Ayurveda: Moderation is the Key

July 6, 2017

Shaaranya Geetanjali Chakraborty’s health journey includes many stops along the way before finding Ayurveda. Not only did the ancient tradition of medicine cure her of chronic constipation and eczema but it changed the course of her career. Shaaranya is a graduate of Vedika Global founded by Acharya Shunya, scholar of the Vedic Sciences of Ayurveda, Yoga, and Vedanta. You can learn more about Shaaranya’s work here.

For more information about Ayurveda, check out Acharya’s book, Ayurveda Lifestyle Wisdom: A Complete Prescription to Optimize Your Health, Prevent Disease, and Live with Vitality and Joy.


okay okay boom um so well actually first i want to make sure that i not only pronounce your name correctly but have your entire name because the name of the skype account could that be your husband’s name or no that’s my birth name so my birth name is gitanjali and the last name that you see there it’s my parents i haven’t quite done the conversion to my husband’s last name because of all the paperwork and then the name that you know me by shahrunya that was a spiritual name given to me by acharya shunya and it’s a very interesting process you know so most of the students in our school got an additional name to their birth name based on what goal they needed to achieve so my name sharanya actually means the one who gives refuge and more than refuge i think that sounds more egoistic but really who can’t who doesn’t make distinction between who comes to that person for help and given that i was a very judgmental person now that i can see that when i was studying in the school i never quite knew why she would give that name to me and now the work that i do in the clinic you know i can’t deny service to anyone just because of whatever i may be thinking or the opinion i’m forming so that name is very apt in that sense and she and she really like sort of zeroed in on something it was like a psychic sort of uh vision for her pretty much that’s how she gives name you know like she’ll go into her zone and she’ll give a name and she’ll say this is this is your name in addition to whatever you have and you can choose to go just by that or continue with your birth name as well and yeah so it just comes to her i wouldn’t say randomly that’s not the word but really the psychic power of you know where she thinks you need to be going and these are students who have worked with her for four or five years so it’s not like i’m meeting her for the first time and she’s coming up with something so she’s known me she knows my patterns and then you know she’s going into a zone and coming up with a name because i asked for it uh-huh wow okay so how when i when i introduce you because i don’t you know i i do like an intro and a little bio information and then in the podcast notes which is you know text on the webpage uh what what name would you best do you prefer i go by so okay i can do that i can type that for you in the oh no i have well i have your signature from the email and then so i have it all available just if you could say it one more time slowly and i will be able to practice that before i record my intro okay it’s

that’s the first name and then gitanjali

okay and chakraborty you could just skip that completely if you wanted to oh no no i can do it i i did an interview with uh a man i met at a yoga conference uh merely and and i can’t remember his last name but i was able to pronounce it but i had met him in person and he i don’t know if you happen to see it it’s called the science of yoga i saw it on your podcast i haven’t had a chance to hear it but i definitely saw merlie’s recording there okay have you heard of him no i haven’t oh he’s you know i just i went to two of his sessions in seattle and i just i i was fascinated with his talk and it may be a talk that other people gave but the way he he made it just so accessible and it’s really you know goes into a lot of uh you know physiological processes that happen uh you know while practicing yoga and i i just loved it so um yeah if you listen to it sometime i mean i’m sure you’re familiar with a lot of it but i found him very accessible so that’s why i asked him to participate that’s amazing but it was good for me to listen to his pronunciation a few times because i i i was saying merely but it was kind of more like a a melodic you know flow to it than i uh anyhow so um can you tell me about the chronic condition you you spoke about at the the class the workshop i went to because i you know i i just find um when someone has a personal story that led them to you know significant changes in their life and for you not just increasing your health and vitality but also it changed your course of direction um i’m i’m very moved by those kinds of stories yeah i thank you actually those um you know i mean it it was completely a turning point for me so uh it started i actually used to suffer from chronic constipation and actually i’ll start again because chronic constipation was not the root cause so what had happened is that in 2006 is when i was doing a yoga teacher training course and right around that time after i finished it i found a patch on my leg which looked strange and i didn’t know what it was but i ignored it for some time and then i was getting married uh in 2007 and then things were starting to advance a little more so right before i was getting married i wanted to resolve everything that was going on and so i started exploring you know the regular dermatologist and i was in india at that time and i went to a skin specialist and he saw and examined my patch and he’s like oh it’s nothing it’s just dry skin it’ll go away and then i said but i’ve had this for almost a year and he said ah well okay in that case you know let’s do different tests and we’ll take a patch of it and test it for different things so they tried all different things a couple of testings and nothing came out and then interestingly they sent me for blood work to test me if i was hiv positive and and i was like wait wait a minute you know i know how that actually happens