8 fitness and wellness experts reveal the health practices they religiously follow - Elle India

8 fitness and wellness experts reveal the health practices they religiously follow

Time to change your morning ritual

BY Mamta Mody | September 12th, 2018

From macrobiotic nutritionist Shonali Sabherwal to yoga teacher Mini Shastri, we spoke to experts and influencers leading India’s wellness revolution to understand their own health practices. Here are some nuggets of wisdom.  

Luke Coutinho, INTEGRATIVE AND LIFESTYLE MEDICINE PRACTITIONER AND HOLISTIC NUTRITIONIST

If you want effective wellness advice served up with some real talk, tune in for Coutinho’s weekly Facebook live chats. His candid segments offer achievable solutions for everyday issues, like finding the right 4pm snack and the importance of emotional detoxes. His mantra is simple: “‘Healthy’ is not just about weight or looks, it’s about how well your body is aligned with your mind and soul.” It’s this balanced approach that’s also made him one of the most in-demand experts for disease prevention and cancer care.

MORNING RITUAL: “I eat breakfast if I’m hungry, and if not, I prefer to observe an intermittent or dry fast, depending on the kind of day I have planned. I like to listen to my body”

On Luke: Cotton T-shirt, cotton trousers; both Zara. Cotton socks, stylist’s own. Leather sneakers, Onitsuka Tiger

Decor: Sheesham wood woven jute ‘Jura’ bar stool, Fabindia

Photograph: Sahil Behal


Avni Biyani, CONCEPT HEAD, FOOD HALL

Thanks to her team of researchers and nutritionists and Biyani’s careful curation, the speciality food store chain is always on top of the latest wellness trends, whether it’s the keto diet or the Instagram-worthy moon milk. Now, they’re all set to open their 12th store in Mumbai, a 25,000 square foot gastronomic haven with a healthy food café. She says, “Along with education, we also want to inspire our customers to innovate. If you’re vegan, we will show you 30 new recipes to help you stick to your health goals.”

MORNING RITUAL: “I keep it simple with some light stretching, the occasional yoga class and a basic breakfast”

On Avni: Satin dress, Massimo Dutti. Leather shoes, Charles & Keith. Metal ring, Lune. Rings, watch and cuff; all Biyani’s own

Decor: Metal mango wood ‘Melange’ dining chair, Fabindia

Photograph: Sahil Behal


Mini Shastri, YOGA TEACHER AND WELLNESS CONSULTANT

For the past 20 years, Shastri has been running the successful Om Yoga Shala in New Delhi and conducting health retreats around the country. More recently, she’s turned consultant for Good Earth’s highly anticipated wellness brand, Paro, to bring yogic, naturopathic and Ayurvedic knowledge into contemporary self-care practices. “Ayurveda and yoga strengthen our innate power to self-heal. And in about 10 years, they will be the most sought-after preventatives for illnesses caused by pollution, chemicals and stress.”

MORNING RITUAL: “I first wash my eyes with cool water and spray rose water to nourish them. I then massage my gums with medicated oil and practise oil pulling”

On Mini: Cotton and organza dress, Bodice. 22K gold-plated sterling silver earrings, Misho

Decor: Artificial planters, courtesy Apartment 9

Photograph: Nayantara Praikh


Cindy Jourdain, FITNESS EXPERT

The former Royal Ballet ballerina was meant to come to India only for a short stint as Katrina Kaif ’s personal trainer, but she stayed back and has ended up changing the country’s fitness landscape. Bollywood celebrities and models swear by her boot camp and since early this year, her Mumbai studio, Beyond, has begun hosting diverse workshops by international coaches, young local talent and wellness teachers. “I’m quite a traditionalist when it comes to mental and physical growth,” says Jourdain. “Give me motor skills development any day, something that will help with neurological adaptations for both children and adults, and I’m a fan.”

