Moving from the bustling city chaos to a more deliberate pace, these powerhouse women spill the secrets to a fulfilling life — embracing serenity while discovering balance, purpose and the sheer joy of intentional living.
Exhausted From The Whirlwind, She Opted For Change, Surrendering To A Higher Power
Over the years, I found myself feeling disconnected from the fast-paced adventures that I used to be attracted to. I met new people who I felt an instant connection to; their magical aura was something that I aspired to have. And so, I went after it!
I was burnt out, running on empty as they say. It’s a constant struggle; there are so many patterns to unlearn and I let go of habits that were holding me back — for instance, I quit smoking three years ago.
Once you start making changes and surrender to a higher power with full faith, you are blessed with a burst of courage. I was lucky to have been in Rishikesh for a yoga course when the world went into lockdown, in 2020. It was life changing and I ended up staying there for over a year.
Being so close to the magnificent Ganga has taught me to go with the flow. My days are very different from what they used to be. And while this year has been particularly challenging, I have gotten through it with yoga and the support of my friends and spiritual family.
I am designing two lines at the moment; one being a sustainable brand called Ash & Eden, dedicated to uplifting Indian artisans. I get to create magic with the craftsmen in villages. I also still have my eponymous fashion label and though I closed my stores, I kept a small factory running for my clients. And I’m glad I did, because now I am planning to expand again, but in a very different way.
Anything is possible if one is disciplined and has a plan; a dream. Balance is key and admittedly, I struggle with this. But each day is a new opportunity to become the best version of myself.
Malini Recommends: Don’t compare yourself to others, don’t be hard on yourself and surround yourself with those you admire, learn from and feel good around. Enjoy the journey because everything always works out at the end!
After 18 Years Of A Jet-setting Lifestyle, Serendipity Led Her To An Unhurried Rural Life
Growing up in a serene village in Kerala, I lived life at a leisurely pace until my teenage years brought with it the whirlwind of city life. Eighteen years of early morning flights, magazine shoots, fashion shows and vibrant parties defined my action-packed existence.
Searching for a home, the city apartments didn’t resonate with me. Then, serendipity led me to a farmhouse in Goa, where everything felt right. Life, with all its twists, holds a profound calling to embrace subtle energies — and for me, that meant embracing the unhurried rural life; it meant balancing 25 days of city glamour with five days of farm life!
Now, my day commences at 6am before the break of dawn with meditation and yoga, followed by nurturing my vegetables and a long swim in the ocean. Currently, I’m immersed in a mural art project, creatively recycling old and broken objects. Concurrently, I am initiating a weaving endeavour using sentimental fabric scraps left behind by my late mother — aiming to intertwine personal stories with craft, inviting visitors to contribute to our evolving narrative.
A slower pace of life has led to reduced stress, improved mental well-being and increased appreciation for simple moments. It allowed for greater mindfulness and the opportunity to focus on what truly matters to me — involving my children in actively creating meaningful memories as well.
Taking intentional breaks, immersing in self-reflection through books, practicing mindful eating and distancing from technology are crucial for slowing down. Additionally, growing your own pesticide-free food, fasting weekly and staying hydrated contribute significantly to one’s overall well-being.
Tina Recommends: A daily 30-minute meditation practice can work wonders. Embrace the silence with your breath as it prepares you for the profound changes that a slower pace can bring. It’s a journey of self-discovery, mindfulness and a deeper connection to the essence of life.
An Autoimmune Disease Diagnosis Sparked Her Journey Into Specialising In Yoga
My life was incredibly busy, juggling events, fashion shows and entrepreneurial ventures while maintaining an active social life. I distinctly recall receiving three invitations and attending two events, all packed into a single day. This hectic schedule took a toll on my physical well-being.
In 2013, I was diagnosed with an autoimmune skin condition called lupus. This revelation prompted me to slow down, introspect and take control of my health. This is when I turned to yoga, delving into its practice and immersing myself in studying and reading about it.
That pivotal moment marked a profound shift in my life and lifestyle, transforming them forever. I now make sure to carve out personal time, especially in the morning. Instead of immediately reaching for my phone, I spend a few minutes with my son, starting the day on a positive note. Following this, I kickstart with my one-minute signature Vibhuti Face Yoga massage, ensuring a healthy beginning. My routine involves either aerial yoga or a boxing session, fresh, home-cooked meals and placing my phone on airplane mode at night. Throughout the day, I prioritise deep work for four focused hours, valuing quality over quantity. When anxiety hits, I turn to journalling. These mindful practices keep me present and enhance my overall focus.
Today, I’m calmer, my anxiety and cortisol levels are in check and lupus-triggered attacks have reduced. Spending more quality time with my son, husband and family leaves me content and happy.
Is it possible to lead a slow-paced lifestyle while still navigating the fast-paced social scene? Absolutely. I’ve stepped back from mindless socialising and partying, choosing activities that bring core happiness. Over time, the fear of missing out (FOMO) naturally fades.