but i’m pretty sure i haven’t been in contact in that sense you know so it doesn’t make sense to me they were like oh no no no we’re not you know we’re doing this just to rule things out so i was like okay fine so i did that and nothing came out so interestingly you know they just kept moving me from one department to the other and nothing actually came off it because it was a really tiny patch and it’s interesting that i keep emphasizing on it because it’ll become more relevant uh you know in the later part of the story so then uh finally you know they sent me the to um they told me they recommended me to a psychiatric department saying that i’m just imagining things and i don’t really have something going on so i said okay that’s it you know i i really need to find something else and i’m going to give this up for now and try to heal myself but then i got married i got married moved to the u.s and then you know we were on an insurance and i restarted reinitiated that whole um health thing to find out if the doctors here could find a reason for it so here they told me okay it’s eczema and it’s you know will give you a steroid and you know it’ll take care of it i said great and how long am i taking it so they said we’ll start you with a lower percentage and then we’ll keep increasing the dosage you know it it’s hard to say if you’ll ever stop using it it may happen or it may not happen and i said no but that’s not my solution i need something where i’m not dependent on anything so that’s where my alternative search started ayurveda not being the first one so i started with homeopathy macrobiotics and um i also went vegan so i tried everything for six months each and nothing you know they they definitely had their own value because they would resolve some other thing that my body was going through but i wasn’t really getting help with what i was suffering with which is when um we went for you know a yoga retreat me and my husband to grass valley farm and which is not too far from here and there there was it i’d with a practitioner on the center and my husband said why don’t you give this a try it has like it’s too expensive i think the consultation was about 250 dollars and to me i don’t know that at that point it felt a little outrageous i said this is so expensive and i don’t even know if it’s going to benefit me but you know given that he pushed me into it and i said okay i’ll go to her so then our consultation began and it was i think it lasted about an hour 15 minutes and you know she went through the entire life story you know the medical history and what i was going through and then we came to this part where she talked about digestion and i told her oh yeah i don’t have bowel movements every day i have constipation but that’s because my grandfather had it my father has it and i have it so don’t worry about that i took pills for it so she said no no no let’s focus on that how long have you had it i said no you don’t get it i came here to you for my eczema which started with the patch and now it’s you know in quite a few places and i really need to take care of that so she said don’t worry about it we’ll get to it but let’s just focus here on the digestive system and it was back and forth and you know so i was getting a little antsy with her and because i felt i wasn’t able to get through and she had her point but you know she had to scold me at some point to tell me that either you surrender and believe in what i’m going to tell you or you know we can end this right here so then that had grounded myself and i said okay fine given i have tried everything else let me give this a faithful shot before i give up and you had invested 250 dollars exactly that was no refund definitely so then you know she she changed that course for me basically of sleep patterns on when i should be there were multiple things in lifestyle that she wanted to fix and also she gave me some sort of a medication um combination of ghee and some other herbs which would focus on the digestive system and constipation and you know interestingly when i walked away there was nothing in the herb list which was directly going to be an application on the eczema but i said okay you know it’s okay i will just trust her what she has to say and try it and so for the next three months i um get you know ate whatever she gave me and interestingly what i had ha suffered for for 10 years that went away i mean with that medication and change of lifestyle those five six seven things i did it completely transformed my life where you know the bowel movement you know interestingly in ayurveda it’s such an important aspect of your life which we completely ignore you know so i had never thought that having a great bowel movement is going to give me that moment of aha and satisfaction so with those herbs for the next three months it just magically transformed my life and uh and and that was something i never thought i could get off pills i thought i would always need it so that actually got me interested in ayurveda i mean it didn’t handle my eczema directly but that got me interested in studying ayurveda to really understand the science and how she arrived at what she was thinking and why she tackled what she did so interestingly my background is biochemistry so i had done i’ve studied biochemistry masters in biochemistry and then i did research for about five years and so i had that analytical mind where i really need to know why i’m doing something and how it’s affecting my body and how the pathways are acting so because this thing tackled my condition i wanted to know exactly what was the science behind it yeah no so i just i would like you to reiterate that what she gave you when you refer to it as medication they they were just herbs sort of the the source not any sort of compound right it was it was basically um food based so it was ghee which is clarified butter mixed with some of the other herbs which are locally available and you know they are legal here so and uh and it was basically just having that and i don’t think she gave me any other pills nothing else so i