To me, “self-love” is showing regard for one’s own well-being and happiness.
These rituals are not always something we realize we’re missing until we feel depleted and unhappy. That’s why each of us needs to regularly ask ourselves: Do I enact self-love, consciously or unconsciously? Is this something I want to work on doing more? Do I even know how to check in with myself and recognize whether I need to be cared for—not by others, but by myself?
This February, we’re focusing on different ways to define, integrate and show self-love. And who better to help us navigate those waters than Divya Viswanathan and Amy Engel, the women behind authentic, yet modern line, Taza Ayurveda?
These two came together to start their brand as an act of self-love and healing; and they’re sharing their discoveries with us all month long.
Here, I sat down with them to talk about why loving ourselves is the most important thing we can do:
Robyn Berkley: So, how did you each find and fall in love with ayurveda respectively?
Divya Viswanathan: The journey began when we fell victim to stress and burnout and couldn't find sustainable, all-natural solutions that worked. I grew up in India with ayurveda all my life, sipping turmeric lattes long before they were cool. However, I moved to the US at 17 for college and, before I knew it, I had spent 19 years here living an American dream, embracing the drugstore for solutions (though I did keep my accent). However, after being failed by Western medicine in treating insomnia as a result of stress and burnout, I went back home to India hoping to reclaim my health. Ayurveda cured me in no time, and I was back to being a firm believer.
Amy, a dear friend of mine, was suffering from IBS and could not find a sustainable solution. After witnessing her go through a million diets and doctor visits, I introduced her to ayurveda. After reading up about it in books and making small lifestyle shifts, she was convinced by the changes she saw, so, she traveled to India to meet a doctor to reclaim her health too.
RB: How and when did you end up coming together to start Taza?
Amy Engel: After our personal experiences with chronic conditions like insomnia and IBS, we realized we were not alone. We also couldn't find any other brand here in the U.S that offered medical grade, all-natural solutions that were backed by efficacy. Ayurveda is an official form of medicine in India and the training requires you to attend six years of medical school and residency. There is a lot of rigor behind it. When we saw this gap in terms of continuing our ayurvedic journey here, we decided to start Taza. We scoured India to find partners who stay true to the authenticity, but also understand modern science. That was the start of Taza.
RB: What did you envision for the line and what sets it apart?
DV: We wanted the brand to be authentic to this beautiful lineage. Ayurveda is the philosophy under which yoga evolved as a practice, so it was very important for us that the brand embodied the mind-body philosophy. We also wanted it to be backed by efficacy.
Today, Taza embodies that philosophy. Our products come with a meditation bead and mantra booklet to reinforce the concept of a healthy mind; there is no solution in a bottle that works without your mind committing to it.
Each of our products traces back to thousands of years of lineage and has the name of the original formulations found in ancient Sanskrit texts. We also use rare therapeutic whole herbs, instead of extracts, to maximize efficacy and stay true to the ancient techniques of crafting these products. To deliver on efficacy, Taza is the only US brand to bring certified ayurvedic original formulations.
RB: There’s a spirit of self-love that pervades everything you do, which is why I wanted us to collaborate for February. Can you describe the benefits of your at-home ayurvedic rituals with self-massage?
AE: In Sanskrit, sneha—the word used to describe love or compassion—also means oils. The premise of this was that self-love and oiling are both the basis of cultivating love within us, which we are capable of sharing.
My favorite ritual is massaging my feet at night with our Eladi Body Oil. It's a sesame-based oil with 34 botanical ingredients packed in linoleic acid, which helps secrete serotonin and calm my mind. There are also 7,000 nerve-endings on your feet, linked to various organs in your body, so rubbing your feet activates and balances these organs. Lastly, this makes me appreciate the things I take for granted. The miracle of how my feet work each day, tirelessly, through the journey of life.
RB: What is your current LTP obsession and where do you wear it?
DV: This is the hardest question, as I am obsessed with them all. I absolutely love the Knit Collared Cardigan from the last collection, and I use it all the time. I am really excited to use it while nursing, since it's so comfy, chic and functional. Looking forward to adding the Marl Cardigan and Marl Flare pants to my arsenal. I’m really into cardigans now due to nursing, and it's incredibly hard to find one that works. LTP cardigans have it all!
RB: What does it mean to you to “Live The Process” and how can we all do that more each day?
AE: “Live The Process” to me is life. It's the constantly evolving journey we are all part of. It's living a life in which you stay true to your values. Though easier said than done, the ultimate goal is to embrace the process, irrespective of both the good and bad.