What does wellness mean to me?
It’s definitely not new news that over the last couple of years we have seen a huge move towards health, fitness and general ‘wellness’ being the most buzzed about trends. From the growth of Lululemon into the UK market, delivering their gym clothes in bags covered in motivational quotes, to Deliciously Ella as the face of Amanda Wakeley, we are all being pushed to eat better, feel better and take some time out. I am a self confessed yoga bunny and attend classes 3 – 4 times a week. Yoga has given me something to ground and focus me when times get stressful. It has absolutely changed me.
On Sunday as I found myself racing across London with a slight Prosecco fuelled hangover (it’s all about the yin and yang) in order to get some of this all important ‘wellness’ time in, I headed to the latest must try hot yoga class. I arrived feeling completely stressed and on edge, having failed for the millionth time to correctly navigate the Northern Line. I mean, in my frenzy to actually take 2 hours of ‘me time’, I was actually left feeling completely stressed; however, I had now safely arrived and was ready to begin. As we all bent and stretched in a hot room for 90 minutes, in what felt like a slightly competitive environment, led by a woman with a headset surrounded by a bevy of ‘hot’ girls – both from the fact the class was 38 degrees and a number of the clients were clearly models – I couldn’t help but wonder quite how far we had come from the original practice and purpose of yoga.
At the end of the class we were invited, as at all yoga classes, to lie in Savasna and reflect for as long as we wished. This, on a Sunday afternoon in North London, turned out to be not very long at all, as people clambered and barged over each other to get out of the studio as quickly as possible. I found myself reflecting on the irony of ‘unplugging’ just to instantly start racing about and being rude to everyone around you again. In the changing room, I heard a woman who had basically nearly knocked me down, reflecting with her friend on how ‘glowing and content’ she felt. I am fairly confident she later uploaded a motivational quote to Instagram along these lines, but her ‘glowing contentment’ was not necessarily mirrored in her actions.
It feels like we are all trying so hard to seek out this personal time but is it actually making us less stressed? In our bid to be better people, are we not just getting ourselves into even more of a frenzy? When will the backlash begin against the constant pressure to be eating the latest designer piece of kale?
The next time we post a motivational quote on Instagram would we not be better to just be a little kinder to someone we know?
As for me, I walked home, breathed in the fresh air and called my best friend to laugh a lot -and that was the best I felt all week! Maybe it’s about looking at what wellness means personally to you. My challenge now to brands looking at wellness is: who can affect an actual cultural shift in how we live rather than just continuing a fad?