was supposed to have that that one teaspoon of that ghee early in the morning on empty stomach and prior to that you know my lifestyle was kind of all over the place because my husband was a grad student so we would go to bed at 3 a.m and wake up at noon so with the her consultation that shifted you know from um we would go to bed maybe 10 p.m and then wake up by 6 a.m and then i would do my yoga practice and so that was a huge change as well and and then incorporating that uh medicated or you know herb potentiated ghee and just for two months or three months so after that you know when i started i started looking for places where i could study ayurveda and i found a few online classes but i felt like i needed a community because i would read these books and i would get stuck on the 10th page or 11th page because there was some concept which i just wasn’t to dig through so finally you know i found our school which is vedica global and that was a very interesting encounter so it happened in a bookstore near our home and you know we would get these magazines where you have the listing of all the upcoming events so my husband was browsing through it and we we would never actually look at it so we would get that magazine because we were in that neighborhood but that month he was looking through it and he found um acharya shunya giving a talk in this bookstore and he’s like you got to go to this talk and i was like uh why why her so he said you know she he had heard her talk maybe 10 years ago in berkeley and what she had said at that time really stuck with him so she’s a very powerful teacher and conveys things in a very simple format so i said okay so it was a free you know wednesday evening class for one and a half hour just to introduce the topic so i showed up there um and there was a workshop on the weekend which i hadn’t signed up for but i thought i’ll just go see and check it out so at the end of that one and a half hour talk i was really moved and you know i was i went up to her to say hello but i was i started crying and um i i don’t think it was tears of sorrow it was just i couldn’t help myself there was something which had really shaken for me and uh when we met you know i’m not even sure if i should say it but when we met she said where have you been i’ve been waiting for you and we have a long way to go and i said uh okay

you know i live in mountain view and school is in emeryville and it’s quite a drive and i have a full-time job so i’m not sure she’s like logistics are you know something which you should never be concerned about it’ll all work out but come you know we have a lot a lot of work and we have a long way to go and then i took the weekend class and then you know that’s how the journey really began with not knowing what lied in the future but just doing it more as a self-care and for self-healing so i joined the school for you know the school at that time we had these different programs where the first two months were set was self-care and then there was a year program which was you know more into self-care where you can go deeper into it and really help yourself and your family and then there was a three-year course which would um allow you to help the community and then there was a five-year course beyond that like if you wanted to do which would make you into a practitioner so i said okay you know i’m going to take one thing at a time and i started with two months and you know i went and talked to my boss and i said that um you know i really want to do this and this is a course which is happening but you know it’s in the evening and i work till five is there a way i could leave earlier and he said anything to support yourself journey that’s totally fine you know for two months it’s not a problem i said okay excellent so for two months i found a carpool and it was just amazing but the moment the two month ended and i was like this is not enough i want to go deeper so then you know again that conversation with my boss and he seemed fine and you know somehow it just worked itself out and interestingly at the end of finishing the one-year course i had already started to heal my eczema because you know with a lot of lifestyle and food and dietary habits things started to shift and so i i didn’t really need any uh major herbs for it but just a few changes with food and lifestyle had a huge impact on it and that’s when i found out that you know some of these skin things are really triggered by stress at the i didn’t experience active stress but there was something lying subconscious which i didn’t quite connect the dots so the map started forming for me and so what started more as a two-year one-year program you know it just kept happening and then i finished as a five-year graduate

it’s such a beautiful science it’s so amazing i mean till this date i graduated i think 2014 um end of 2014 and it speed almost three years but i’m still learning because now you know i i also teach so as i teach i find more questions and then i go back into the books and then i’m learning more so it’s it’s a lifelong study but it’s just so beautiful on how it factors into every aspect of life and it’s not just a compartment of oh you know you have a headache let’s just focus on your head and forget everything else because you know there is no body under it no let’s look at everything in your life house you know how’s your relationship how’s your digestive system how’s your mental health how are you doing lifestyle wise how are your food habits how are your interactions everything so when you were um you were studying to be a yoga teacher in india right that’s right did did you um had you trained at all in biochemistry yes prior to that so so was were you going to teach yoga on the side or what was sort of your your game plan at that point you know i actually don’t know i was always drawn to these things so with the yoga teacher training my agenda really was that it was a month long and it was called yoga teacher training so it was a month long um going away in an ashram shivananda ashram and it was in the hills so for me it was