Moni El Batrik is a Bikram Yoga student-turned-teacher who happens to be totally talented when it comes to designing functional, fashionable yoga wear for women and men. Bikram Yoga Vancouver is pleased to be offering pieces from her new Chikum line in studio, and now you can read more about Moni right here on the Bikram Yoga Blog!
When did you start practising Bikram Yoga?
I started practising Bikram Yoga 12 years ago, and I haven’t looked back since!
When did you decide to become a teacher and why?
I went to Bikram Yoga Teacher Training in the spring of 2010 because I wanted to experience a different kind of intensity in my practice. You have no idea the kind of smack down you receive in training. Your body completely transforms, as does your mind. My life changed in so many positive ways. Training gave me the tools to pursue my purpose in life – the opportunity and the courage to follow my dreams.
Do you have a background in fashion and design?
Well, I’ve been dismantling clothes and putting them back together since I was nine years old! In terms of technical training, I attended the Helen Lefeaux School of Fashion Design in 2005; I also used to own a clothing store/art gallery in Vancouver called Basement. One thing I’ve always been really interested in is fusing art and technology with fashion and incorporating things like silkscreen and graphics into my designs.
Why did you decide to start designing hot yoga wear?
After training I decided it was time to get back into fashion, and yoga wear seemed like a fun and exciting way to make my mark. There was definitely a demand for it, especially in terms of gear that fit right and felt good. For the past eight months I’ve been working to make sure each piece in the line is comfortable, easy to wear and of the highest quality possible. I’m really excited to be launching it now.
Can you tell us a bit more about the line? What does the name “Chikum” mean?
Chikum, which is a word that Bikram uses in his talks and lectures to describe the sound excitement, is designed for Bikram Yoga in particular, but for other styles of yoga, too. There are pieces that work really well in a hot room, like our fitted, breathable Zaardula Shorts and our Bandit Bandeau, but both our Kusuma Pants and Catula Tops, for example, are perfect for a more “neutral” yoga environment. I’m also coming out with comfy wraps and other designs for pre- and post-yoga wear. There’s really something for every yogi in this line, from the newest beginner to the most advanced practitioner.
Who or what inspires your hot yoga designs?
The biggest thing for me is the yoga community, which is wide and amazing here in Vancouver. My inspiration and ideas for the line have mainly come from making pieces for my friends and fellow teachers and listening to their input in terms of how things should fit, how much coverage they need so they’re not falling out during practice, what type of fabric should be used, how quickly the clothing should dry, how easy it should be to rinse out and wash after class … talking to people and truly listening to what’s important to them is what stimulates the clothing. Fit, fabric, stitching, practicality and comfort are at the heart of each and every product. Running my business in an ethical and responsible manner is also really important. Chikum is sweatshop-free, designed and made right here in Vancouver.
You can find find Chikum Advanced Yoga Wear & Care at Bikram Yoga Vancouver, or shop online at www.chikum.com.