Women In Wellness: Shadoh Punnapuzha On The Five Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Help Support People’s Journey Towards Better Wellbeing

Women In Wellness: Shadoh Punnapuzha On The Five Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Help Support People’s Journey Towards Better Wellbeing

Meditation, even if it is for 10 minutes a day, it grounds you, helps concentration and increases creativity. It also helps to reduce the feeling of stress. On the days that I don’t meditate, I don’t feel as focused.

Today, more than ever, wellness is at the forefront of societal discussions. From mental health to physical well-being, women are making significant strides in bringing about change, introducing innovative solutions, and setting new standards. Despite facing unique challenges, they break barriers, inspire communities, and are reshaping the very definition of health and wellness. In this series called women in wellness we are talking to women doctors, nurses, nutritionists, therapists, fitness trainers, researchers, health experts, coaches, and other wellness professionals to share their stories and insights. As a part of this series, we had the pleasure of interviewing Shadoh Punnapuzha.

Shadoh Punnapuzha is the founder + formulator of taïla skincare, a collection rooted in the science of Ayurveda. Raised in a household where an Ayurvedic lifestyle was paramount — her parents native land, Kerala, India nurtured her curiosity in plant medicine. A native New Yorker with Indian roots led her on a journey to learn and share about the ancestral healing tradition through taïla.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Our readers would love to “get to know you” better. Can you share your “backstory” with us?

The medicinal science of Ayurveda has always been a part of my DNA. I was born and brought up in NYC by my parents who are immigrants from Kerala, India where Ayurveda is ingrained in daily life. My father’s family is an old agricultural family since the 1600’s. Imagine tropical trees, rice paddies, herbs and tons of colorful flowers adorning the land.

My parents really wanted their children to learn and understand their heritage. As a result, I spent many years and summers in Kerala. It was my father, with a background in Botany, who implanted in me an ever-developing passion to discover Ayurveda.

In my early 30’s I developed a bout of skin conditions: cystic acne, eczema and hives. I was afraid to try anything on the market, then I called my father to see if Ayurveda had a solution. Sure enough, he helped me create an herbal concoction that completely healed my complexion. This was the creation of our first product, the PRANA face oil.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career? What were the main lessons or takeaways from that story?

My epiphany prompted me on a journey of discovery throughout India to find out more about Ayurveda. Finally, I ended up back in Kerala in my father’s hometown where Ayurveda is still an essential part of daily life. I sat down with Ayurvedic doctors (Vaidyans) to understand more and studied next to a medicine man on how to make plant extracts as well as other skin care remedies. It was an incredible experience and an honor — learning first hand the generational wisdom that has been passed on for thousands of years. After I came back to the States, I left my 15-year established career in Finance and went full force with the creation of taïla skincare.

It has been said that our mistakes can be our greatest teachers. Can you share a story about a mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

Initially I had heeded everyone’s advice to work with a lab to create these products instead of trusting my vision to produce these products in-house. After many failed attempts and precious hours, I was told that the formulations I wanted to create were time intensive, extravagant and too expensive. The end result presented to me, was a standard formulation that had already been done before. This was not what I wanted to represent and it didn’t feel true to Ayurveda. I couldn’t get myself to move forward with the third-party lab. Finally, after much consideration, instead of handing it off to a lab, I made the decision to manufacture the products myself according to the Ayurveda’s vedic texts, the way it’s been done for thousands of years. It does take more time, resources and effort but it results in a superior product. The lesson learned here is to always trust your gut instincts and vision for whatever it is you are creating.

Let’s jump to our main focus. When it comes to health and wellness, how is the work you are doing helping to make a bigger impact in the world?

Educating people about Ayurveda and the potency of natural ingredients will help people understand how to live in harmony with nature and recognize your own body’s rhythm. This in turn increases longevity and help ward of ailments and diseases to live your healthiest best life.

Ayur means life and Veda means science, the sister science to yoga originated in India and is one of the oldest healthcare systems in the world. Knowledge passed down from generation to generation, these natural remedies have been time-tested and is continued to be widely used.

