Since naming its own International Yoga Day on June 21 two years ago, India is positioning itself as the land of ancient healing and wellbeing. The increasingly digitally-powered wellness industry has made practices such as Ayurveda, Yoga, Unani and even Kama Sutra available across the globe. These offer a holistic wellness experience, one that combines the healing of mind, body and soul. While this Indian wellness ethos taps into the rising interest in alternative therapies, is there more to the craze for ‘desi’ wellness and is it worth exploring?
From natural pain remedies to pampering rituals, the secrets of Indian beauty are often hidden in the simplest lifestyle habits. Such as regular oil massages for strong hair or applying sandalwood for a radiant complexion. Home-made remedies for everything from a headache to a sore throat are also popular across the subcontinent (and increasingly, worldwide). Derived from natural ingredients, based on Ayurveda or Naturopathy principles, these further reflect the current trends towards conscious retail.
It Fits Post-Modern Needs
While the global beauty machine continues to grind out products loaded with chemicals, in environmentally unsustainable packaging, there is also a rising trend towards going back to the basics. From food staples to personal care products, the traditional distribution system inherent in India – being lost by the forces of globalization – is now being rediscovered in the West.
The more advanced our level of consciousness, the stronger the lure to return to integrity. We are now making smarter choices about how we shop, how we spend our time and how we look after ourselves. The solutions offered by living an Indian wellness lifestyle, according to the tenets of traditional practices, mirror this spirit of self-actualization that society is seeking today.
Look at Yoga for instance. Beyond merely a practice to counter the obesity epidemic (India now counts amongst the top five countries in terms of obesity), at a deeper level it invites mindfulness to make smarter lifestyle choices. Highly popular amongst the A-listers of the Indian film industry, it is an essential part of their routines.
Equally, wellness spas and retreats now cater to guests who desire full-immersion into holistic healing with wellness getaways to suit every budget. From the premier Ananda spa in the Himalayas to the luxury Yoga retreat Shreyas on the outskirts of Bangalore in South India. Additionally, there are several boutique retreats unveiling curated wellness packages that incorporate Yoga, Meditation and Ayurveda, all in a one-week experience.
Every day, we make countless choices. These affect our bodies, minds and overall wellbeing. What to eat; what products to use; which causes to promote; what company to keep, and so on. ‘Desi’ or Indian wellness invites us to ‘look forward to yesterday’ by leveraging the traditional healing ways of India and strengthening them right back where they belong. In India, where they are sorely needed.