Maryam, founder of the menstrual and spiritual health platform Lunarina, has been guiding people to approach their health holistically through art, reflection and concentration on the body. Her platform melds live interactive workshops with educational courses and content from the Lunarina website. These materials are linked to an app that features menstrual, biometric, lunar and emotional tracking.
The idea for Lunarina started with Maryam’ own health journey. Her experience with body shame, pain, and hormonal imbalances that started making her period irregular led her to seek help from a nutritionist and general practitioner, but she found no relief. Maryam suspected that her health issues were tied to her menstrual cycle. She decided to attend a Red Tent event, where people gather to focus on the period as a cycle of not just hormones, but subsequently emotions, energy levels, and psychological states. For Maryam, this was the key to ameliorating her health issues. She began to focus on the great need for reflection and self-knowledge, which often is left out of conventional western medicine.
So began Maryam’s journey in the Accelerator Program at the Koffman to launch her company, Lunarina. The program helped her hone in on what it takes to start a business and identify a customer base.
“With the business, there are so many moving pieces and so many unknowns,” Maryam reflected. “Learning about that has been super helpful, and interviewing people and then focusing on what is needed. I rewrote my original idea several times. It definitely took a different shape and form based on the input from the interviewees.”
Previous to the Accelerator Program, Maryam developed workshops and team-building experiences centered around creating large artistic pieces. During these workshops, Maryam either provides one of her designs or guides participants to collaborate and create their own as a team. Maryam’s designs focus on negative space, or the cut-out, untouched areas instead of the positive, white space.
Completed works, which are constructed by the participants under Maryam’s guidance, are then displayed in a variety of spaces such as festivals and workplaces. Participants settle into the space and carve out the piece while collaborating with each other. What is left behind is a work of art in material like Tyvek or canvas. Many of the designs are akin to huge paper snowflakes with interlocking shapes that give the impression of flowing water, nerve cells, turtle shells, or dragonfly wings. These interactive art installations have been shown across the U.S. in the Seattle Center, TedX, a variety of festivals and at the Amazon executive center.
These workshops, collectively known as Maryam’s project DreamScroll, helped inspire Maryam’s company Lunarina as it gained support through the Accelerator.
“I visualize what an art piece is going to look like, and instead of putting what has to be there, I remove what does not belong, and then the piece reveals itself,” says Maryam. “So that’s a neat spiritual concept, to remove these different edges that do not belong to you to reveal the inner structure.”
The natural elements that weave their way into Maryam’s designs hark back to her years at the University of Washington in Seattle, where she studied biology and graduated with a degree in interdisciplinary visual arts. Maryam’ integrates her knowledge of biological structures, natural cycles and hormones with the business skills she learned through the Accelerator Program as she develops her company and app.
One of the most gratifying parts of Lunarina for Maryam has been creating safe spaces to help people learn to listen to and care for their bodies. Through the Accelerator program interviews, Maryam found that there is a lack of relevant and accessible information about menstrual and reproductive health.
Maryam looks forward to expanding the research on menstrual and reproductive health, digging into history and anthropology as well as biological research. The Lunarina app will be launched soon after coding is completed.
For more information on Lunarina, please visit lunarina.com
To learn about the Koffman Incubator Accelerator Program, please visit https://southerntierincubator.com/accelerator-program/
– Erin Zipman