Associate Director and Wellness Advisor of Badrutt’s Palace Hotel & Ayurvedic Expert
After growing up in Australia, Martha Wiedemann found herself wondering about her true identity. Wanting to feel a connection to her native India, she took up the practice of Ayurveda. She would later use her knowledge of the ancient, holistic system to inform and improve the wellness facilities at Badrutt’s Palace Hotel in St. Moritz, Switzerland, a multimillion-dollar expansion designed with Ayurvedic principles in mind.
How did your parents become followers of Ayurveda long before it was a recognizable practice?
My parents come from Kerala where most of the text for Ayurveda has been preserved. It is still practiced there in its traditional form. Though Ayurveda is widespread in India, most of the Ayurvedic schools are in Kerala, and it is very much a part of the general population’s daily lifestyle. My parents left India, moved to Singapore and preserved that culture that was native to their wellbeing. They raised us with the Ayurvedic principles. Early on, we went to see a Vaidya, which is an Ayurvedic doctor. I never took medication that was chemical in composition. The only medication we were given was always herbal. In Ayurveda, your constitution dictates your nutrition. It was very rigid as I was growing up, and I didn’t understand why. By contrast, Singapore was very multicultural, so Ayurveda was understood and accepted. At 14, I moved to Australia. I felt quite odd living according to the Ayurvedic principles. I would monitor the time of the year so I could determine what my sister and I could or could not eat. It was very much about constitution and very strict.
What are you and your sister’s Prakriti?
I am Vata-Pitta. My sister is actually more Pitta. At this point in our lives, we are showing traits of Vata Vikriti.
In Ayurveda, what are Prakriti and Vikriti?
Prakriti is your original state, and that stays with you. Vikriti fluctuates with the changes in environment and lifestyle and goes up and down. So, Vikriti is often referred to as the disease state, the not-at-ease, not-at-equilibrium state. You could be a Pitta constitution and have a high Vata state. It sometimes is hard to detect when in diagnosis.