Lara is the founder of Munimuni Studio, an ethical fashion brand born from a genuine desire to consume thoughtfully and consciously in today's fast retail landscape. She works with local artisans to breathe new life to traditional techniques and materials, each piece designed, sourced and hand-crafted in the Philippines.
1) Tell us about your favorite rituals
I usually wake up early at around 6-6:30 am so I proceed with my routine— I start with lighting a candle, then smudging myself and my surrounding space with a Palo Santo to bring in the energy I need for my meditation. I follow it with 10-15 Wim Hof style breaths and a 20-minute mantra-based meditation.
I also start my work day writing in my bullet journal to plan everything I have to do within that day / week / month. My bullet journal has kept me sane over the past couple of years.
Additionally, yoga has been a solid source of grounding and mindfulness. I used to take 3-4 classes a week, but, during quarantine, I practice at home almost everyday.
I also love my tending to my plants. I could spend as much as 2-3 hours watering, propagating, and checking up on them a few times a week. I realized that I transcend into a meditative state during this block of time with my plants.
2) How do your rituals fit into your morning or night routines?
I try to always be consistent with my meditation which takes a little under one hour. It’s quite a while, but whenever I miss my meditation, I find myself scrambling throughout the day: I’m unfocused and scattered. So much as I can, I try to wake up early each morning and start the day with this grounding practice.
3) How long have you been following these rituals?
I’ve been doing TM (transcendental meditation) for about three years now. I can’t do it twice a day because it can get overwhelming, so I try my best to do it at least once each day. When it’s a hectic morning, I’ll do it in the evening after a shower.
Yoga, I’ve been practicing on-and-off for four years. I’ve always tried to incorporate a physical practice in my life. Pre-quarantine, I would try to book early classes to jump-start my day before heading to work.
4) Who or what influenced you to follow them?
I first encountered TM through Tim Ferriss’ interview with Ariana Huffington (would highly recommend). Then it was reinforced when I stumbled upon Ray Dalio, the author of Principles. Ray Dalio really stands by practicing TM and even credits a lot of his success to this meditation practice.
5) What tools, items or products do you use in doing your rituals?
I would usually light a Saan Saan Kung Tag-Araw candle and a Palo Santo from Slow Folks / Woo Woo. For meditation, I use apps like Tide or 1 Giant Mind, but a simple timer will do.
6) Do you dedicate a special space in your room or home for your rituals?
They’re all on my coffee table in our living area. This is my favorite spot in my apartment because the morning light comes peaking in and it’s where most of my plants are located. It’s personally a very calming and relaxing space.
7) How did these rituals help you on a daily basis?
During a meditation session, I usually find myself confronting my deep-seated fears and biggest sources of anxiety. Whenever this happens, you’re supposed to let go, then slowly, calmly go back to your mantra. It has shaped my approach to life. Meditation has taught me to be steady in the face of difficulty; it has rewired my brain to observe my reactions and emotions through a different lens so I don’t need to be an active participant.
It’s actually very similar with yoga. The main difference is the physicality of it. You’ll feel the release in movement and in breath through yoga. I guess you could say that my meditation is like yoga to my brain, or yoga is meditation for my body? I don’t know, I’ve realized that all my habits and routines revolve around a theme: being present and grounded. Whatever it is I’m doing, I just try to remain deeply within that state and keep at it for as long as I need to.
8) Do you use a particular mantra, self-talk or positive reinforcement as part of a ritual or routine?
I’ve always used ‘Aham’ in my practice. I recently just found out it means ‘I am’.
You can find Lara on Instagram at @lararapanan. Photos by Lara Rapanan.