Free Press Journal

Cheers To Great Health And Good Times : Wellness Secrets For The Year


SUCHISMITA PAI tells how to remain healthy this year.

As a new year unfolds, it’s time to leave behind the excesses of the holiday season and focus on a newer, healthier beginning. Pune resident Uma Badve is not your regular young and restless twenty-something, who follows the ‘work hard, party harder’ mantra with a vengeance. Quitting a high profile job in Delhi and moving back to Pune was just the first step she took last year to gain greater control of her life. This year, it’s going to be a slower pace of work and greater attention to health for the committed professional.

Vipassana, an ancient technique of meditation practiced in Buddhism, is high on her wellness agenda. She says with a smile and a touch of philosophy, “I’ve discovered that Vipassana is the best way to learn how to act instead of reacting.” Her mind sorted, Badve has an ambitious fitness goal as well. The youngster wants to shed some of the extra kilos that have been weighing her down for some time now and has recently discovered a fun way to do it – spinning, a relatively new group workout introduced in health clubs and studios across town, involves putting in a few fun hours on the exercise bike every week, in the company of racy music, psychedelic lights and, yes, other eager fitness enthusiasts.

On the work front, Badve has decided to adopt a stress free approach. Having given up a high pressure job she is now happy to be part of a start-up that designs and implements sports and fitness curriculum in local schools. “Slowing down and savouring all that is around is my mantra for this year,” she states.

Wellness is set to take on a whole new meaning for 39-year-old Ashish Nene as well. Though badminton, cycling and regular Thai massages have always been part of his physical fitness routine, now this young man, soon to be a father, plans to explore his spiritual side by joining a Viapssana course. “Ours is a spiritual family. As a young boy I had asked my mother what the purpose of our life was. I believe Vipassana will take me a step closer to the right answer. I want to do this before the baby comes along,” he reveals.

Of course, not everyone is looking to sort out their “inner engineering” – to borrow the phrase from well-know spiritual guru Jaggi Vasudev. There are some for whom a good massage is the straight route to attaining a Nirvana-like state of mind. And there’s no denying the added health benefit it brings.

The newest therapy in town is the ‘car commuter special’ massage package available at well known facilities like the Four Fountains Spa. Specially created for today’s fast track life, where people spend a great deal of their time in cars, this package pays singular attention to the neck, back and other areas of the body that get stressed from driving. “It is sheer bliss,” sighs Pune girl Anokhi Seth, adding, “This is a definite part of my new year things to follow. I plan to make it a regular part of my wellness routine. It is a god sent answer to commuter fatigue.”

There are many like Seth who have already booked appointments for their favourite therapies at their nearest wellness centre. Reveals Anita Rao, proprietor of Nagarjuna Ayurvedic Treatment Centre, “January is one of the busiest months for us. During the New Year rush we get a number of overseas visitors clients as well. I feel winter is anyway the perfect time to pamper one’s body even with something as basic, yet soothing, as an oil massage.”

Facials and body massages are in great demand during the New Year even at Chash of India, a premier salon and spa, which provides high quality Ayurveda treatments. Reveals Chashmum Khan, the owner, who adapts her family’s ancient beauty and wellness secrets deep-rooted in the hakim and Unani herbal traditions, in her state-of-the-art spa/wellness centre, “Body steam scrubs are very popular at our spa. They are a great way to detoxify the system – whether or not you have partied hard.”

Dipali W.’s idea of well-being is having the confidence to stand up to the minute scrutiny of the people around her. “When I look my best, I feel great,” says this fifty plus woman. But putting her best face forward means undergoing some cosmetic procedures – they could be anything from microdermabrasion facials and derma rollers for stimulating cell renewal to Botox fillers.

She discovered these procedures six years ago when she first visited Dr Bipin Deshpande, a cosmetologist, for a rather alarming patch of pigmentation on her face. “Wellness comes from within and if you are depressed about how you look, you cannot be a 100 per cent healthy,” says Dr Deshpande, who runs a successful practice. These ‘lunch time procedures’, as they are called, require no hospital time and they are topping the popularity charts, even with people in their thirties breezing in and out of the numerous clinics that have mushroomed. Soon Dipali will be ready to face the world with yet another newly administered treatment to her face.

For all those people who are looking to kick start their year with the help of “skin deep” treatments or intense spiritual therapy, there are an equal number who wants to gain by developing better life skills. Art of Living Foundation’s ART Excel course for children between 8 and 13 years promises to help them realise their natural potential and the Youth Empowerment Seminar (YES!), a dynamic and fun programme that challenges teenagers to take responsibility for their lives, are among the popular courses this season.

Inner strength or external gloss; relaxation or life altering activities, every year brings with it the promise of a fresh start and the hope that the best is yet to be. And good health can only mean good times ahead!