5 Ways to Wellness: Mumbai

In a city of 21 million people it's hard to find alone time or private space. This means carving wellness in the midsts of chaotic Mumbai is an exciting undertaking. The vibrant city offers everything you can imagine and more, making it a challenge to pick just five favorite ways to get well in Mumbai. 

PHOTO PRAVASSA©

PHOTO PRAVASSA©

PHYSICAL ACTIVITY

Mallakhamba. This traditional Indian sport is a combination of yoga and gymnastics performed atop a wooden pool at varying heights. With no safety net or harness securing you in, this national sport, first practiced in the 1100's, calls for more than strong abs and a fearless outlook. Shree Samartha Vyayam Mandir in Mumbai's Shivaji Park is the best place to try your hand at this contortionist sport. You'll warm up with some yoga poses before you practice shimming up the wooden pole while holding on for dear life.

STRESS REDUCTION

Yoga. It would be a travesty to make your way to India and not take part in one of their most profound gifts to the world: Yoga. Like any major city, Mumbai has options. Want an instructor sent to your hotel room, not a problem. Looking for a boutique studio that appeals more to the expat scene - head to the neighborhood of Bandra. If you'd rather venture into the world's oldest yoga school, check out The Yoga Institute established in 1918, which offers classes, lectures and health counseling. 

PHOTO via

PHOTO via

FOOD EDUCATION

Sassoon Docks Fish Market. The real fish market experience begins at 5am when the boats begin docking from a night of fishing. This outdoor wet market is a frenetic scene where you need to keep your eyes open and hands pressed to your side. Men and women riding scooters, walking with baskets on their head or pushing large wooden carts whip past you in every direction as they collect their bounty. Unlike any other fish market in the world that we've seen, the auctioning is all done as the fish come off the side of the boat. A crowd gathers in a circle as the auction begins. In rapid succession prices are shouted into the crowd, cash is exchanged and the circle disbands only to form again a few feet away.  

SPIRITUAL CONNECTION

Elephanta Caves. On an island in the middle of the Arabian seas rises a large complex of ancient caves and carvings. Little is known about this UNESCO world heritage site except that it dates back to creation some time between the 5th and the 6th century. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, the Hindu god, a 23-foot carving stands out for its impressive execution. While a tourist hot spot, Pravassa can take you there in the early morning hours before the crowds arrive giving you access and the ability to sit quietly and meditate among these larger than life gods. 

PHOTO PRAVASSA©

PHOTO PRAVASSA©

CULTURAL INVOLVEMENT

Mani Bhavan. Mahatma Gandhi's longing for peace and Indian Independence is world renown. In the 1920's he renounced foreign-made goods and invented a portable spinning wheel so he could live simply and make his own clothing as a form of protest towards British rule. Pictured here is Gandhi's room where he slept when living in the city. Now a museum and library, Mani Bhavan is a source of pride and education for the Indian people and should not be missed by visitors as it offers a window into this revolutionary man's life.  - Linden Schaffer