As a first-generation Indian-American, I was exposed to Indian clothing, flavors, music, medicine, and spirituality as a child. I appreciated what I knew, but at the time, I felt intimidated by a culture that seemed too complex and distant to fully grasp.
All that changed when, in my 20s, I saw watered-down forms of Indian health practices rebranded as “wellness” and sold at a markup for a Western audience. Yoga became a trillion-dollar industry; ghee sat next to truffle oil on supermarket shelves; and pricey guided meditations were sold as corporate perks.
I resented that profiteers had co-opted Indian culture without extending any credit to Indian people or sharing Indian wisdom in context. They portrayed healthy living as a luxury, rather than something anyone can access, as people understand in India. I wanted to spread more accurate and complete knowledge of Indian health and spiritual traditions, but first, I had to learn more myself.
So, I took two trips to India with my sister, Priya, a health-conscious yogi and regular meditator who also wanted to connect to her roots. There was constant commotion where we stayed—burning rubber, Chaiwalas making fresh chai, animals running wild, incense billowing out of temples—and in the midst of it all, people were truly present. I would observe men and women staring into the distance, seemingly for hours on end—completely alone.
Priya and I wanted to bring that awareness, and that ability to sit in stillness, back to the U.S. We also wanted to explore the mind-body-spirit connection with a new audience who may have heard versions of Indian ideals, but who haven’t yet experienced their true efficacy. To us, Ayurveda, the traditional Indian science known as the “mother of all healing,” was the perfect encapsulation of everything that inspired us on our trips.
Köppen, our body care brand, brings an Ayurvedic sensibility to the setting where so many of us experience stillness and contemplation: the shower. By integrating Ayurveda into everyday life, Köppen seeks to bring awareness, balance, and renewed spirit to everyone.
- Parag Shah, Co-Founder