more of the experience you know just to be living a certain life in an ashram and learning yoga and getting something out of it and going deeper into the knowledge so it wasn’t really from a career perspective it was more from a deep learning perspective that i wanted to know more and know more of the philosophy be behind the yoga asanas and that school did focus on that you know maybe not so much in depth but still we would have the asana or the posture practice on how to learn it and then how to teach it both but there was a significant amount of time where we were also taught the philosophy and i love that part and and did they cover any ayurvedic principles was that part of that training no not really actually there’s a real separation i mean yeah i think even food wise they had very pure food you know satwik food but i wouldn’t necessarily say that they were following ayurveda principles actively they may be doing it subconsciously but you know we weren’t taught about it it never happened you know interestingly the first exposure i had to ayurveda was pre-biochemistry so in my past life i also did an mba um so my uh education journey has been pretty crazy so as an undergrad actually in india when you finish your middle school and when you’re in high school in the 11th 12th grade you choose a stream it’s either arts which is liberal arts or science or commerce meaning more on the business side and i didn’t i wasn’t a very bright student and so um you know so then you can’t just choose something because you like it it is based on how much percentage you make so because i was on the lowest end my only option was liberal arts so you know so it’s like the highest if you’re getting above 80 percentile you’ll be in the science if you’re getting you know a little lower than that you have an option of going into commerce but if you are even below that then you go into liberal arts because they don’t ask you to leave the school so i did liberal arts and you know political science history and i took mathematics too and then after my 12th grade you know then the options were again limited but then i studied business in my undergrad which was a lot more fun than what i had studied in school so i did that and then in india you know your parents really decide your trajectory on where you’re going to go regardless of what your interest is so i was interested in psychology but they felt no no no we need you to study something else so i studied business in my undergrad so automatically because you’re business undergrad you do a master’s in business so the masters in business happened for me in maharashi university in iowa in iowa yes that’s how i came to the us in 2000 and so there you know that was a very interesting school it’s an amazing school so the way they work is it’s a block system so you take one subject you study that over a whole month and that you know in between you have a midterm and then you have a final and then you have a long weekend at the end of each month but they also have the spiritual aspect integrated so there is you know transcendental meditation and um the other there is also yoga and they’re big into ayurveda so a lot of the teachers who teach in that school they would you know as a part of their incentive i believe they would go for yearly panchakarmas within ayurveds the place the place is called the raj and so i would i was exposed to this you know so that was the first time when i heard about vata pitta kapha and all the teachers are eating this chavan prash and there are these teas available in our bookstore and i said what is this stuff you know why are people going crazy about this what was so fascinating is that you were born and raised in india and you had to come to iowa exactly and and seeing people’s dedication to it you know that going for panchakarma and the food was so fresh and they would emphasize on it and and sadly because i had just come from india you know um i wanted more fast food and so the school was completely vegetarian so and you had to walk miles to access any fast food place like the closest being a burger king which was at least three mile walk but call it desperation we would go all the way there to eat the junk and not eat the healthy food which was provided in our cafeteria wow and you know so and the timings were according to the daily routine how we have in ayurveda you know so morning breakfast was at a certain time and lunch but the best was dinner like you would not be served dinner after 6 30 p.m i think that was the latest 6 30 or 7. so they really followed that rule and uh again you know that was so strange for us that who eats dinner at 6 p.m and so yeah but i didn’t have that appreciation for it at that time so um your your studies in biochemistry were were in the states or in india that was in the us so after mba i studied biochemistry at georgetown university in washington dc and uh yeah it was a it was a one and a half to two year program and that that got me interested into you know learning more of holistic approach reason being because i was coming from business so in business you have like a overall vision you know when you’re looking at an organization with different departments and everything so you’re not just compartmentalizing but with biochemistry or any kind of science you’re going at a cellular molecular level so you’re really coming down to narrow it to one little pathway or one little thing that is happening inside which was good but i kind of like the bigger vision that okay you know we are studying so i was after i finished my biochemistry i was working in a lab which worked on alzheimer’s disease and so our focus was really you know one tiny part of the brain and uh we were more into the you know and and when we would study these brain sections of people who passed away with alzheimer’s and look at a certain part of the cortex under the microscope our focus was just that i mean there was a huge story there but we were still missing the bigger picture and that always you know somehow i felt there was a missing piece that this is not it i need to find