How a Sex-Positive Yoga Guru Spent $1,000 on Wellness

jesal parikh wellness diaries

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What if you had $1,000 to spend on your health?

Welcome to Wellness Diaries. In this series, we send readers $1,000 to splurge on any product, service, or experience—as long as it’s something that can enhance health. (Any leftover cash is donated to a charity of the diarist’s choice.)

In this diary, we have yoga teacher, movement educator, podcaster, and author, Jesal Parikh. She spent her money on an essential oil diffuser, a sex toy, and the Fit Desi Food Guide, among other things.

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Headshot: Wellness Diaries winner, Jesal Parikh

Meet Jesal

Jesal Parikh (she/they) is an Indian-American yoga teacher, movement educator, podcaster, author, and disrupter working on creative solutions for equity in yoga. She’s co-host of the Yoga is Dead podcast and offers movement education through the lens of social justice.

Through her work, Jesal aims to uplift people who may feel isolated and marginalized by the yoga industry.

“My favorite wellness ritual is walking my dog. Sometimes I have a love/hate relationship with this, especially when the weather isn’t great. But if it weren’t for my fur baby, there are days I probably wouldn’t get away from the screens or get up and walk all that much. Plus, it’s a great way to bond with my dog— and my husband who usually tries to walk with us.”

Her charity of choice: Leftover funds were donated to The National Abortion Federation.

“Abortion care is healthcare and every American should have access,” Parikh says. “That access is under threat more than ever because of how access intersects with race, class, capitalism, gender, and religion. Supporting abortion access is about social wellness as well as individual wellness and liberty.”

Her Diary

$123 Diffuser

vitruvi diffuser

Vitruvi Stone Essential Oil Diffuser (White)

This has been on my wish list for a while because scent can have such a powerful effect on mood. This particular diffuser is one of the most aesthetically pleasing out there because its cover is made from ceramic rather than plastic. It also has a relatively small footprint so it fits in a variety of spaces. Plus, it’s something my partner and I can both benefit from.

$34 Food Guide

Product image: Fit Desi Food Guide. Taken from The Body Boss Revolution website.

The Body Boss Revolution Fit Desi Food Guide

As I near 40, I’ve become more conscious that right now is the time to invest in building and maintaining muscle mass. I chose this book because it consists of high protein, mostly vegetarian recipes (I’m a lifelong vegetarian). Because it’s written by Dee Gautham, who is herself South Asian, the recipes keep South Asian flavors and ingredients in mind. These recipes are something I can easily share with in-laws and with other members of my community who struggle to get enough protein in their diet.

$395 LED Face Mask

Product Image: Omnilux ContourTM FACE. Taken from Omnilux website.

Omnilux Contour FACE

My face and skin scar easily as I get older, and I’m noticing more hyperpigmentation and uneven skin tone. As a fat, brown content creator, I have enough insecurities holding me back. On top of that, I manage psoriasis and keratosis pilaris. Having more even skin on my face would go a long way in making me feel confident, more at ease, and less anxious in front of the camera. It’s easier to feel authentic in your own skin when you’re confident in that skin—at least even in part.

$199 Vibrator

Product Image: Womanizer Premium 2 ("The Luxurious Clitoral Stimulator") in Black. Taken from Womanizer website.

Womanizer Premium 2 (Black)

Sexual health is so often overlooked even though it’s a basic component of overall wellbeing. This category of toy (air pulse vibrator) is supposed to be game-changing. Every review recommended the Womanizer Premium 2, especially for those new to the category.

$42 Bra

Product Image: Breast of Both Worlds® Reversible Comfort Bra in Grey/Vintage Rose. Taken from Spanx website.

Spanx Breast of Both Worlds Reversible Comfort Bra

This is the best everyday bra I’ve found for my size. It has enough support to wear most of the time while still feeling really comfortable and not giving me a uniboob—not something easily achieved when your cup size is well above G. Also, I love the reversible colors. I already have one but I really need one for every day of the week.

$30 Exfoliating Glove

Kessa Royal

Zakia’s Morocco Kessa Original Hammam Scrubbing Glove

These are the best exfoliating gloves I’ve found! They remove so much dead skin, which is great for preventing body acne and ingrown hairs.

$24 Powder Toothpaste

Product Image: Premium Dirty Mouth Powdered Mineral Toothpaste. Nano-hydroxyapatite, fluoride-free. Flavors: Polished Peppermint, Whitening Peppermint, Sparkling Spearmint, Whitening Spearmint, Unflavored, Fruity Bubblegum, Sweet Peppermint, Sweet Spearmint. Taken from Primal Life Organics website.

Primal Life Organics Powdered Mineral Toothpaste

I’ve had all sorts of dental issues over the years so I’ve had to make a big effort to take care of my teeth and gums. I brush, floss, use interdental brushes, have been tongue scraping since I was a teenager, and use an anti-inflammatory natural mouthwash. But the two things have made the biggest difference: eating raw veggies and switching to Primal Life’s toothpowder. My teeth have never felt cleaner!

