Trying to decode the holistic wellness mantra for people in the times of a pandemic, NewsX was joined by a panel of fitness experts, Sarvesh Shashi, Mitushi Ajmera and Vesna Jacob, for a special show supported by USSEC.

A major challenge in the unprecedented times of Covid-19 was looking after one’s health. A special show, ‘Holistic Wellness Week: The power of protein’, supported by USSEC, was broadcast on NewsX, to inform audiences on the subject of holistic wellness. NewsX was joined by a panel of fitness experts, which included the founder of Sarva and Diva Yoga, Sarvesh Shashi, personal fitness instructor Mitushi Ajmera and Pilates expert Vesna Jacob.

Addressing the pandemic, Sarvesh Shashi said, “The pandemic has definitely got us back to the roots of understanding that health needs to be considered holistically and in the ‘Sarva’ terms. We say that there are three aspects, the body, mind and ‘nourish’, which is our intake. There is a saying that goes, ‘you become what you eat’, and we think it’s very true because, apart from protein, the right amount of nutrition in our body is extremely important. People think that exercising and physical activities lead to different kinds of physical goals like weight loss, weight gain, flexibility, etc., but often forget to give importance to food. I believe that food plays an extremely important role, not just in the physical part of our system, but also above the shoulder, which is the mind.”

While holistic fitness is attained through several means, a prominent component is protein. Similarly, protein can also be acquired through various means, with the chief source being poultry. Sarvesh said that he could not stress enough on how protein plays an extremely important part, right from muscle building to building energy for the body.

During the show, Sarvesh Shashi also demonstrated some breathing practices, including a kriya called ‘Kapalbhati’ and the other a form of pranayama called ‘Anulom Vilom’.

Joining the discussion, personal fitness instructor Mitushi Ajmera said that three macronutrients, namely proteins, carbohydrates and fats, must be considered for a healthy body and a healthy mind. Highlighting the importance of proteins, Mitushi added, “Proteins are important because their work cannot be done by carbohydrates and fats. Fats can do the work of carbohydrates but no other macro-nutrient can do the work of proteins because proteins are made of amino acids. These amino acids are required as building blocks, not just for muscle building but also to heal tissues and balance hormones. So, these amino acids are required at every stage in the body and throughout the day”.

Mitushi went on to debunk the concept that a protein supplement or protein food is needed only after exercise. She said that protein is required throughout the day, every time the body repairs itself. Mitushi then presented a demonstration of some exercises for the hip and the outer thigh that help with knee pain, runner’s knee and lower back pain.

Going ahead, the conversation was joined by Pilates expert Vesna Jacob. She said, “There has to be a combination of education with awareness. If you have self-awareness, which can be called the gut feeling, instinct or the higher connection, you know instinctively what works for you, what is good for you, and what has the potential to work for you. Education means that you need to take certain choices, back it up, which is how you can do checks and balances. So, if you hear something on the internet, check it with your inner self.”

Vesna added, “We all want to do well, look good and thrive in life. But these are all external aspects of internal processes. So, what I teach people is that looking good comes as a consequence of feeling good and doing what is right for you or your body at a point in time. Feeling well, being happy and thriving in life—all come as a consequence of realigning your thoughts, words and actions. If they are not aligned, there is some conflict happening within. So, what we teach through Pilates is how to create that alignment on the intellectual level, spiritual level and physical sense. Sadly, the pandemic has made our posture even worse because you don’t even have to pretend that you care about how you’re sitting when you’re home. It has created a rise in issues with the hip, hip flexors and lower back, which were already on the rise, but increased even among school-going children because they just roll out of bed and sit in front of God-knows-what and do their online thing. For adults, because you’re not necessarily going to the office, you’re sitting in whichever way you want.”

Vesna then showed and explained what Pilates—more importantly, holistic Pilates—is. “Pilates is a low-impact exercise system, invented by a German gentleman, Joseph Hubertus Pilates,” informed Vesna.

Addressing the impact of the pandemic on an average person’s lifestyle, Sarvesh Shashi then said, “When the pandemic happened, the average Joe was asked to wash his hands twice or thrice a day, take shower twice a day, eat healthy and home-cooked food. Joe didn’t need a pandemic to realize this, but, unfortunately, that was the case. I mean, we run one of India’s largest platforms and before the pandemic, people said that they would do 50 minutes of physical workout and 10 minutes of breathing exercises. But after the pandemic, they said ‘let’s do 30 minutes of workout and 30 minutes of breathing’ because they couldn’t sleep well, their levels of anxiety had increased, they had started eating at home a lot more and they automatically lost weight. The only reason, in my opinion, for that is exactly what Vesna said.”