December 30, 2014
I’m en route to New Mexico, sitting here on the plane writing to you. Once I land, I’ll meet one of my Ayurveda teachers I feel very grateful to know, among the many mentors I’ve been fortunate enough to meet along my path of yoga.
One of the most important lessons I've learned through yoga has to do with the deep connections linking the mind, body and spirit. It took me years to really understand that our emotional lives affect our bodies, that when our minds are not at peace – filled with negative thoughts – our physical health suffers as a result. It was not until I faced my own health challenges that I realized just how strongly the body, mind and spirit influence one another. Understanding that influence is key to yoga, which by definition seeks to unite those three forces.
When I started my exploration of yoga, holistic food was the first “door” through which I entered its teachings. I was 15 at the time and really curious about how food contributes to health. After a period practicing yoga asana, I discovered Ayurveda (Ayur = life, Veda = science orknowledge). A system of natural healing that originated in India 5,000 years ago, Ayurveda incorporates food consciousness within a larger body of wisdom designed to help people stay vital and realize their full human potential.
They say in yoga, “When the student is ready, the teacher will show up.” And it was true that when my interest in Ayurveda began, I was blessed to find an accomplished Ayurveda master to study with. I wanted a teacher who would help me find my own wisdom, the wisdom that already lived within me. And after my teacher's first lecture, I knew that he would help me find this wisdom through Ayurveda, which would become an important part of my path. I understood it would take years – possibly my entire life – to reach a mastery level in Ayurveda. But that did not discourage me, and I chose to embrace the process. As a student I was mesmerized by Ayurveda, and I kept asking myself this question, like a mantra: "Why don’t more people know about Ayurveda and this lifestyle?”
What I love most about Ayurveda is that it includes easy practices that almost anyone can incorporate into their daily lives, and I have made it my personal mission to introduce these practices to my students. One of the most important has to do with the promotion of healthy fats, which can be added to meals through food or massaged into the body through Abhyanga, a tradition of rubbing the skin with warm oils. There is no greater expression of self-love than anointing ourselves from head to toe with warm oils, which are full of herbs that can relieve inflammation, calm the nervous system and help us age beautifully and gracefully. According to Dr. Chopra, the benefits of Abhyanga include:
decreased effects of aging
increased muscle tone and vigor to the dhatus (tissues) of the body
firmness of the limbs
stimulated internal organs
elimination of impurities from the body
stimulated lymph, aiding in detoxification
better, deeper sleep
improved hair growth and texture
softer skin and reduced appearance of wrinkles
pacification of Vata and Pitta
After years of practicing yoga and Ayurveda, I began working on my goal of supporting women who are on similar journeys of self discovery, empowering them to heal their internal worlds by embracing their femininity and beauty. Every woman should experience what I felt when I received Ayurveda treatments. When warm oils were poured on my forehead, hair, feet, belly and breasts, it was an intoxicating, sensual experience that provided relaxation and rejuvenating energy. Each time I felt like I was reborn.Since experts traditionally perform such treatments, they are often very pricey. For the sake of saving money, I performed the massages on myself in the comfort in my own home and shortly thereafter taught my yoga students to do so as well. Over the last two years [in a lab of love ;)], I have created nine self-care products filled with Ayurvedic herbs. Also in the mix are essential oils that lend beautiful fragrance and sensuality. Each oil in my product line has a specific use. My main mission is to help women embrace their womanhood and love themselves. If we don’t have a healthy emotional connection with our bodies and inner beings, how can we give to anyone else?According to the Chopra Center, If we desire perfect health, it’s crucial to focus on producing “ojas,” a Sanskrit term meaning “vigor.” Essential to life energy, ojas is the pure and subtle substance that’s extracted from food that has been completely digested. Your digestive health will determine how healthy you are. The Ayurveda Belly Oil in my product line was designed for rebuilding your digestive fire and connection to love. I really believe that doing daily massage on your belly deepens your connection to your life energy and can allow you to develop a healthy relationship with your belly, a body part many of my women students and friends complain about. It is also healthy to massage to alleviate gas and feelings of stress. After all, they say the belly is where your second brain lives.The Breast Oil was very important for me to make to improve women’s emotional health. There is so much emotion surrounding our breasts, including sexual shame. Part of my mission is to heal that pain by encouraging women to build a relationship with their breasts rooted in a strong sense of self-care, self-love and awareness. My oils were created to help ground, invigorate and refresh various systems throughout the body. Ayurveda describes three fundamental energies that govern our inner and outer environments: movement, transformation, and structure; in Sanskrit, these are known as Vata (Wind), Pitta (Fire), and Kapha (Earth). These primary forces are responsible for the characteristics of our minds and bodies to help us stay close to the earth and keep warm. For me, the wind is my challenge, so I use the Vata Oil. The benefits of an Ayurvedic lifestyle go far beyond what I can capture in this short article. But hopefully you’ve been enticed enough to learn more. I look forward to your questions and feedback.
With Love and Ayurveda,
May 09, 2021
May 05, 2021