We love sharing Wellness tips and advice from one of our Wellness Guru Hero's with you every week and this week is no different! This week, Martha Wiedemann is in the hot seat. Martha is Wellness Advisor at Badrutt's Palace, St. Moritz, Switzerland.
Martha is a total superstar when it comes to Wellness and how making small changes to your every day lifestyle can have a huge impact on your overall wellbeing. I loved the chance to get to know her a bit more - this is one inspirational lady! And I found her insights invaluable, so i'm sure you will too when you check them out below. Enjoy!
1. Tell us about yourself Martha, and how you got to be where you are today?
I am of Indian origin, born in Singapore, of parents from Kerala and raised with the practice of ancient Ayurvedic principles from an early age. I was blessed with a good foundation of health and wellbeing. At the age of 6, I commenced studying and practicing Yoga, meditation and Indian classical dance which gave me an awareness of how to conduct the connection of mind and body and spirit. Living according to Ayurveda was not always popular with me. I did not like having to consume tonics and herbal formulas to maintain a balance.
By the age of 14 my family relocated to Australia and I soon realised that my lifestyle made me different to most other kids my age. I made a curious observation that I was rarely unwell in comparison to girls my age. I even recall faking having menstrual cramps because I thought at the time that it was feminine. At home there was the practice of a strict lifestyle and my parents fought hard to preserve an ancient culture.
At the age of 20 I had broken free of all the rules and was looking for my own self-discovery. Who was I? I had become a melange of so many influences and somehow, I was still tied to the roots of a land I did not grow up in. I did however appreciate my good health and followed a path into the health and beauty industry. I realised then, through working in the Beauty industry in the early 1980s, that almost every woman I encountered was searching for something in their identity, whether they were someone’s daughter, wife, mother or just a woman burdened by her physical appearance struggling to measure up to social beauty standards. I was not alone and somehow these characteristics became a mission for me to research and understand. I thought that I would start with investigating my own identity.
This led me to studying Ayurveda. I wanted to learn about my cultural roots to further my understanding of myself, but what it unlocked for me was the even deeper message of wellness, which I am able to bring into my work today. This has become what defines me most, not the culture as such but keys to self-discovery and wellbeing which I could share through the work I do. I believe that true wellbeing is finding and embracing our unique self; body, mind and spirit.
2. Tell us how you spend your average working day?
My days are open to what the Universe has in store for me, however I do have some rituals which are all a part of my self-love message. I usually wake at around 7:30am and do a meditation facing the East to acknowledge the sunrise and express gratitude for the gifts of life, asking for guidance and clarity, believing in being led and receiving what the Universe has in store for me. I then drink a couple of mugs of warm water with an Ayurvedic herbal formula specific to maintaining my balance. After a shower I do my own self-massage program to treat my skin, loosen and eliminate the toxins from my body and gain an awareness of my physical health. I then do my own series of Yoga stretches and pranayama whilst listening to various mantras usually commencing with my favourite; The Gayatri Mantra. My breakfast follows with something wholesome such as porridge, Bircher muesli or fruits and a freshly ground black coffee.
I then head to work to check and answer emails, meet with clients and suppliers whilst addressing the topics that come my way. I do believe in doing the best I can and then accepting the outcomes beyond my control. Life has a way of opening me to new experiences and it’s all about how I can grow from it. I often interrupt my day with listening to audios on self and spiritual development from various sources. I also love to take walks and fit this into my day if time permits. I try to eat a mainly vegetarian diet, however I’m more focused on quality of ingredients and food made with love. My day concludes with an expression of gratitude for all of what life has given me: its challenges, joys and awakenings. I like to do this in view of nature - it’s essentially my way of communicating to the Universal source. I believe in acquiring a good night’s sleep of at least 6 hours to encourage cell renewal. Prior to sleeping, I do a light stretching exercise and a 15 minute meditation to quieten the mind and bring all functions to a restful state.
3. What inspires you?
I am lucky to live and work in the presence of a spectacular unspoiled and pristine natural environment. This never ceases to inspire me. People who are at one with themselves and living their calling are a source of inspiration to me. I’m inspired by humanitarian acts of generosity, compassion and empathy in the absence of ego. I’m also inspired by the irregularities of life, the unexpected occurrences and the way we can still manoeuvre a path through them. The cycle of birth, life and death as we know it and the purpose of our existence are of constant inspiration to me.
4. What is your goal in life?
My life’s goal is to live now and not wait to live. I want to be the best that I can be now and always radiate the best version of myself. I want to keep learning and growing on a spiritual level. My goal is to accept the pace of time and not rush anything nor slow it down. I would just like to keep my focus on the here and now.
5. What does Wellness mean to you?
Wellness to me is a series of methods and systems that can be used for the sake of improving or maintaining a state of wellbeing. As an example, Ayurveda is a system of wellness and Palace Wellness is a place where one can seek various methods and systems to enhance one’s state of wellbeing.
6. What advice would you give to a person looking to reduce stress in their day-to-day lives?
If you are under stress, then something is out of balance. There can be the presence of physical stress brought about by overuse, underuse, pain or illness. The first thing to do is identifying and removing the root cause and then taking the necessary time to ease the recovery. It is best to avoid masking or only treating the symptoms.
In the case of mental stress, again aside from trying to remove the root cause, one can implement a sporting activity or socially interactive games which creates a sense of play. Introducing a spa program is a good way to reduce mental stress because it activates the physical body and this often helps to calm the mind.
When one is experiencing emotional stress, it can be helpful to receive a therapeutic massage treatment and a pranayama breathing exercise and some aromatherapy as an immediate first step. The second would be to take a meditation class.
Eating light and cooked foods, implementing a suitable exercise program and the daily practice of Pranayama breathing exercises are best ways to reducing most day to day stress conditions.
7. When readers can't make it to your Spa, what is the key to recreating a Spa treatment at home?
In my opinion, a warm herbal bath followed by a self-massage treatment with therapeutic oil can do wonders as a regular home care program. Soaking in a tub of water brings harmony to the body as we are composed of approximately 60% water. Warm water and massage promotes circulation and loosens the tissues and muscles. Promoting circulation and relieving the effects of gravity on the body can bring much relief. Learning to care and treat ourselves well is what self-love is all about.
8. Tell us your Top 3 Tips for Wellness?
Don’t measure yourself, don’t hurt yourself with habits and don’t hate your disease. Love your creation, your story, your journey, who you are now and who you want to be. All of your ingredients are necessary for you to be here impacting this world.
Sing from your heart, Dance from your soul and Laugh from your belly. I guess what I’m trying to say is; don’t hold back on expressing yourself. Let the joy exude from within you. It’s healing.
Give up wanting and start giving. Everything you want is on hold unless you can learn to give without conditions. Give your time, share your wisdom and most of all give your love because this is limitless.
9. So what is next in your career/life?
As my plan is mainly to live in the now, I rarely make long term life plans. My aim is always to attain inner peace and harmony. I am however working on a book to share my wellness message. My work has brought me much joy and fulfilment and I hope to keep contributing in meaningful ways.