Many of us raised in Indian homes are exposed to Ayurveda. Our parents and family may not call it out, but they will tell you what foods to avoid combining, what to eat seasonally because of the effect of that food (hot or cold), and, of course, the hundreds of home remedies. The initial action for any ailment is to solve it at home and only visit the doctor if home remedies are ineffective.

I’m one of the many Indians surrounded by Ayurvedic knowledge but didn’t realize it’s importance. At times I rebelled against my parents’ advice because it didn’t make sense compared to the Western world, I live in.

After giving birth to my first child, I went to my primary physician to address a few health issues and the medicine prescribed made me feel worse. They suppressed the symptoms instead of solving my issues, so I abandoned the medicine and decided I would deal with the short-lived symptoms as they came. I preferred feeling terrible for a short while to avoid the 24/7 dullness with medication.

Soon after, I read an article written by a Vaidya on Ayurveda in the Art of Living newsletter. I emailed her about my health issues and luckily, she lived within driving distance. Five weeks after my first appointment and following a very strict regimen, my health issues disappeared.

This encounter led me on an unexpected journey. I took my son and husband for their health issues, and later had an ayurvedic pregnancy, leading to my beautiful daughter.

One Christmas holiday season, I treated myself to an abhyanga massage at a high-end Ayurveda salon.  After my session, I chatted with the owner, also a student at a newly established Ayurveda school, and she put the thought in my head to join this new school and learn the principles of Ayurveda, so I wouldn’t need to rely on expensive consultations and, as a new mom could save time from the time intensive appointments. It must have been fate because applications for their second batch of students were due the next day. Within 24 hours, I spoke with the teacher, applied, was accepted, and joined a one-year program with the intent of learning Ayurveda so I could raise my children with healthy lifestyle habits from the beginning. My children did not win the genetic lottery, given the health issues on both sides of the family. I wanted a way to counter their genetics.

My children are now 16 & 19 and well versed in Ayurveda to the point when they start to feel unwell, they mix their own herbs and the requests for kitchari and light soups trickle in.

Many people have often asked me why I didn’t change careers and use this knowledge for financial gain. In the West, there is a deep desire for natural remedies as our health care system deteriorates and distrust in pharmaceutical companies increases as more information is revealed about how for-profit status motivates corporate decisions which don’t always align with an individual’s needs. What stops me is an Ayurvedic documentary I watched many years ago when my mom had cancer. In the documentary they spoke of how in ancient times our Vedic culture discouraged people profiting off the suffering of others. Patients paid Vaidya’s whatever they could afford and were willing to give. The line about not profiting from someone’s pain stuck with me.

Ayurveda is much more than prescribing herbs. It is aligning body, mind, and soul to achieve good health. The school I attended taught us as a gurukul, and we spent time studying the various Hindu philosophies and understanding the pancha mahubhutta. The basis of Ayurveda is that it is a sister science to Yoga, and you need both to dive into the world of Vedanta. A healthy body is first needed if you’re going down the path of meditation and spirituality. You will not be able to travel this path if you’re ruled by bodily pain. Ayurveda is not the equivalent of modern medicine; it is much more. To fully benefit from Ayurveda, aside from your diet, you must look at your mind and lifestyle. It won’t work if you’re not willing to incorporate your whole self.

 

 

I’ve been mocked at times by those around me calling into question the validity of Ayurveda, but my answer always remains the same. You don’t have to believe me, just try it yourself. If it works, continue, if it doesn’t move on. The proof is in the results.

This past holiday season, I recommended and gave organic massage sesame oil to several people close to me but unfamiliar with Ayurveda. They had different health issues, but for all of them, vata dosha was running high and, given the current weather, this would be one small solution to alleviate some pain. They all contacted me telling me how much relief they’d gotten from this simple suggestion. Coming full circle after thirteen years, it was the best Christmas gift!

It is wonderful to pass on this beautiful knowledge and help someone in the process. It reinforced my decision early on to not make money off Ayurveda but instead use it as my seva to the world. I am always happy to share my knowledge and advice with whomever asks.

Joining the Ayurvedic program is what started me on my spiritual journey. It opened many doorways I didn’t know existed. I wouldn’t be on this site and using the Black Lotus app had I not attended the Vedika gurukul. Every step of the way has been serendipitous as one thing landed in my lap after another, gently leading me down this path. With time, I connect more and more dots of how intricately this is weaved into my life and how meaningful it is throughout my personal and professional roles.

It’s the beginning of 2023 and somehow, I know this journey will continue to lead me in unplanned and unforeseen ways, and I am looking forward to unfolding each new experience.

Wishing you all good health and a peaceful mind in 2023.