For doctor and well-being guru Deepak Chopra, the future of the wellness category relies on coaching.
In an effort to democratize health coaching and better educate on integrative wellness, Chopra has partnered with the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, a global online health and wellness coaching school. This appointment marks a key shift for the 30-year-old organization, as it will now focus more on the mind-body connection within wellness and become an integrative health education and certification platform.
In collaboration with Chopra Global, the IIN now offers courses on yoga, meditation and Ayurveda, and will continue to expand its offerings with Chopra’s teachings, bringing together both groups’ roster of coaches.
Below, Chopra discusses the collaboration, his new role and the future of the wellness industry.
How did the partnership with IIN come to fruition? What will your role as chief wellness officer entail?
Deepak Chopra: For approximately 25 years, I have spoken at IIN, so I was very close to the former chief executive officer and founder [Joshua Rosenthal]. Last time I was there, at the conference in Miami, I met the now CEO Lynda [Cloud] and we sat down afterwards and we said, “We’re both doing the same thing,” except for the fact that IIN has 150,000 coaches and we have 5,000. Our coaches are trained very specifically in Ayurveda, lifestyle medicine and the teaching of primordial sound meditation, so we started having a conversation. Ultimately, this resulted in my joining as chief wellness officer, which means I’ll curate a lot of the content, but also create a lot of the content.
How will this change the coaching programming at IIN?
D.C.: At Chopra Global, we have several lines of coaching. One is lifestyle medicine health. Second is very specific meditation — coaching certified meditation teachers. Third is we have created a program on our own brand of yoga certification, which is based on my book “The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success” and “The Seven Spiritual Laws of Yoga,” which is also certified now as part of the Yoga Alliance. We’re not changing that curriculum at all. It’s going to continue the way it is, but a lot of the coaches with IIN will also now take up that coaching.
What is the most important aspect when it comes to the future of the wellness category?
D.C.: Coaching right now is the most important thing in the future of well-being. Nobody has time to educate people, and yet we know that education about health and well-being is the key, not medicine, nothing like that, just the education. Most important is the education because then people know not only what the future of well-being is in how precise, how predictable, how participatory, how preventive it is, they’re inspired to become coaches. This is going to be the area of most interest for employment in the next 10 years.
Why is coaching so important?
D.C.: If we want to see a more peaceful, just, sustainable, healthier and joyful world, we begin with ourselves. We have to be the change we want to see in the world. One of the best ways actually to take care of yourself is to teach content that is worthwhile and that is scientifically validated. Coaches, in general, know how to take care of themselves, so I encourage people to take coaching. If for nothing else, they learn more about their own body and mind and their relationships and how they can take care of themselves.
Is wellness coaching becoming more accessible? What does the future of training look like?
D.C.: I see it shifting. I don’t think it’s as available as it should be because most people are not even aware of it. I see a future where this should be part of high school and earlier education.
Over the past year, several celebrities have founded wellness brands or joined as an ambassador. How are you thinking about this trend as you join the IIN?
D.C.: I’m very cautious in associating with celebs. I don’t consider myself one even though some people think I am. In this area, you need professional experts, not people who suddenly overnight discover that they became an expert because they tried such and such diet and it worked for them. Or they tried such and such technique, meditation or mindfulness, and it worked for them and then overnight, they became experts. This is part of the danger in today’s culture.
The wellness market is becoming increasingly saturated. Do you have advice for consumers looking to invest in their well-being but feel overwhelmed by the options?
D.C.: If something works, it’s good medicine, period. If something doesn’t work, then don’t use it. It doesn’t matter who is talking about it. Look at the science. Look at what is working.