MORNING RITUAL: “I begin my day by sitting on the side of my bed looking out the window. I like to feed off the city’s energy and sunshine”

On Cindy: Polyester-blend top, Massimo Dutti. Cotton-blend trousers, Mango. Gold-plated metal cuff, Lune. Leather heels, Charles & Keith

Photograph: Sahil Behal


Shonali Sabherwal, MACROBIOTIC NUTRITIONIST AND CHEF

Sabherwal has been a gut health pioneer in India, and her holistic methods, using foods and cooking styles effectively, treat health concerns ranging from indigestion to cancer. If you can’t sign up for her customised diets, try her workshops that teach wholesome lifestyle habits. She says, “You have to follow a healthy plan at all times—like a lifestyle, not a diet.” Watch out for her line of packaged fermented foods; it launches next month.

MORNING RITUAL: “For the past 22 years, I’ve been waking up at 5am and practicing vipassana for an hour before starting my day”

On Shonali: Cotton dress, Cord. 22K gold-plated sterling silver earrings, Misho

Photograph: Sahil Behal


Aditi Malik, DIRECTOR, CONSCIOUS FOOD

Way before juicing and raw-food diets were trending, Conscious Food was impressing upon the benefits of choosing local and organic foods. Over the past 30 years, the certified organic brand has become the most trusted name for everything from typical kitchen staples to the latest superfoods. And now under the guidance of Malik, a former banker, it has reached a wider audience through an online store and active community engagement through social media. She says, “When you are conscious about eating well, that means you are aware of what you’re eating, how it is grown and how it should be cooked. You’re already on a more holistic life path.”

MORNING RITUAL: “I start with a yoga class that reminds me that I need to be equanimous at all times”

On Aditi: Cotton dress, The Summer House. Silver plated earrings, Lune. Rings and bangles, Malik’s own

Decor: Sheesham wood square ‘Bistro’ table, Fabindia. Artificial planters, courtesy ABACA

Photograph: Sahil Behal


Jewel Gamadia, ACUPUNCTURIST

Known as Bollywood’s go-to healer (Anushka Sharma, Virat Kohli, Katrina Kaif and Vaani Kapoor are all happy clients), Gamadia is known for his holistic approach towards beauty. With over 10 years of experience in the wellness space, he practises drug-less therapies for skin disorders, allergies, health conditions and injuries. His philosophy: “Beauty comes from deep within your body. If you have a wrinkle, it’s important to find out why the body isn’t making enough collagen, what the missing nutrients are, and which related glands aren’t functioning right. The wrinkle is just a symptom.”

MORNING RITUAL: “On a regular day, I drink half a litre of water with lemon, then I have a few teaspoons of chia seeds post breakfast. Before a holiday, I switch to water with cinnamon, followed by a light breakfast and some vitamin C”

On Jewel: Knit sweater, cotton trousers; both Corneliani. Watch, Gamadia’s own

Decor: Artificial planters, courtesy ABACA

Photograph: Sahil Behal


Sumaya Dalmia, FITNESS AND WELLNESS EXPERT

From setting up Delhi’s first state-of-the-art personal training studio 10 years ago, to creating a unique fitness retreat for the luxurious Ananda In The Himalayas, Dalmia has shaped the way women look at fitness and nutrition. Next month, she is set to conduct a wellness conclave at the members-only club, Quorum in Gurugram. She believes, “You need to follow a regimen that keeps you injury-free and helps you stay consistent.”

MORNING RITUAL: “I was never a morning person. So, I use the first hour to plan the day ahead—it gives me a jump-start and helps me stay efficient”

On Sumaya: Cotton trench, Rashmi Varma. Leather heels, Christian Louboutin

Decor: Artificial planters, courtesy Apartment 9

Photograph: Nayantara Parikh


Styling: Akshita Singh

Art direction: Vidhi Mirpuri

Hair and make-up: Jean-Claude Biguine Salon and Spa (Mumbai), Blossom Kochhar College of Creative Arts and Design (New Delhi)

Assisted by: Pujarini Ghosh, Ishani Desai, Gitanjali Poonia (Styling)