something bigger you know something bigger which encompasses this but it’s not it and i i didn’t quite know how to put it together at that point and then i thought maybe it’s this particular condition which doesn’t quite excite me because you know we’re not getting too far with it i was in a basic science research so um so were your days i mean were you like wearing the white lab coat and you know working in a very clean environment just doing research looking through microscopes what was your daily life like was it really like that it was like that and it was spending a lot of time in the dark room you know either developing films because we would do all these uh x-rays of you know certain it’s called western blot where you’re studying certain um proteins and uh or slicing the brain and then you know staining them and then looking it under the microscope and seeing all these in alzheimer’s disease there is there are these plaque formation in the brain so you would see these and and you know all of that is so fascinating just to see it under the microscope and you know one tiny thing can impact your neurons so heavily and uh but there was a lot of alone time you know when you’re doing things on your own you’re imagining things and you’re literally having these stories come alive where you have some kind of hypothesis and you’re trying to match it with whatever research you’re doing to see if the results are coming together so and what you do now like how different is it dramatically different is it from that type of work it’s completely you know 100 no 360 degrees or 180 degrees so then you know actually after um georgetown my job i once i was done with that i moved back to india got married and came to bay area and then once i was here and my husband was a grad student so i had to find a job and so he wanted me to go explore and my only experience was in a lab so i had no other option so then i went back into a lab doing research of a different kind and it was uh studying fishes and again you know similar we’re spending a lot of time in the dark room and you know a microscope and looking at all of the stuff but then once ayurveda studies happened and i think around my third year in ayurveda is when i decided to quit my job because one i was expecting our first child and two i felt like i’m done with this you know i’m not doing justice to my soul by being where i was um because it was a very limited thinking process of just a whole field so i wanted some more expansion to it and so when i with ayurveda now um i do multiple things i wear many hats one of them being i am the program director at the school from where i graduated so i get these um you know i get to design the curriculum design workshops and how the classes will flow what will go in it it’s amazing on you know having that flow on how i want to teach it and you know the whole field is my play area and i can pick anything from anywhere and um i run a clinic which is donation based it’s in its fourth year of running and that has been going on for since you know early 2014 and along with that i also teach at different places one is within my school and different you know one was where you came to attend the class i also teach um yearly at least once or twice at stanford which started happening um also about two years ago so you know so with the teaching and with you know designing the programs and with the clinic they all kind of feed into each other where there’s a lot of community some you know constantly involved with people not in microscope rooms anymore but also you know it is it’s much broader uh questioning but interestingly you know given that when i worked in the lab i didn’t appreciate it so much because i didn’t quite know what was the meaning in it but now studying ayurveda i appreciate my science knowledge so much more because what it did to me was it gave me a very analytical thinking so i wouldn’t just stop at oh because so and so sage says this so this is it you know so be it i have to know why you know if certain foods are not working with each other i have to know why and so that research uh mindset has really helped me even to teach you know given when people ask certain questions it really helps to bring that element of the biochemistry where you’re just thinking in one pathway and to have that holistic perspective to have a bigger picture so it’s almost like when i’m hearing the question i’m literally imagining going inside the body and seeing how things are playing out i mean not that i can see anything but you know no no i mean it all feeds into you know a deeper understanding so as as part of your work at the clinic are you doing consults with people who come in and and may have some kind of condition like a skin rash but you dig deeper to help them find sort of the source of of the problem yes it’s it’s all over so the age group is literally you know from birth or you know i’ve seen the youngest i think six month old and the oldest i have seen is a 88 or 89 year old and the conditions vary you know from um it could be a minor cold which keeps reoccurring to something like um people are struggling with cancer and to them because our clinic you know so one of the things our school specializes in and it’s unique is that it focuses just on diet and lifestyle and it’s fundamentally based on the principle that if your diet is wrong medicine is of no use and if your diet is right medicine is of no need and that’s um such a powerful court to sit with that you know i use it while teaching i use it while i’m in the clinic and i’ve seen that work through with people so for instance you know when people are coming with cancer i have to clarify to them that i don’t prescribe any medication or herbs you have to still consult your regular physician for whatever treatment you’re taking but what i can support you maybe is with food and lifestyle if you’re open to it so sometimes they follow through sometimes they don’t because you know they have a strict um food regime around it so there is no imposition or you know we don’t take them off anything whatever