$6.39 Mini Ice Cream Cones

Product Image: Vanilla Mini Swirls in a box. Taken from Blue Bunny website.

Blue Bunny Mini Swirls Vanilla Cones

A little something sweet feeds the soul! I love that these are mini so you can have just a small treat when you want—or have more when you want that, too!

Total: $853.39

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“This card is such an exciting addition to my wallet and it’s perfect for someone who values health and wellness but hasn’t found a credit card that rewards me for that. I love getting rewarded for wellness practices like sleeping, meditating, and moving my body—plus extra points on purchases at my favorite places like Whole Foods, ClassPass and sweetgreen. The app is easy to use and the card is designed for your definition of health and wellness, which I love. It’s flexible!”

Kira's Favorite Healthy Merchants

“It’s no secret that wellness is such an important part of my everyday life. I spend a lot of money to help fuel my love of running, recovery, nutrition and mindfulness, so the fact that I can now earn rewards for every dollar I spend with the Ness Card is amazing. My health always comes first, and the Ness Card makes that easy to do. It’s a win-win for everyone!”

Andi's Favorite Healthy Merchants

“As a new mum, wellness and self-care is a priority for me—so I can, in turn, be able to take care of my baby. I love the incentives that Ness offers for making healthier choices. And to be rewarded along the way for those purchases is such a plus!

Oh, and getting 5x point rewards on my Erewhon $20+ smoothie makes it a little more justifiable.”

Amrit's Favorite Healthy Merchants

“I made a promise to myself to find my joy again in 2023. For the past few years, I haven’t been taking care of myself mentally and physically because I’ve just been on the go and focusing on the future instead of being present. I realized that part of the reason I wasn’t happy was because I wasn’t taking care of myself. So, now with the Ness Card—which literally rewards you for staying on top of your wellness journey—I’ve easily been able to focus on my mental and physical journey. Using the card is now a part of my weekly routine, whether I’m buying groceries, going to therapy, spending a day at the spa, or treating myself to a delicious yummy meal.”

Candace's Favorite Healthy Merchants

“I love life with the Ness Card! The team behind the scenes work really hard to make it valuable and to create a sense of community, which you feel in every newsletter and hand-crafted partnership. The card itself encourages me to be even more curious about where I’m spending my money. It definitely incentivizes me to spend ‘healthier’, which is really unique. On top of that, getting points for taking more steps? There is seriously nothing like it.

David's Favorite Healthy Merchants

“My favorite thing about the Ness Card is that it rewards you for your healthy habits, and not all of them require spending. Yes, you can earn 5x points when you spend at any of their approved health and wellness merchants (think Erewhon and many of your other favorites) but you also earn points for being active daily! So now your sanity walks are literally paying off :) As someone who not only works in wellness but lives and breathes it, essentially most of my expenses live in that realm and with the Ness Card I can now be rewarded nicely for those purchases.”

Kirsty's Favorite Healthy Merchants

“I love that I have rewards to look forward to when I focus on my health and wellness. As a mom of two and full time photographer/creator, it’s hard to find time to prioritize my health and—as my body ages—I want to make sure that I’m treating it to all the TLC it needs (and deserves)! The Ness Card reminds me to take care of my mental, physical, and emotional health on the daily.”

Valerie's Favorite Healthy Merchants

“It’s refreshing to have a card app that is so easy to use. I can track my spending and rewards at the click of a button. I love getting a notification when I get extra points for getting a full night sleep or getting my steps in, though of course those are optional. I work a lot, and I feel like I get extra rewarded for taking the time to take care of myself – whether it’s therapy or simply cooking at home instead of dining out. The points accumulate really quickly, and I’ve already gotten a $1,000 credit at Erewhon in my first four months. I also go visit family in Europe a lot, and no one takes my card there, so it’s so convenient to be able to use my Ness Card without ever paying a fee.”

Mélanie's Favorite Healthy Merchants

“As someone who spends the majority of her money on wellness, the Ness Card is perfect for me! I love earning 5x points on purchases at healthy businesses that I was already making, anyways. The Ness Card also motivates me to get enough sleep, practice mindfulness and other healthy habits. The app is really user-friendly and I love watching my points add up. I am excited to redeem them for wellness-related items!”

Lauren's Favorite Healthy Merchants

“The Ness Card motivates me to keep up my healthy habits, and has helped me discover new brands and products that are in alignment with my goals. I’m not spending any more with my Ness Card, but the money I am spending on health and wellness is actually earning me rewards, benefits, and even cash back. And because Ness’s definition of a ‘healthy merchant’ is so generous, I’m able to recognize all of the small ways I practice self-care throughout the week. From buying fresh veggies to going to therapy to taking my supplements, the Ness Card is there to cheer me on: ‘Keep being healthy, girl. You deserve 5x points for that.'”

Melissa's Favorite Healthy Merchants

“The Ness Card rewards me when I spend money on health and wellness. Especially because so much of my wellness routine is spent being active, gardening, making food with my husband, getting a massage, or having some me time, it is nice to be rewarded for that with points that are with brands I shop at all the time anyway. It allows my wellness choices to work harder which I love.”

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