Many of us find ourselves lost in the rat race, but I’m still in the race, just not a rat. I’m choosing to run at my own speed, ensuring a more mindful approach to everything I do.
Vibhuti Recommends: Many of us are uncertain about what truly brings us fulfillment. To discover this, conduct a personal analysis, akin to a SWOT analysis, listing your strengths and weaknesses. Identify the key individuals in your friend, family, and work circles. Prioritise relationships using concentric circles to determine where your focus should be.
Burnt Out From Living More In The Virtual World Than Reality, She Now Prioritises Her Own Needs
I felt overwhelmed by the constant buzz of social media, living more in the virtual world than reality. A burnout became my wake-up call, making me realise I was missing out on the present. Struggling to juggle family and feeling drained, I knew a change was needed. Life before? Frantic and full of distractions, preventing me from truly living in the moment.
My slow life is about being present and putting self-care first. I focus on my needs, finding calm amid chaos. Daily, I embrace yoga, meditation and cleaner eating. It’s a routine that centres me, with each day involving self-reflection to stay true to myself.
Seven months in the mountains transformed me. Nature walks and outdoor meditation brought pure bliss, surrounded by the calming sounds of the wild. Slow life, for me, is about peace of mind and prioritising what truly matters. It’s a journey of self-discovery and inner transformation.
Living in the bustling city, I’ve learned to embrace it on my terms. No more succumbing to external pressures; I navigate the city’s vibrancy at my own pace. It’s about finding balance that aligns with my values and needs.
Shagun Recommends: For those thinking about slowing down, it’s simple: prioritise you and your needs. Slow down when your body and mind ask for it, and resist external pressures. In your slow life journey, prioritise well-being and let it reflect your authentic self.
Before The Term “Slow Living” Became Popular, She Had Already Embraced It As Her Creative Refuge
I’ve always been a fairly disciplined person; with clear boundaries between my personal and professional life. When my daughter, Diya, was in school, I had to start work by 9am because I wanted to be home by 3.45pm to receive her from the bus stop. But even then, I would start my day at 5.45am to exercise and swim — this was my ‘me’ time before breakfast.
I make time for everything I love, be it family, work, travel or friends — even to enjoy fine wine and dark chocolate! We’ve always lived in the city and finally built our home in Coorg 14 years ago. We call it the ‘Slow Life’.
My time there has allowed me to nurture my daily source of energy. A love for nature has manifested in a collection of botanicals in every form — art, crockery and even in my linen! Our home away from the hustle-bustle of the city has been life changing; even before the buzz word — slow living — came in, I was already immersed in it — it was my creative refuge of sorts.
My mornings begin with watching the sky and listening to the birds before I get on with my chores — which include laying out a perfectly mismatched table at breakfast, a beautiful tray adorned with fresh flowers carrying my cup of coffee and my work in the most scenic spot. And of course, a leisurely swim to soak up some sun.
In fact, my social media page is brimming with moments from these joyful escapades; like discovering fresh blooms in the garden! I’m grateful that my love for photography and confidence in sharing it has also put me in touch with some incredible folks around the world.
When I travel alone, often for work, I carve time out to explore the parks, galleries, museums and markets. I love to browse, shop and meet my dear friends.
Vinita Recommends: It’s such a fascinating world we live in — so make the most of your time in it by doing what you love.
Gunjan Jindal Poddar
Motherhood Prompted Reflection And Spurred Her To Start A Marketplace For Consciously Made Products
Transitioning from a young businesswoman to a mother prompted deep reflection on my lifestyle. The realisation that our legacy is the planet inspired the creation of Amala Earth—a platform fuelled by a passion for fostering conscious and sustainable living.
I firmly believe that as mindful individuals, making small changes in our daily living can have a positive impact on natural resources. So I prioritise natural, plant-based foods for both myself and my family. I start my day with yoga and meditation to connect with my inner self.
I choose natural honey over sugar, savour my detoxifying green tea, and enhance my living spaces with artisanal essential oils. Chemical-free beauty products, conscious fashion and natural home décor are essential components of my lifestyle. I mindfully allocate time in my day for self-care, my kids, work, family, friends, and my cherished practice of Kathak.
All of this has transformed me in subtle ways that have made me appreciate the importance of taking time out to enjoy the small things in life and appreciate how slowing down and maintaining a healthy work-life balance enhances overall well-being.
A slow-paced life doesn’t equate to a lack of social life. You can choose to eat your dinner at home and go to a party to actually have meaningful conversations. You can choose to leave early in order to maintain your morning rituals. You can even be selective about the events or occasions that you want to attend. It’s entirely possible to maintain meaningful connections by being conscious and aware in various settings.
Gunjan Recommends: If one wants to switch to an earth-friendly way of living then making conscious choices as a consumer can be seamlessly integrated into daily routines and tasks. A small change can lead to realisation of the larger purpose.
Co-ordinated by Amber Tikari and Nayare Ali.
This interview is from HELLO! India’s January 2024 issue. Check out the latest issue right here.