they’re comfortable with but it’s more of an education platform as to how things are working and what is going on and for them to be able to make the decision if they wanted to go with it or they didn’t want to but worth it i think the success has been mostly with metabolic issues where um you know people have suffered with digestion related issues for years and they haven’t quite been able to connect that one food that they’re eating and how they’re feeling and just eliminating that it’s literally you know making these minor changes which has such a huge impact and it’s amazing to see that and it you know keeps repeating itself like just incorporating for instance hot water or just incorporating waking up early i mean i can vouch for the waking up early you know from the from waking up at noon all the way to waking up at 6 00 am and i think i’ve continued that even now it’s amazing it’s like you feel more energetic you have more time in the day and you’re more functional you’re more efficient but it’s hard to explain that but it’s so experiential so that’s how we uh you know ayurvedically when we would interact with people we would try to bring that element that try one tiny thing and see how that works on you and from there you would know because once your body which is a lab has experienced it it knows how it’s going to behave and once you have experienced the fruit of it the chances of you incorporating that more in your life are higher and we wouldn’t have to micromanage your life well you it sounds like you already had that seed planted by your approach to handling your eczema before you discovered ayurveda because you what you told me was you try this alternative modality for six months and then you try another and you were very methodical about it i was impressed with that i don’t think you talked about that at the workshop i went to yeah i think the story has become so long it’s always hard to say you know what to incorporate and what to leave out i do remember and i believe it was you that told this story and if you don’t want to talk about it that’s fine but it was about someone who came to you and you discovered that all they consumed were smoothies uh-huh i have many of those that’s your story right uh which which one can you remind me again it was a woman who had i can’t remember what the issues were right but she said they’re healthy i read that a smoothie is healthy and you found out that’s all she consumed that was her total diet was that right right yeah i remember that story so this lady was actually interestingly you know when um um when you attended the class and you went through these concepts of vata kapha so you know the air element right i’m just gonna give that brief outline for anyone who’s listening for the first time that the five elements come together to form these three doshas and these five elements also play out on a daily basis you know certain time of the day they are more active and similarly even with stage of life so air element is most active in the third stage of life so post 55 years of age or 60 years of age so that’s there is a little variation there and basically means that you know at that stage of life your body is more in that depletion mode but if you’ve had enough nourishment in the first um 40-50 years of your life as in you’ve been healthy and lived well and done things correctly then you wouldn’t have that much depletion in that stage so she was above 55 and she’d been on a smoothie diet because somebody had told her that’s what is um good for her so she would have the green smoothie for breakfast and then for lunch and for dinner almost for two years and when i had seen her what she had come with is you know a lot of um dryness in the knees you know cracking bones as well as some kind of a strange bump in her hand and right yes yes it was you know it was almost like a dip it wasn’t a bump it was a dip and um and you know i have to say this sadly i got excited seeing that after questioning because i was like oh my god you’re a perfect case of what an aggravated air quality can do you know it really dries you up so the cracking of the sound is air and the dip which is depletion is again because of that air and space element and i said what you know so when we went through her diet i was like wow there was absolutely no element of oil and no warm foods and i said all you know if if it were up to me i would keep you in a tub of oil for almost a week because i can almost imagine you know the body coming back to shape after being in an oily place you know it’s i love these analogies and um imaginations where you can imagine things coming back to their shape because they were so dry have you seen that you know i’ve seen my daughter’s toy where you soak a dinosaur in water for 48 hours and it expands

so it was like that i said you know i almost can see that your issues would be fixed because there is so much dryness and it’s almost sad that you know when people would come to the clinic and they say i eat mostly healthy and that’s always alarming for me because you know the health defined because we have all the access to internet and all these different places people don’t rely on authentic sources so that’s an issue that they would not you know go back and check where is this reference taken from if it is just someone’s blog or writing basically you’re just relying things on people’s opinion and that’s a problem because it has no coat from the source text so with her what we did was you know primarily put her on oil and oiling regularly all all over her body as well as incorporating some amount of cooked foods and you know getting rid of the smoothie so the bump of course i mean the dip in the hand of course didn’t go but she definitely felt better with her knee pain and and the other bath experiences that she was going through and so i was telling her that that should be you know enough testimonial for you to see that your body needs that kind of nourishment and you know this so-called healthy food is actually not helping you yeah what i i i’ve actually repeated my interpretation of this of your story to several people because for me the most astonishing thing is that somebody can hear information you know this food kale is good you know how every few months there’s another rage about the superfood and so they take that piece of information and they they treat it like gospel and that’s all they eat and i it just you know it’s scary that people can sort of misinterpret information like that so thank you for um filling out that story because it it’s a bigger story i had forgotten about the um

