As someone who runs a consulting agency that focuses on health and wellness brands and has recently started wellness e-commerce platform of her own named villa aether, Cindy is definitely someone who knows a lot about making wellness a lifestyle. Read on to know her insights about wellness and the ways she exercises it on her day-to-day life.
As someone who runs an e-commerce platform that centers around wellness, what's your personal definition of wellness? How do you practice it and show it in your daily life?
For me, wellness is not just about getting fitter and healthier, it’s a holistic way of living – a constant journey of cultivating and maintaining the coherence between your body, mind and spirit. That’s why on our platform it’s not just healthy foods or fitness programs we are offering, we look at wellness as a whole which reflects in many aspect of our life: nutrition, fitness, home environment, social interaction, spirituality, etc.
Practicing mindfulness is a major part of practicing wellness for me and I apply it in many different forms: yoga, meditation, reading, gardening, hiking, rituals etc. I love to discover and experiment with new things too - recently I’ve been massively into breathwork and movement (both are brand new practices for me) as they really lift my spirit profoundly and not only they teach me how to be present, they also help me expand the ‘now’.
Beyond various activities in self-exploration, connecting with nature and others is also part of ‘being well’ to me. I love spending time in nature and doing activities with friends as it really nourishes me and brings me joy.
Let's focus on your routines. What are the personal systems in place that greatly direct your day? How do these systems impact your overall productivity and quality of life? What happens on the days when you miss out on them?
I normally don’t have a rigid schedule for my days but there are some routines so I have sort of a ‘frame’. Morning is the single most important part of the day for me as it sets the tone for the day and influences my day to unfold in a powerful way. Most of the time I try to have the whole morning to myself so meetings and work calls are scheduled in the afternoon if possible.
Establishing a morning routine and sticking to it has been huge for me. I do oil pulling first thing when I get up and after taking my supplements (probiotics and lions mane) I go straight to breathwork and meditation where I practice creative visualization and set my intentions for the day. My normal work hour starts at 9am and before then I’d distribute my time between watering my plants in my garden, reading, journaling and some simple stretching or body movement. I fast in the morning too and usually break my fast after an hour’s yoga session at noon – not feeding myself really helps me with focus and productivity.
I also have a little ritual in the afternoon usually around 4pm. I would meditate for another 15-20 mins and have a cup of warm matcha or cacao drink. I don’t drink coffee anymore so this really picks me up during the day and help me keep going.
At what point in your life did you begin to take the practice of wellness more intentionally? And what triggers caused you to bring a greater focus to wellness? Can you briefly touch on how you went about and processed certain things before these systems were in place, and how they've changed now?
About 5 years ago I started to make yoga a regular practice with the intention of gaining more physical flexibility (I always felt I had a stiff body). Unexpectedly, it brought me not just physical improvement but also a lifestyle change and a much better understanding of well-being. I started to explore different activities and immerse myself in new wellness trends and gradually routines and systems fall into places and some of the exercises I resonant the most have become my daily non-negotiables such as yoga and meditation. Over the times, I noticed some major shifts in my practice of wellness: the focus has shifted from physical fitness level to mental fitness level and from my interaction with the outer world to connection with the inner world - self. It’s been subtle changes through self-realization not a significant trigger however covid in 2020 has definitely accelerated these shifts.
How do you keep yourself rooted during moments of stress or unrest? Are there any practices you do, mantras you repeat, etc.?
For me, meditation is my top choice when I feel ungrounded. Reasons are simple: it’s equipment-free, and you can do it anywhere at any time you want yet the result is huge once you put consistency into it. I’ve recently started to incorporate breathing exercise into my meditation (usually 10-15mins before my morning session) and it helps a lot with releasing anxiety and regaining clarity.
One of the mantras I keep repeating when I’m in a stressful situation is: Circumstances don’t matter; only my state of being matters.
What is a value or belief that you would never compromise with regard to your work or your business?
Be clear of the ‘why’. It’s not just about finding the motivation, it also entails clarity (which leads to better strategies and solutions), alignment and consistency. Knowing the why helps you build the belief system for your brand/business and urges you to operate from a higher level so you can create more sustainable results. For villa aether we have a clear ‘why’ – we are here to help raise people’s awareness on their overall well-being and provide a holistic approach that can be easily applied to their modern day life. And when it comes to choosing specific items for the platform, there should always a ‘why’ behind it too which ensures the quality of our selection.