 54, was an early force in creating what would later be termed ‘athleisure’. With the puffer coat and high heeled sneaker among her other design innovations, she has always been one step ahead.
Growing up in NYC in the 1950s, Kamali’s mother was an advocate for juicing, encouraging a life-long dedication to plant-based living. The loss of many dear friends to the AIDS virus in the 1980s would intensify her search for natural products and self-care practices.
This month, she is releasing a book about her lifelong wellness journey titled ‘I am Invincible.’ Although the book offers helpful insights to anyone looking to improve their wellbeing, it is specifically geared towards women from their 20s up to their 80s.
At 75 years old herself, Kamali has developed a definitive perspective on what it means to age. For her, life is about aging with power, ‘anti-aging' and ‘anti-wrinkle' are words we should eliminate from descriptions of aging, she says. ‘You look good for your age is another!' A good night’s sleep underpins all of her self-care practices. Preparation for sleep begins the minute you wake and everything you do throughout the day affects your sleep, not just when you put your head on the pillow.
Here, the designer shares with us the seven steps to her healthy morning rituals - from sun salutations to steam showers and green juices.
Wake up early
I require seven to eight hours sleep a night and therefore I am in bed early to wake up at 5am. My bedroom is dark and the temperature cool and I wake up without an alarm. By waking up early I have time to follow my morning rituals. A good sleep is so important for me as it diffuses the stresses of the day, but I also find that many of my creative ideas come to me in my sleep, or just as I wake.
Brush teeth with tooth soap
The ingredients from tooth soap [sugar-free tooth cleaning droplets] work as a pulling method to remove bacteria from the mouth. I then use a mouth rinse called Swish that alkalines the body.
Drink lemon and ginger warm water
I use lemon and ginger as a morning tea that is comforting but also helps with the elimination of toxins. The lemon and ginger are digestives and prepare me for a later on break of the fast.
Cat cow stretches and sun salutations
The energy of the movements for 15 minutes helps the blood flow.
I sit comfortably and let my heart and mind settle into my breath and slow the breath to long slow repetitions. I dedicate my meditation everyday and my mind starts a creative idea process that works best in the morning. I have been practicing meditation since 1970.
Before I shower I fully do a dry massage with SMOOTH my exfoliant, made with charcoal and aloe and finely ground olive pits all over face and body. As the colour changes from black to a pale shade I enter the shower and rinse my skin to a smooth moisturised finish. I turn on the steam and breath in the moisture. Steam showers are like moisturisers for the sinuses and especially important with the challenging air environment.
Break my fast
On the 16th hour after my last meal, I have my most important meal of the day. I start with a large green smoothie. Then in an hour or so I will have a salad with greens, beans, olives, tomatoes, avocado and berries with lemon olive oil and sea salt.
If you give this time to your well being in the morning, it makes a statement about how you care for yourself and that interprets into your self-confidence and self-esteem – and in turn folks treat you respectfully.
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