you know what what it was indicative of in terms of our ayurveda yeah so one of the other things is also that you know people don’t apply things in moderation and i don’t know if it’s a problem of the current age or it has always existed i’m not sure because you know i’ve just been in the clinic for last three and a half years um anything like you said you know kale is a super food so people would go in extreme it’s part of every diet and ayurveda’s message really is moderation so for instance khichari is a superfood and it’s considered medicinal in many ways you know as a cleanser as a digestive but again overdoing it would also hurt you so it’s not that anything which is overdone it may have the most amazing qualities it cannot help you because that’s not the goal moderation is the key that is a good bumper sticker moderation is the key okay well i um this has been fascinating and i’m conscious of the time and i think um i think what i’d like to have you um talk about and you know this is such a a broad question but what would you recommend to people out there who have some sort of condition and they know nothing about ayurveda uh what would you suggest they do because i i know something with such a rich history can be daunting you know people write they want that quick fix they want are you better light right right i think you know i mean given with my teaching experience right now in the last two two and a half years where you know when i’m going into the stanford community and um interestingly you know the workshop we did with you guys was a two day long workshop which is a little more intensive and we can get more information down but it’s still pretty encapsulated and so with these shorter classes and workshops it’s so hard to pass the information in a way that it’ll stay with you and also for you to be able to apply i feel that you know my main key points for people have been one moderation is the key no matter what you’re doing and anything that you feel is healthy to re-question it you know how to do it and so you would read different books with ayurveda and even when you know we were in the workshop we gave information about our daily routine the kind of foods the timing of the day but it’s important to make one change at a time because again the moderation is the key here as well where you don’t want to apply everything in one go and go to the other extreme because you’re gonna shock your body it hasn’t been used to it so one one implement you know implementing one tiny change by just maybe switching from cold water to little warmer water depending on the season because if it’s hot weather you won’t want to drink hot water and um if you know you’re waking up at 8 a.m for instance then going back a little 15 minutes so doing some of these books give you a lot of information on what are the key ways of living a life and taking those and implementing maybe one or two things on a daily basis and seeing how that feels for you because um you know one of the things is also that ayurveda can deal with um chronicity of a situation far more than you know when you are dealing with something which is just super basic meaning that you’ve suffered with a condition for many years you know for instance that eczema patch that i had um you know it was just a patch until it manifested in a full form on my two legs they couldn’t call it eczema because you know it was more of just starting to come and surface and it hadn’t manifested into a disease so conventional medicine is great handling when it comes to a full fledged disease but with ayurveda if you’ve suffered with those lightness of things for many years you know like a chronic cuff for instance or a chronic cold then it will intervene and say oh you know let’s look at the root causes how you’ve been living how you’ve been eating how are your bowel movements how is your sleep so it’ll go back into all of that and tweak things to adjust to see where things are wrong and to fix it and it may take three or four months but it’ll actually handle it from the root cause and it won’t just be symptomatic relief it won’t be okay like let me just give you a cough drop and you’ll be fine at night and you’ll be able to sleep through no we want it to go away you know we’re not going to do just a band-aid on this for you to be okay for just a few days and then go back and suffer so um i think i know which book you’d recommend i would say i’m so biased towards my teacher’s book so ayurveda lifestyle wisdom definitely is the book that i absolutely think has you know mostly lifestyle related tools that can be implemented and and it also goes through the daily routine and how things should be done it’s a pretty fat book but it’s not recommended to read like cover to cover if you want to great there are some amazing stories there but uh it’s really you know one of those books where i would just randomly open a page and i would read two or three pages and i’m you know i have to digest it because there is so much information and more from a deeper knowledge perspective that you can’t just read clothes and forget about it it’s really food for thought i will definitely include a link to uh the book and how about a website um the the center’s website uh that’s vedica global.org okay any other website was so you know people listen to this podcast all over the country and actually i have listeners you know uh in uh different parts of the world what do you recommend or is there a quote-unquote clearinghouse of you know where to go for ayurvedic treatment um so treatment per se our school is