As the pandemic surges across countries claiming precious lives, the world is sitting up and taking notice of the prospects of wellness and healthy lifestyles. With the hospitality industry raring to make a comeback riding on the wings of Ayurveda, Bengaluru-based Malayali entrepreneur Gopinath Nair’s latest venture AyurDNA is all set to be a bellwether of the wellness sector by incorporating all healing solutions on a single platform
– Renjith Leen
When an invisible slayer made its morbid presence felt in Wuhan, China, in December last year, very few had a premonition of the magnitude of the catastrophe that would unfold in a matter of months. When the pandemic bared its fangs, one of the first sectors to be hit was the travel and tourism industry. Like all entrepreneurs, Gopinath Nair, who is a veteran in the tourism industry, was concerned about the prospects of his business.
On the night of April 5, as he stood on the balcony of his Bengaluru apartment lighting lamps, paying tribute to health workers fighting the pandemic after heeding the call of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he looked at the start-lit sky and suddenly he experienced the moment of epiphany. Gopinath decided to bid adieu to the travel and tourism industry. Instead, he vowed to give wings to his dream project, which he had been working on for 18 months, by giving it a tweak. “I started working very hard on this project with my partner and co-founder Suma Nair, who is based in Chennai,” he reminisced. In the span of 100 days was born AyurDNA – an umbrella platform for traditional and natural healing solutions for the wellness of body, mind and soul.
“Traditional and natural healing solutions include Ayurveda, yoga, meditation, acupressure, acupuncture, pranic healing and mental wellness,” said Gopinath, who has worked with American Express TRS, Kuoni and Cox and Kings before running his high-end MICE and leisure firm TourismDNA since June 2010. AyurDNA was inaugurated on July 14 in a glittering online ceremony by Dr Isaac Mathai, the founder and MD of Soukhya, a globally acclaimed wellness destination in Bengaluru. “We also had two fantastic panel discussions with 300 people registering for it,” said Gopinath, adding that as many as 15 network partners tied up with the platform as soon as it was launched.
According to its founder, there are confirmed franchisees in Bengaluru, New Delhi, Mumbai, Gurugram, Guwahati, Ahmedabad, Anand, Vadodara, Bhopal, Raipur, Indore, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. “We have already finalised a representative office in Houston, Texas, USA, and I have been contacted by a friend from Rwanda in Africa,” Gopinath said.
What makes AyurDNA, which is headquartered in Bengaluru, unique is the vast range of services on offer. AyurDNA has tied up with reputed ayurvedic wellness centres in the country and abroad, offering customers a whole range of customised therapies.
Right dose of yoga and nutrition
The need to destress and maintain a healthy body and mind is all the more significant during these troubled times. Gauging its importance, the platform helps customers connect with certified and reputed yoga practitioners who will guide them on the path to achieving the union of mind, body and soul through remote sessions. What goes into your plate is also important. That is why AyurDNA has sought the services of world-class nutritionists to help clients choose a wholesome, balanced diet that suits their mode of treatment. Staying positive is of utmost importance and all it requires is a heart-to-heart talk with someone you can trust. There are two psychological counsellors to offer advice and therapy to customers.
Staying fit with music, sounds and colours
Some of the fascinating services on board are sound, music and colour therapies. Sound vibrations have been used by Tibetan monks for centuries to aid healing. The trained practitioner with AyurDNA harnesses the power of sound manifested as resonance and applies it to the subtle energy field around the body. Using colours is another holistic and non-invasive way to enhance wellbeing and it can be used with other medication. Each colour has a specific wavelength and they affect the aura around the human body.
Every culture has acknowledged the power of soothing music. Today, much research is going on to determine the effect of musical notes on brain neurons. Gopinath and Suma have taken on board noted Hindustani and Carnatic vocalist Nithya Rajendran to take care of the healing notes. “It is imperative to look inwards and heal the spirit to mend the battered body and mind. This is where Indian classical music’s therapeutic effects come into play at the spiritual, emotional, mental and physical planes,” said Nithya.
The services, both online and offline, are available with AyurDNA’s partners such as Soukhya and Kalari Kovilakam in Palakkad, Kerala, which is run by the prestigious CGH Earth Group. The platform also incorporates the services of trained counsellors apart from a customer service team.
Services apart, AyurDNA will also feature, later this year, a gamut of products that have a bearing on immunity, prevention of disease and leading a healthy life. “They will be natural and traditional. In fact, by 2021 we aim to have over 100 products and services on our portal,” said Gopinath.
Wellness is the future
In spite of the turbulence created by the pandemic, experts predict the wellness industry to grow given the changed circumstances. The GWI (Global Wellness Institute) predicts that the wellness sector will grow at an average annual rate of 7.5% through 2022.
Gopinath, who has 38 years of experience in high-end corporate travel, leisure and MICE segments, too does not think otherwise. “Wellness is one of the key sectors which will grow. I do not see hospitality and tourism bouncing back any time soon. Only in 2021 will we see signs of recovery. It is predicted that in 2023, pre-pandemic levels will be attained,” he said, adding that people around the world will take additional notice of immunity, prevention and remaining healthy.
The world needs to recognise the importance of Ayurveda, said Dr Isaac Mathai in the virtual panel discussion on the relevance of Ayurveda and traditional healing as part of the inaugural event. “Remember, food is your medicine and medicine is your food,” he said. Reiterating Dr Isaac’s views, AyurDNA’s advisor Shailu Suresh, who runs Om Vedic Heritage Centre in Singapore, quoted Kalidasa’s lines “Shariramadhyam khaludharma sadhanam”, which means “everybody needs to be fit and healthy to lead a life of righteousness”.
Tapping the potential of corporate wellness
Corporate houses are equally concerned about the mental wellbeing of staff as the pandemic surges and spiralling fatalities have led to frayed nerves, spiking blood pressure levels and high levels of stress. AyurDNA has come out with two innovative programmes aimed at the corporate crowd.
Its green programme is focussed on tackling tension and stress of employees through a half-day session. During this event, the participants learn how to maintain their emotional quotient and they get tips on leading a stress-free life.
On the other hand, the blue programme aims at maintaining harmony and reducing conflict among the workforce. Bringing all traditional healing practices under one umbrella, AyurDNA is confident of making a mark in the global wellness industry.