Dr Arun Pillai, Wellness Director, Dharana at Shillim, decodes the many facets of sustainable wellness, and talks about upcoming trends. By Priyanka Chakrabarti

What’s your definition of sustainable wellness?

It’s a transformative journey that brings about a change in one’s life by adopting wholesome, mindful practices. There’s a saying that prevention is better than cure, and I think, this mantra seamlessly applies to the sustainable wellness sphere too. Treat your disorder before it turns into a disease by following sustainable healing practices. Sustainable wellness doesn’t mean sticking to a restricted diet or spending hours at the gym; it simply means—integrate all essential mindful wellness aspects into your lifestyle.

Dharana At Shillim

Can you share your insight on fitness regimes that complement a plant-based diet?

It’s a myth that there are limitations to fitness regimens when someone is practising a plant-based diet. A balanced plant-based diet can provide both energy and nutrients essential for all fitness regimes; be it muscle growth through proteins or carbohydrates for endurance, a plant-based diet can deliver it all! The presence of antioxidants in plant-based diets play a crucial role in tissue repair.

How is the wellness industry shaping up in India?

‘Wellness’ may be the word of the hour globally, but it is not a new concept in India; thanks to yoga, Ayurveda, siddha and many other such holistic practices that have originated in India. The wellness industry here is worth billions. Unfortunately, the knowledge that we’ve always had within our culture took a back seat, until the whole world started hyping over the benefits of holistic healing and practices. Today, our youth is getting more aware, disposable incomes are rising, and so are communicable and non- communicable diseases. And hence, we are embracing a conscious way of living. If we look back at the 2015 Financial Year, the wellness industry in India was valued at USD 13 billion. With a spike in health risks and growing need for quality healthcare, the sector is now poised to grow at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of nearly 12 per cent and will reach USD 23 billion by 2020.

Dharana At Shillim

What kind of alternative healing techniques will do the rounds in India in 2020?

Although Ayurveda, yoga, siddha, and meditation will continue to enjoy its popularity in 2020, there will be a paradigm shift in new emergences from global influxes, too. Mental wellbeing will be on the forefront with rising work stress tendencies amongst urbanites. Corporate wellness, the change in perception of value- adding to an employee’s wellbeing, will take lead as it is directly proportional to the business growth of a company. Virtual wellness is also a trend that will do the rounds because internet access is growing at the speed of light. This means more apps for remote wellness and mindfulness. Also, I foresee huge growth in the arena of natural wellness; people will seek immersive experiences in ‘deep nature’ that is far from technological and industrial influences. We will become more attune to the variability, beauty and fragility of local flora and fauna and the changes humans are imposing on it. (Reference: Dr Marc)

What are the top three things one should keep in mind before embarking on a detox journey?

Firstly, one has to realise that a detox journey is not a magical transformation of the body where one can get rid of all the toxins at one go. It’s only an effort to cleanse and balance the body’s humoral factors; there’s a lot to do before and after the commencement of a detox journey to reap the sustainable benefits of the detoxification process. Secondly, time and commitment are key. Adhere to the rules laid down by your expert healer to reap benefits. Lastly, a detox journey means a lot of physiological changes that will happen in your gut system as there will be an impact on the microbiome bringing in variations, which is a healing crisis, so keeping yourself prepared for this journey will decrease anxiety and psychological stress.

Dharana At Shillim

Spa-cation has become a booming trend amongst millennials in India. What’s your take on this?

Spa-cation represents vacations, which are in the wellness hospitality space, such as retreats, destination spas, wellness resorts, and hotel spas. Indian millennials are the world’s fastest-growing economy with a considerable dispensable income who are thriving to embrace wellness on all perspectives. Spa-cations are becoming extremely popular amongst urbanites as a lifestyle modifier, as they are exposed to very high intensity of day-to-day stress, not only at workplaces but also in the environment they live in. According to NSDC and KPMG report (2017), the estimated market size of the global spa and wellness industry is around $1.4 trillion with a CAGR of 15 per cent over the last five years. And, destination wellness realm represents at least 30 per cent of this sizable space. In the next three years, it’s estimated that the Indian wellness industry will grow at a CAGR of 20 per cent to reach INR 875 bn.

Shinrin-Yoku (forest bathing in Japan) has become a very popular wellness practice. Is India ready to embrace a trend like this?

Yes, humble Indians with a liberal approach towards wellness practices have welcomed Japanese Shinrin Yoku, which is the process of mindful meditative walk in the woods—a unifying practice of integrating forest ambience through all senses for deeper healing of the mind, body, and soul. There has been several workshops, courses and retreats held in Delhi, Pune, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Rishikesh, Lucknow, and Noida. These walks generally cover the aspects of touch, sight, scent, sound, and taste. Forest- healing walks are known to boost the immune system, reduce blood pressure and stress, improve mood and the ability to focus amongst other things. It can also reduce anxiety, anger, depression, and can improve one’s cardiovascular and metabolic health.

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