When you prioritize self care and feed your body and skin nourishing plants and minerals, you are enhancing your wellbeing. People who feel good are able to have meaningful connections, show up at their job, be present with their family and be more passionate about life.

Can you share your top five “lifestyle tweaks” that you believe will help support people’s journey towards better wellbeing?

1. Drinking boiled water with cumin seeds (Jeera water) throughout the day. According to Ayurveda, it helps aid digestion, increases metabolism, is packed with antioxidants and supplies a good form of Vitamin A, C, Copper and Manganese. I have been doing this since I was a child.

2. Meditation, even if it is for 10 minutes a day, it grounds you, helps concentration and increases creativity. It also helps to reduce the feeling of stress. On the days that I don’t meditate, I don’t feel as focused.

3. Abhyanga (massage), is an important part of Ayurveda. Massaging the body on a daily basis helps increase circulation, helps calm the nerves, increases energy and results in better deeper sleep. Use natural oils when performing the massage. In India, massage starts as early as an infant and is seen as a necessity to maintain health.

4. Eat warm cooked foods. Ayurveda believes eating seasonal cooked food is better for your digestion. For some it is not a problem, but for many who experience excessive gas and bloating, this can make a huge difference. Taking warm food assists the body’s natural digestive process.

5. Have 5 soaked almonds a day. Soak raw almonds overnight in water and in the morning peel off the skin and consume on an empty stomach. Soaking them makes them more digestible and beneficial to the body. They are good for keeping cravings at bay, reproductive health, blood pressure and for brain function. Almonds are a good source of vitamin E, Magnesium and contain calcium, iron, phosphorus, potassium and zinc which is great for your skin and hair. They are highly regarded in Ayurveda for their regenerative qualities and nutritional value.

If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of wellness to the most amount of people, what would that be?

That is a difficult question. A balance is important for wellness and the focus has to be holistic. I do believe it is important that the initiation of the movement comes from the top, meaning governmental programs. For example, in India the prime minister has initiated a Yoga day, which everyone takes part in. It not only brings awareness to the importance of movement in our daily lifestyle but it also sets the tone of the importance of health. Through taïla, I am growing my own movement by educating others about Ayurveda which directly promotes total wellbeing.

What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why?

It is work life integration, not work life balance. Kids, husband, business, they all need my attention. It’s learning to carve away time for each to the best of your ability is the only way you can give attention to it all.

Creating a strong support system. Connecting with other entrepreneurs and speaking to your friends and family about disappointments and stress is extremely helpful and rewarding. There are good days and bad days and it’s important to have quality people by your side for those bad days.

The importance of delegating. You can’t do it all by yourself. You have to embrace letting go and trust your team. This allows for more effective use of your time and freeing you up so that you can focus on the big picture.

In the natural beauty industry sourcing ingredients is an ongoing process. Building a relationship with the farmers, understanding the quality of the ingredients, environmental concerns and the farming process are ever-changing variables. They constantly need to be evaluated.

To vet everyone I plan on working with. Get multiple references. Take the time to understand the process. In the beginning you are hopeful and everyone talks a big game but execution is what brings success.

Sustainability, veganism, mental health, and environmental changes are big topics at the moment. Which one of these causes is dearest to you, and why?

Sustainability has an effect on the future. The tone starts from the top, and we weave sustainable efforts into everything we do to reduce our carbon footprints. All of our packaging was consciously created, for example our bottles are glass since this is the one material that is infinitely recyclable. We are forever learning and growing in a sustainable manner.

What is the best way for our readers to further follow your work online?

Social media platforms and subscribing to our newsletter.

Thank you for these fantastic insights! We wish you continued success and good health.

About the Interviewer: Wanda Malhotra is a wellness entrepreneur, lifestyle journalist, and the CEO of Crunchy Mama Box, a mission-driven platform promoting conscious living. CMB empowers individuals with educational resources and vetted products to help them make informed choices. Passionate about social causes like environmental preservation and animal welfare, Wanda writes about clean beauty, wellness, nutrition, social impact and sustainability, simplifying wellness with curated resources. Join Wanda and the Crunchy Mama Box community in embracing a healthier, more sustainable lifestyle at CrunchyMamaBox.com .

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