currently working on a clinic to be launched in 2018 um i was running this donation-based clinic and i’m on a pause because of maternity for about five six months but my colleague has taken over so if they go to vedica global.org there’s information about where to go for a consultation for diet and lifestyle it also has information about classes because the school’s purpose really was you know when when i mentioned that 250 dollars was a stiff price tag for me you know i when i started my practice that was something i couldn’t do um not because i felt that what she charged was wrong but because i felt that i wanted ayurveda to be accessible for people to be able to try and really you know transform their lives so the donation-based clinic happened because of my teacher’s vision because she really wanted ayurveda to be accessible to the whole community so we resonated on that and you know it has been amazing that we just we don’t charge money so it’s it’s very interesting the way this clinic runs it’s a three series appointment so the first time they come in with their forms and you know we’ll talk to them and it’s a full one our intake second appointment is where we hand out the diet lifestyle recommendations and third appointment is a month later where they’ll come and report how things were with them and at that point we’ll give them a feedback in a donation form if they wish to donate so you know interestingly this uh process evolved more over the last year and a half so now you know sometimes when people come in the first appointment they’re like i really want to make a donation and i and i’m very strict about it i’m like no because you haven’t been through the process and nothing has happened yet unfortunately we can’t accept it because we are also in that philosophy of that the generosity has to come from the heart when you’ve experienced something so you know so i you were allowed to make that donation in the third appointment and we would gladly accept but we cannot in the first and second hmm i like that it’s beautiful so yeah you know so with on the website there is information about classes a lot of classes are free as well you know there is uh the spiritual studies which is offered by webinar as well as in person so a lot of those classes are partly free partly donation based because the goal of the school essentially is more of an outreach to the community for healthy living and so they can you know make basic changes just with where they’re living with diet and lifestyle and to really be in sync with nature because the more we’re going inside our computers the more we are going away from the plants and trees so it’s really reconnecting with the soil well is there anything else you’d like to add i think that’s it sorry i i i thought i didn’t have much to say no it was wonderful and and you know i’m just i i so appreciate you doing this um because you you do have um you have a lot of wisdom and knowledge and you’re still a young woman so imagine what you’re gonna be like when you’re 60 you know i hope the knowledge keeps coming my way and i keep getting opportunities of learning these classes and workshop really helped me go deep and interacting with people and you know knowing their stories you know just like you are learning so much with people’s stories i love knowing people’s health stories and what what their take on it is and where we are coming at it from and then arriving at you know some mid-level ground to heal it yeah i mean it is you know the bittersweet part of having a condition is that it offers opportunities to to dig deeper um learn more that helps you physically emotionally and spiritually and um and this podcast series definitely is uh you know quite a journey for me well thank you so much rania thank you did i say right almost right almost right okay i’m gonna definitely before i introduce you i’m gonna you know practice so i’m gonna send you uh an email just to confirm a few things and what i would love is if you could send me a photo of you whatever photo you like you know if it’s um you teaching or interacting with a client and the client you know could be their back it doesn’t you don’t have to reveal a face or anything whatever you feel comfortable with that would be great okay sure we’ll do that or i’ll just send you my headshot okay well i i hope these next three weeks are um very relaxing and comforting and do you know if you’re having a boy or a girl it’s a boy and you know it’s amazing he supported me all through you know and he’s also going in all these classes and teaching with follow-ups it’s super fun you know interestingly my daughter when i was pregnant with her i was studying at vedic i was in my first year of school or second year of school and then when she happened i used to take her with me as a carpool partner so you know i had hired a babysitter in emeryville so she would take her and in between i would nurse her and take notes in the class so she’s been with me through my ayurveda journey and it’s amazing because now you know with foods that she eats you know she knows when she’s coming down with the cold she’ll tell me what medicine and honey and you know she’ll avoid certain foods it’s it’s it’s so amazing to see that that you know it’s part of her lifestyle and education that she got that concept so early on cool wow that is great well i and and she’s ready for her brother she’s excited she’s super excited and i told her i had planned it in such a way that the baby arrives in summer vacation so she had something to play well thank you so much and i look forward to i’m um you know seeing you again you know hopefully at the emeryville center i’m looking forward to going to an event or something there yeah that’ll be great i would be there again back maybe in a couple of months but you’ll have a lot of fun people to meet there it’s a it’s a good place yes why i so enjoyed the the workshop that i went to well thank you and have a wonderful weekend and um you know we’ll be in touch yeah you too thank you leslie bye bye bye

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