Tackling PCOD and depression through Yoga and Origami; Interview with Sruthakeerthi, Founder of Teal Zeal
Arguendo catches up with Sruthakeerthi Mohan Ram, Founder of Teal Zeal, which is dedicated to helping women of all ages overcome PCOD in a healthy manner. Srutha considers herself to be a part-time yogini, half-time entrepreneur and aspires to be a full-time DogMom.
Sourya (S): What is Teal Zeal? and what does it do?
Sruthakeerthi (Srutha): Teal Zeal, is a startup that focuses on providing customised health and fitness solutions to all women, especially those affected by various hormonal imbalances like PCOS and Thyroid through a multi-faceted approach. We offer diet counselling apart from yoga and strength training classes as well to address these issues.
(S): What is PCOD (Poly Cystic Ovaries Disorder)? Why is there such a lack of awareness regarding the same?
(Srutha): It is a lifestyle condition that is largely caused because of our sedentary lifestyle. The stress of the lives we lead affects our bodies in various ways and PCOS is one such condition that affects one in three women. The symptoms usually include irregular menstrual cycles, sudden weight gain, acne, thinning of hair and an increase in facial hair growth. More than lack of awareness, I’d say there is a lack of communication about this condition because PCOS is often associated with infertility in women and because women are still largely viewed to be just baby making machines in our country, talking about this condition becomes a taboo of sorts. One would think because of this exact attitude more people should be talking about it given how important making babies is even today, but no. Therefore, alongside the lack of awareness, lack of dialogue seems to be a bigger issue.
(S): What prompted you to start Teal Zeal?
(Srutha): Having been diagnosed with PCOD, I wanted to create more awareness about it. All the gynaecologists kept trying to console me by saying “every other girl has it these days, Ma” but then that got me wondering about why people wouldn’t talk about it if it really did affect so many people. So the moment I got to know that September is PCOD Awareness month and teal is the colour associated with ovary related conditions, I started TZ as an awareness initiative of sorts initially. But then I saw the need for doing something more. Which is how we started offering yoga classes as apart of TZ.
(S): What are the symptoms of PCOD and how does one generally cure it?
(Srutha): So, here’s the tricky thing about PCOS. Sure, you can most definitely get rid of the cysts and get healthy but if you don’t commit to your fitness and health goals, you can never be sure of those cysts not coming back. So once you commit to exercise and a balanced, healthy, nutritious diet, there is no looking back after that. You just have to keep going at it to keep PCOS away.
(S): What were the initial challenges you faced when you started Teal Zeal?
(Srutha): Related to what I was saying earlier, this is a very sensitive issue. Women are constantly shamed for having this condition that is honestly no fault of ours. That stops women from coming forward and addressing the situation immediately. So the biggest challenge was to get people to talk about it and encourage them to take the first step in the right direction!
(S): Tell us about your other venture, Simply Square.
(Srutha): Simply Square started off as a pet project that helped me cope with the stress and depression I was going through because of being diagnosed with PCOD. I started making origami accessories, jewellery and décor and started selling them. What was a stress release for me ended up with me taking workshops for people belonging to all age groups to help them do the same!
(S): Were you always entrepreneurial during your school and college days?
(Srutha): There was no scope for being entrepreneurial in school. But the college days were the best! My college, M.O.P Vaishnav College for Women was incredibly supportive of female entrepreneurs and constantly encouraged us all to start something of our own and even gave us tonnes of opportunities to execute them and see how those ideas do!
(S): What next for Teal Zeal and SinplySquare?
(Srutha): More workshops for Simply Square! Would love to work with children affected by autism and see how origami can help them!
And Teal Zeal definitely takes up more focus. I want to expand TZ to other areas within the city and the country. Figuring out the logistics of online classes and I’d like to introduce some comfortable fitness gear for women to work out comfortably with proper sizing to suit the Indian bodies, and I’d also like to provide sales subscriptions and meal subscriptions as a part of TZ because people affected by PCOS have a lot of diet restrictions that can make food not fun enough sadly and I want to change that!