An interview with Jyoti Chadda, founder of My Wellness Company
Jyoti and I met just a few weeks ago, at a panel discussion for young women. She runs her own business, My Wellness Company, and was kind enough to spend some time talking to me about her journey, personal experiences and views on antiracism.
It started with self
Jyoti has found her purpose through My Wellness Company. Her route was via studying psychology, becoming a primary school teacher and then taking a deliberate choice to focus on her own wellbeing. When Jyoti prioritsed caring for herself, she reached a turning point. She learnt the power of gratitude, meditation and yoga. She traveled to India to complete her yoga teacher training and set up My Wellness Company just a few weeks before the first lockdown hit just over a year ago.
A beautiful woman of colour
Jyoti is of Indian heritage. Her family is Hindu. Her Mother was born in India and came to England aged nineteen, Her father lived in Nottinghamshire and this is where Jyoti grew up.
And with that comes challenge
Chatting to Jyoti over Zoom felt a little bit like looking in a mirror. Not because or our appearance, although I have a huge appreciation for Jyoti’s beautiful curls, but because of our perspectives.
Like me, Jyoti is aware of her privilege. She values her education, the stability of her childhood, her friendships and opportunities. She is a woman of colour and the increased discourse around racial inequalities has had an impact on her.
During Jyoti’s primary school years, her family was the only one of colour. She didn’t see herself represented. Noone could pronounce her name (which is jyoh-thee) and when children picked on her name,”Jotty Potty”, or her skin tone “Why is she brown?” she didn’t cause a fuss. The Indian radio station she enjoyed in the car embarrassed her. Her meat free Tuesdays made her different from everyone else and the chicken korma served one lunch time was not the “Indian food” she recognised.
When Jyoti traveled to India she heard her name pronounced correctly and she saw people who looked like her. But her Western upbringing meant that she didn’t quite fit in there either.
By secondary school, Jyoti mixed with a wider circle of friends and clicked with other pupils of colour. By the time she reached university, and was persuaded to give the Hindu society a try, she felt right at home.
Words have power
Jyoti wrote a blog about the pronunciation of her name, Your Words Have Power. I asked Jyoti a little bit more about it.
In recent years, Jyoti has pointed out how her name should be pronounced. As a child she tolerated racist taunts based on the deliberate mispronunciation of her name and she anglicised it as a form of playground survival – Jo.
As a teacher she chose to pronounce one of her pupil’s names in the correct, Indian way, and saw what a huge difference it made to them.
When her friend heard how Jyoti should be pronounced and practiced it until she got got it right, it meant the world to her.
There’s no doubt that when people choose to pay attention and to learn how to pronounce people’s names, it matters. Names are part of individuals’ identity and culture.
You can’t pour from a broken cup
Life is challenging. The pandemic is taking its toll in immeasurable ways. Working for equality is tough. (It’s been another challenging week with the Sewell report but that’s for another blog).
I asked Jyoti how can we look after ourselves. Here’s what Jyoti calls her “daily non-negotiables”.
Find the right time for you to be you every day. Jyoti has a bedtime and morning routine which includes screen-free time, movement and journalling.
Use your devices with purpose. Scrolling through social media can be informative but Jyoti learned that we must be mindful of what we’re using it for. Is it for information? Entertainment? To grow your business? To connect with friends?
Meditate. Whether its using your breath, through exercise or with guidance, there are lots of ways to benefit from meditation.
Gratitude. This is something I really believe in too. Focus on what we’re thankful for has a huge impact on mood. And the more you focus on the good things in your life, the more will come.
And I am very grateful to have a new sister in my network. I’m thankful to Jyoti for taking the time to share her story with me, to add her voice to Oo! That’s A Bit Racey! and for her wisdom.
If you’d like to learn more from Jyoti, her business can be found on her website, My Wellness Company and you can follow her on Instagram @mywellnesscompany, YouTube My Wellness Company and Facebook MyWellnessCompany.