WORLD OF WELLNESS: NEW AGE REALITY OR UTTER FANTASY?
One of the spin-offs from capitalism is innovation. Innovation to (hopefully) make a difference in people’s lives, solve problems and at the same time generate profit for its creators. It’s fair to say that without that incentive, innovation would be stifled as the drive to invest one’s time and resources would not exist.
When it comes to the multi-trillion dollar wellness industry, innovation is at its core. The latest buzzword is ‘LISS’ or ‘Low Intensity Steady State Cardio’: The story of maintaining your training on recovery days from high intensity training sessions by going for a walk or taking a swim. Fair enough.
However, where some products or regimes are just pure imitations, there are some regimes that are really quite innovative. Take High Intensity Interval Training (or ‘HIIT’) for example, where the scientific benefits are well documented.
In the drive to innovate, wellness experiences are increasingly being sold in an exotic manner. As a person who knows about marketing, I am well aware that selling the experience and how it will make people feel is an important part of encouraging people to purchase.
Some people however go to that special length. I was reading something on Instagram where a lady was promoting a yoga retreat that was concocted out of utter fantasy.
Set in a tropical paradise, it was the olive branch from heaven where only serenity and bliss were possible to experience. But that’s the way it seems these days, in the attempt to stand out from the crowd. It’s all quite familiar really if you are one of many in this wellness game. Essential perhaps in order to stand out from the crowd.
Back home, I often see events appealing to those who are “stressed out”, “anxious”, “exhausted” etc.. and telling me that I should come along or try this and be transformed by the experience. It doesn’t present a picture of a happy society at times, does it?
However, what if I’m not in distress – what if I’m just cruising along, what if I’m just ok? How should I relate to this? What if I’m interested in just coming along and doing some yoga or meditation?
That’s exactly what we will do this year for Easter: We liked the look of the retreat place, it resonated with our values and we connected with the owners. We have no idea about the yoga, but in faith we trust, because as yogis we know that we are coming to practise yoga. That’s all.
The truth be told then, that in the world of wellness, we are often sold a fantasy. The reality is that walking is walking and yoga is yoga. People have been doing it for thousands of years and will continue to do so too. It works.
So too retreats will always be retreats. Special in their own way, yes, yet the magic begins once you set foot onto the mat and connect with your fellow students; rather than some magical-based pre-conceived notion of a beautiful concocted story that’s all made up… in your head.
That said, perhaps some people need to be told a story in order for them to make that first step. After all, my love affair with yoga began with a yoga retreat over Christmas in 2012 on a rustic, traditional Spanish olive farm, a short drive from Seville surrounded by lush green rolling plains and traditional white Andalusian villages… would you like to know more about it?
What’s your experience of wellness?